By Sophie Wood
I’m currently finishing up my fourth year of university so I consider myself a little bit of an expert in surviving the dreaded exam period. Four years of university means I have completed a lot of exams! Some were good, some were bad but all of them were a learning experience.
However I don’t think that exams are the biggest worry. The biggest worry is the study period beforehand and trying to stay sane when memorising notes, lecture slides and large chunks of academic text. In four years, I have tried all the tricks in the book and here is the best advice I can give to you all.
Use post-it notes – Planning is a vital aspect to a successful study period. There is nothing productive about going into study block without a good game plan. So this is where post-it notes can come in handy! Instead of using a diary, write your game plan on post-it notes! This allows you to colour code important action points and prioritise tasks e.g. pink post-its for important and blue post-its for less important tasks. Post-it notes can be stuck in your diary, on your wall or even your bathroom mirror to make planning a little bit more fun!
Sleep more – Study period often means a lot to do in a short period of time and this can lead to less sleep. I mean, who really needs eight hours of sleep anyway? Well I’m sorry but you do! Sleep evangelist, Arianna Huffington, cites that only 29 percent of millennials are getting enough sleep. So what can you do? If you can’t find the hours during the night, why not have a little power nap? It worked for famous nappers including Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison!
Eat lots and lots of junk food (but not really) – Just because it is study week doesn’t mean that you can buy out all the candy from the vending machine. You might feel like you need more sugary treats (because the brain needs sugar to function, right?) but there is a healthy limit! The biggest struggle is finding the time to make healthy choices. So my biggest tip is to be prepared! Cook up some healthy dinners and treats before the week starts so that you don’t have to worry about it throughout the week. If you’re still craving sugar at the end of the day, remember balance is vital!
Take more breaks – So you might be thinking “There isn’t enough time!” but I’m here to tell you it is all about quality not quantity. I’ve recently been using a time management strategy called the ‘Pomodoro Technique’ that breaks work down into 25-minute intervals separated by short breaks. The idea is that you spend 25 minutes working on a task and once that task is over you take a small break (no more than five minutes) and move on to the next task. This technique aims to improve mental agility and reduce interruptions on focus and flow. Basically, it allows you to focus more and get more work done. Who wouldn’t want that?
So to sum it all up, study period is all about planning and preparing! Make sure you know what you have to do, make sure you have prepared some healthy foods and snacks, be sure to get enough sleep and remember to take a break. If all else fails, then have a chocolate bar (or two) and go for a nap!
Bio: Sophie is a marketing and journalism student studying at Griffith University in the Gold Coast. She is currently an intern at Milaana where she manages their social media strategy and writes content for their blog. Sophie is passionate about story-telling, equality and working with young people to reach their full potential.