I am really struggling with time management and getting my college work done in the lead up to exams. I am feeling very overwhelmed and stressed. Do you have any study tips you could offer?
To begin, I would just like to reassure you that you are not the only one feeling this way. While we may be looking forward to the lead up to Christmas, December is a challenging month for students with the looming fear of exams and countless assignments to be submitted. The college year flies by so quickly and it is only natural that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed as the semester draws to a close. I have compiled a list of tips below that might help you manage your time and study effectively in the lead up to exams.
- Make a to-do list: A list is a great way of ranking your priorities. Having a physical list set out in front of you as you work through tasks can be an effective tool in getting organised and planning how you are going to use your time. I tend to group the tasks at hand into groups of urgency and try to complete the most important first.
- Organise your study space: The phrase ‘tidy space, tidy mind’ applies to many people when trying to study so I would recommend keeping your study space and materials organised and accessible.
- Turn off your phone: This is such a simple but effective method in managing your time. During exam season you do not need the constant distraction of messages, updates and aimless scrolling on social media. You can set a time limit for each app on your phone which can be a gentle reminder to put it down and get work done.
- Take regular breaks: Breaks are key when studying as they give you an opportunity to recharge, relax and start again. Ensure that you designate a time slot for your lunch break every day and take some time away from your desk.
- Exam questions: Practicing past exam questions is an effective way to prepare for an exam as you know the structure of the paper and the types of questions that may be asked. As they say, practice makes perfect.
- Prioritise your mental health: Exam season can take its toll on our mental health so ensure that you take time to mind yourself over the next few weeks. Try to pencil in coffee breaks with friends, a walk in the fresh air and time to unwind after a busy day of study. Be kind to yourself and reward yourself regularly, be it with a bar of chocolate or an evening watching Netflix. You can’t study all day, every day.
- Sleep: Between late night study sessions in the library and consuming several energy drinks, you may find that your sleep schedule is suffering. To perform well in an exam, many of us need to be well rested so try get into a routine of going to bed at a reasonable hour as exam season approaches.
- Academic supports: NUI Galway provide workshops from the Academic Writing Centre to help students with academic work. If you are struggling to write an essay or complete an assignment, check your emails for all relevant information on academic supports for students.
- Set an alarm: Everyone’s worst nightmare is sleeping through an alarm and missing an exam so I would recommend setting several alarms and asking someone trustworthy to ring you on the morning of the exam to ensure you are up and ready to go.
- Check your exam timetable carefully: Ensure you have the correct date, time and location for each exam and plan how you are going to travel to and from each exam centre.
- Pack your bag the night before: Ensure that you have all the necessities for completing an exam including pens, pencils, a manual watch and a bottle of water. I would also recommend getting organised the night before.
Wishing you all the best with the busy upcoming few weeks and remember, all you can do is do your best. Remember, there are various supports available to you through the college. You can arrange an appointment with the counselling centre if you wish by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.