Each University student – sooner or later – gets acquainted with the traumatising, overwhelming and at times tragic experience called exam season. You start off your year with the intention of going to all the lectures, taking notes and going over them after class to keep up with the schedule. Except you never do. Which brings us to The Situation of us students anxiously going through all the lecture slides, asking the Universe when the hell we did all that stuff in class and praying to God to let you pass this one time, because next year you’ll be better (except you won’t).

So, here’s  a quick list of a few staples to get into the zen mode and down that whole semester program in a few nights and ace that mother fucking exam, because we can do it.

  1. A notebook
  2. Your laptop
  3. A steamin hot cuppa tea / coffee, depending on your preference ( in my case, both ).
  4. Pens, highlighters and matches in case you want to set yourself on fire
  5. Zen music to get into the concentration mode

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Now that you’re all set, let’s get you started on the studying. First of all, scan the list of topics you will need to prepare for the exam. It might sound obvious but I swear it’s not. You don’t know how many times it happened to me that I was so clueless about a module, I did everything in the program just to be sure and ended up studying a shit load of useless stuff. So get your facts – from a professor or one of the smart kids in your class – and write down a list of all the things you actually need to study.

If it helps, it’s good to write down a schedule of what you’re going to do and when, so that you don’t fall behind or fall into the deep pit of helplessness where you think you’re doomed for disaster. As long as you have a schedule, loose or tight as it may be, you will instantly feel more in control of the situation. Now, it is crucial not to deviate from the schedule: you can do more than needed, but you cannot do less than you have to according to the schedule. Stay up all night if you need to, but try not to fall behind. That’ll ruin the plan and then I won’t know how to help you further. So if you miss a day, just do more the next day to catch up and you’ll be fine.

After having defined the amount of workload to do, you can either a) actually read everything you need to; or b) look up summaries and essays online and study on those instead, to save time. Most of the time, this second option doesn’t actually miss out on much and you’ll be just fine. It’s a condensed version of all the important facts for a reason, right? So when you’ve decided what you’re going to study, print it off or have it on your laptop and start your journey through the phantomatic pass.

The method of studying itself obviously varies from person to person, so I can’t really tell on that, but I can give my own method of studying and see if it helps any of you. What I do is, I play my “concentration music” (it sounds stupid but it helps me!) and write down all the important stuff. Other than creating your own notes, this method actually helps getting the facts into your brain, so that when you think about it the memory of writing it down comes back to you. It’s way better than merely reading a text and you can save up time. Then I group it all back together and write a short essay, which I proceed to print off and highlight / study once again. At this point, I’ve written down stuff twice which helps with the memorising, plus having a slight photographic memory means when I have the printed version I can just scan it and remember sections more easily (thankfully).

This technique is kind of time-consuming and a lot of times you will end up thinking why the hell you’re wasting so much of your precious time just re-writing down stuff, but I swear it helps a lot and if you stick to it you won’t regret it.

Now, it’s important to choose the right soundtrack for your studying: as I mentioned in my 5 staples list, it’s crucial for you to have good concentration music to help you remember stuff. I found out about this in a moment of helplessness when I was looking for ways to study a whole book in 5 days and came across a shit ton of videos on youtube with “brain power” music to help you concentrate. It sounds like bullshit, but I swear it helped so much. Not all the videos were actually good but this is the one I used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPni755-Krg and the only one which I felt was really doing something to my brain.

Finally, as a last step make sure your hot drink is sitting next to you to get you through the whole process.

It’s a necessity, believe me.

So, this is all I’ve got for you guys. Most of the stuff is kind of obvious but this is my form of procrastination from exam studying. I said what you should do in the blog post, now actually following the schedule is a bit harder than that…. So good luck to all of you (and myself 😩 ) !

Until next time (and the end of exam season),

Elena

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