With exam season in full swing, I think it’s about time I have a little chat about revision and how I manage (well sometimes manage) to revise stuff that makes my brain wants to fall out my ear, with minimal breakdowns or manic episodes.
Nobody wants to study.
If anyone claims otherwise, they’re lying to you, eliminate that being from your life and move on. (OK that’s a bit harsh, I guess some people are just wired…..differently?)
But there are a few things you can do to make studying that little bit more bearable or effective:
Find somewhere you can work – maybe that’s the library, your kitchen, or if you’re lucky you have your own study. Everyone is different, just find what works for you, and remember what I’m sure you’ve heard before about good lighting, comfortable, quiet blahblahblah…..
Have billions of snacks present – this can’t just be me? I need constant feeding to encourage me to stay in one place, otherwise I keep using food as an excuse to get up from my laptop…. Also, your brain uses LOADS of energy, so you’ve got to feed that big ball of knowledge
Set a list of things you need to cover – because heading into the unknown is scary. It will help you think where to start and show you how much you have to do. It also saves you the time you would normally take at the start of each session trying to decide what to look at.
Set goals which are time and task dependent – so I find it really helpful to start with a goal which is ased on both time AND task. For example, “I will write 500 words” or “I will write for 45 minutes”. Whichever of these milestones I reach first will indicate it’s time for a break! That way I’m not sat for hours trying to write 100 words, but if I complete a lot of work in a short term, I’ve earnt a break!
Reward yourself after completing those goals – recognise your own brilliance. Grab a cuppa, watch a short TV programme, paint your nails…. Just give yourself a little motivation to complete those goals.
Don’t overdo it (obvs) – we’ve all heard it before. But don’t pull an all-nighter, running on caffeine, pinching yourself every ten minutes. It’s not an effective way to study, you’ll get more stressed, miss out on socialising and won’t learn as well.
Don’t compare your approach to others – some people work best in the morning, others in the evening. There are groups who like to study for lots of hours at a time with longer breaks, other people keep things short and sweet. There isn’t a right or wrong way, YOU DO YOU. And don’t forget, people lie. The chances are they haven’t spent 13 hours straight in the library learning about the sciatic nerve, its contributions, branches and course, so don’t worry.
Get outside – another cliche. But it’s repeated everywhere for a reason. Fresh air, the change in environment, it will wake you up a little, refreshed for that next hour of fun and games with your textbooks.
Talk to other humans (just not about exams) – do not isolate yourself, spending too much time with your own thoughts is a scary experience, you end up talking to yourself, climbing walls and convincing yourself that you could totally glue your feet to the ceiling if you really want. And avoid exam talk if you can, it will just help you to panic more, we all need a break.
Don’t beat yourself up – some days, things won’t go to plan. That solid five hours of revision you had planned out will turn into a pretty little liars marathon which is completely unnecessary (but that programme is like crack, bad for your but oh so addictive….). If this happens, just accept it and start again tomorrow, it’s really not the end of the world I promise.
Still do things you enjoy – BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT. Go out, exercise, buy coffee, go shopping, drink! Anything is acceptable! You might reduce it a little (you might not and that’s OK if you can fit it all in) but don’t stop.