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Exam Period: my five tips for an efficient and self care season as a PG

If you feel overwelmed by the assignments and exams which are fast approaching, this blog post is for you!

Ahhh exam season, it's not sunny, it's cold, the days are shorter and as if that was not enough you’re overwhelmed by a mountain of work whose deadline is approaching, and the apprehension of your exams that are right around the corner remind you that it’s also time to catch up on the delay you have taken in your readings, while reviewing all the material studied during this semester. Exam season isn’t a pleasant time and yet it’s a must for any university student. So, I wanted to share my 5 tips to help you get through this turbulent period while taking care of you.


 

  • Set GOALS and set up a plan for it

Studying shouldn’t be this endless task but rather a learning process which leads you to an end goal. By having a specific goal, you will be more motivated to study because you will know when to stop and what knowledge you will need to acquire during your study session. I therefore invite you to write down all the material you have to study in order to prepare for an exam, and from that to develop a calendar. It will also keep you from getting burnt out from wanting to do too much in one day. Visualising the work you still have to do is also a good way to realise what remains for you to do and thus, it avoids the stress that arises when working aimlessly.

  • Study in an environment conducive to learning

'A clear space is a clear mind', we have all heard this saying before and yet few take it seriously. From my own experience, I find this to be so true. In fact, research shows that while a messy environment might produce more creativity, a clean, organised environment produces better focus. When an environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus, according to a study by researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute. That's why I encourage you to keep your workspace, your office, your bedroom, no matter where you work as a tidy and clean workplace. This will make your study time more pleasant by spending time in a warm place that produces concentration.

  • Get to know your classmates (responsibly)

Although these times of pandemics aren’t the best for new encounters, try to get to know your classmates. This can be done virtually or by responsibly keeping a certain distance. There is nothing worse than working on a project with strangers with whom your only interactions are very limited. This year, I noticed that out of my four team projects, three were going well while one had more trouble getting off to a good start. The common point between the three teams that are doing well is that I’m friends with my colleagues. Working in a team shouldn't just be a boring task, but it should also be an opportunity to exchange with people you like and to maintain your social circle. My advice would therefore be to take a quick tour of the table before starting an online meeting to talk with your colleagues about other things than uni life to create a friendly atmosphere.

  • Go out and be active

You've probably heard this advice before but being active doesn't necessarily mean putting on your gym clothes and running for hours. Personally, I don't like going to the gym or running. For me, being active is above all clearing my head by going outside and breathing the fresh air. Being active also means having a coffee and walking at your own pace in a park or neighbourhood that you love, going to the museum, shopping. There are no rules, as long as you feel better after doing it. For my part, I recently rediscovered the joys of cycling and it has become my preferred means of transport. I always feel good after cycling and it allows me to incorporate physical activity into my daily tasks and journeys. In general, you will always be able to concentrate better on your studies after spending energy outdoors.

  •   It's normal to feel overwhelmed

After all, who said university life would be easy? It’s often easy to feel lonely and think that everyone is doing well. But the reality is that all students feel exhausted during this exam season and that's okay. So as not to feel alone in your situation, speak with your classmates, you will quickly realise that you’re all going through the same thing and this will allow you to put things into perspective.

 

I hope that this little blog will have allowed you to see more clearly in this period of exams. I wish you the best of success in your studies but also don't forget to take time for yourself to enjoy your friends and / or your family during the holidays. If you ever know someone who might need to read this article, please share it with them and I wish you good luck!