January exams are upon us. We’re reaching the halfway-point in what might be one of the most challenging academic semesters students have ever faced. Lockdown-fatigue, Winter weather and a departure from your usual study set up might seem like a recipe for procrastination but once you’ve fine-tuned your study routine, we know you’ll be an unstoppable brainbox!
As students prepare for their very first Winter exam session under government restrictions, this blog will take a look at the ways you can maximise your study time and efficiency whilst usual communal areas around Point Campus and your college grounds may be unavailable.
Have a Study Plan
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. This classic quote from Benjamin Franklin has stood the test of time for one simple reason: it’s true! Creating a structure and routine for yourself to work within is key to getting the most out of your time to study.
Diving head first into your books without a plan of action might seem like a great way to start learning, but the reality is you will very soon run out of steam with no end-goal in sight. Take a step back and consider how many hours you have in a day (or week) to give your undivided attention to study and revision.
Split your subjects and topics into more manageable chunks and slot them into your study time until you have created yourself a detailed study plan. If for any reason you get derailed, it’s always much easier to pick right back up where you left off.
Check Out Video Lectures and Podcasts
Make the most of the personal space available to you, whether that be your room in Point Campus or even back home. Having the freedom to take in some video lectures or podcasts in a comfortable space can be a way of learning that isn’t typically accessible in a college setting.
Making the most of online content means you can take key notes while learning at your own pace. YouTube channels like Crash Course can be great for quickly wrapping your brain around a variety of topics from chemistry to economics, while podcasts like Stuff You Should Know offer a deeper dive into a great mix of specific knowledge.
The great thing about consuming media in this way is that it is usually more engaging and less of a chore. There's also a possibility that you could stumble onto additional bits of information that can add to topics you have already revised!
One of the best ways to stop yourself from procrastinating throughout your day is to provide yourself with breaks regularly. At this stage, we all know the pitfalls of staying in the same space and trying to stay focussed on one thing. Before you know it, your phone is in your hand and you’re endlessly scrolling!
Weave breaks into your study plan and give yourself a few minutes rest from the books before you run into the dreaded study-fatigue. A short break can allow you to regain your attention and motivation before getting back into the task at hand. Just make sure to stay disciplined and don’t let the length of your break get out of control!
A key part of all of your study breaks should be getting up and getting active! Even a small pace around to stretch and re-energise can make a massive difference. But at least once in your day, you should make time for a bit of exercise, whether that be a jog, cycle or even a quick walk for some fresh air.
Just 20 minutes of exercise can increase your energy levels, kick-start your brain function and level your emotional state. The release of endorphins will give you a burst of positivity giving a boost to both body and mind!
Connect With Friends and Fellow Students
During the day, message friends, flatmates and fellow students to see how things are going or to get a helping hand wherever you might need it. While studying provides some unique opportunities from learning, it also means less of the typical social aspect of studying in a more public setting.
Exams can be stressful at the best of times, the added gloominess of this particular January in Dublin doesn’t tend to help things! So if you sense some friends or students aren’t coping quite as well, reach out just to chat and take each others’ minds off things for a brief moment - it can make a world of difference!
The third Monday of January has officially been awarded the title of ‘Blue Monday’ in recent years due to the combination of post-Christmas blues, colder weather and the long stretch to that January pay day. Beat the blues by making some socially distanced plans or even remote celebrations if you’re fortunate enough to be finished exams before the 18th!
Finally, stick to your study plan to the very end and close the books at the end of a long day. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to cram one final topic or chapter but giving yourself enough time to unwind and disconnect from exams will help you avoid burn out and get back into the groove when you start studying again the following day.
Whether your exams have already gotten underway or the first one is yet to come, we’re wishing all Point Campus residents and students the very best of luck over the coming days and weeks! For a few extra tips on how to boost your productivity, check out our previous blog here.
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