Managing your time during the exam period


With exam season looming, this article aims to arm you with a few tips and tricks to get prepared for your final assessments of the year, and to keep you on top of your notes.


Writing lists

This sounds simple enough, but it can be a really effective activity. Sometimes we get so caught up in our work that we feel overwhelmed and things can’t be put into perspective. A simple list can help! If you feel like you have loads to do, write it all down. Break it up, and write down a few things you want to achieve each day. It could be as small as doing your laundry or tidying your room, but you will have made progress and at least carried out something productive, which will make you feel better and move on to the next task quicker. Anything not completed today can be put on the list for tomorrow. No problem! This is a useful technique for people who don’t like making timetables.


Creating a dependable timetable 

I think if you are going to stick to a timetable, you need to plan it each week as opposed to each semester; things change much more frequently than we realise. This is also an activity that can help you think about and prepare for the coming week, and visualise when you have free time to do something social or have some downtime. Start by filling in the lecture hours, and any extra activities you attend every week, or if you have a part-time job – make sure this goes in too. Think about whether you want to work on the weekends, or if you’d prefer to do all your studying during the week. This helps you to create a timetable that is realistic. Then, you will be able to see the time that you have available to work on assignments, do life admin and have some chill time. 

Try to avoid adding work time in the evenings, because it is unlikely you will do this. Iif you do, it probably won’t be the most productive work after a long day, or if you’d rather be doing something else; you probably won’t be too enthusiastic! That said, some people do work better in the evenings, so make sure you know at what time of day you work best. If you have short gaps between lectures, try to stay on campus, go to the library or sit in Pontio, because going home between lectures can waste time and isn’t always worth the effort. This time can be used to recap whatever has been looked at in the previous lecture, to look over what will be in the next lecture, or to just rest and have some food before carrying on with the day. If gaps between lectures are any more than 3 hours long, I would suggest going home to rest and eat, unless you have planned to do some work. Sitting in the library for 3 hours trying to decide what to work on is not very productive or enjoyable, so you might as well have gone home and done something you like to do, like playing a game or watching a quick episode of something. 

The key is to be realistic. It’s impossible to fill out a timetable completely and actually achieve everything if you don’t have free time.


Colour Code modules

Another simple tactic, this can really help you visualise what work you have and when. It’s also great for organising your notes to fit the corresponding exam or essay etc. On the timetable, assign a colour to each module, and then try to add the same colours to the module notes they relate to. This is a great way to keep organised and on top of the numerous notes you end up with each semester!


Some final thoughts: Practice papers, if yours is a subject that has past papers. Work together and share ideas, if yours is a subject that encourages creativity and voicing opinions. Always remember to take a break when things get too much.


These are just a few things that I have found make students feel more confident about workload, and put things into perspective. A lot of the time, we just need a bit of encouragement and assistance in planning free time so that it can be spent doing something beneficial. I hope these help you with your time management! 



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