- Published on Monday, 14 May 2012 10:44
- Written by Dashalia Singaram
We UCT students are facing a long, cold and wet winter, but this is accompanied by another season, a season of misery, also known as mid-year exams.
A word of advice for those facing their first set of university exams: exams are hard. In four years, they will be harder. You will never enjoy them, so here are a few tips to help you survive them:
After four years on campus, I have finally accepted that, no, I will not start studying for exams two weeks early. We’ve all been there, swearing that we will be better prepared next semester. But we have also been hugging the toilet bowl after a rough night out, swearing we will never drink again. Time to face reality; sweeping declarations tend to closely resemble empty promises.
Don’t waste time.
You’re studying an under-graduate degree, with a major in Procrastination. You have spent an entire day filing notes, because you can’t possibly study if everything is all over the place. Another hour is spent making a timetable so colourful it could induce seizures, which you will never stick to. And of course the regular Facebook/Twitter/BBM updates saying, “OMG I can’t study!” aren’t helping anyone. Stick to the essentials: snack breaks, smoke breaks, and taking the occasional walk to make sure the outside world is still there.
Location, location, location.
Everyone has their own preferences here. The library is a good choice, but unless you get there at 8am sharp, don’t bother. You will end up walking around for 20 minutes to no avail. Find an empty classroom somewhere – they’re quiet, usually unpopulated, and you won’t get strange looks from people when you start spouting colourful language at your textbook like someone with a severe case of Tourette’s. There are some places to avoid though. Inevitably, because the world is cruel, the weather during study week will be blissful. It is at this point that some genius will suggest studying outside. DO NOT do it. You will not study. You will laze around outside all day, get sleepy, and take a dangrous nap.
Don’t overdo it.
Suffering from a burnout is about as useful as not studying at all. Take regular breaks. Make sure you speak to at least one person during the day; there’s nothing more disturbing than greeting someone at 8pm and discovering you still have morning voice because you’ve been holed up all day. Try to limit this to people outside of your class. We all hate those sanctimonious nerds who say things like, “Oh no! I’m so stressed! I’ve only done six past papers!” Also, your writing hand will be quite sore after you’ve punched them in the face.
Let it go.
When the exam is over, it’s over. A couple of expletives and a big “WOOOOSSSAAAHHH!!!” are all you need. Don’t spend the rest of the day trying to figure out where you went wrong. It will not help. Forget about it; take a couple of hours to rest your brain, and then move on to the next one. And if nothing else helps, just focus on the huge jol you will have after exams, where remembering anything is DIScouraged.