7 Top Tips for Surviving Exam Season and Assignment Deadlines | Top Universities

7 Top Tips for Surviving Exam Season and Assignment Deadlines

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Stephanie Lukins

Updated Jun 07, 2019



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Sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast

As exam season and assignment deadlines rear their ugly heads again, it can be very tempting to bury your head in the ground and forget they even exist. However, this isn’t something we’d recommend doing!

So, we’ve teamed up with Queen’s University Belfast to bring you some top tips to combat the stress that comes with the demands of university. And remember, it’s important to take some time out for yourself along the way.

Make a study plan (and stick to it!)

Failing to plan is planning to fail, as the old cliché goes. Drawing up to-do lists may seem overwhelming at first but prioritizing each item on the list should make managing your workload a lot easier.

It also pays to be realistic. Allow yourself enough time to achieve what you set out to do. Marathon study sessions don’t work, and you won’t thank yourself for it, so remember to take as many breaks as you feel are necessary throughout the day (but not too many).

Use your university’s facilities

From private study rooms, to renting laptops and subject-specific enquiry points, universities are really pushing the boundaries when it comes to the facilities and services they provide for their students.

For example, Queen’s University Belfast’s award winning McClay Library has recently had over £50 million invested in it, so students can experience a 21st century academic learning hub.

If you study languages at the university, or simply want to polish up on your language skills, you have access to their exclusive Language Centre, while The Graduate School at the university offers postgraduate students an exciting and exclusive study space that can be used for silent study, group study and innovating education workshops, thanks to its professional network links with local businesses and community sectors.

Treat yourself to new stationery

Treating yourself to some new stationery can also help with motivation. Go crazy with flashcards, overload on highlighters, keep your folders organized, write down notes, use post-its, and quiz yourself – anything to keep up the study momentum.

Create a study group with your classmates

Unless you really struggle to study with others, your fellow students can be a great source of help. Planning days and times when you can all study together is more likely to mean that you keep to the schedule and get the work done.

You’ll all have your own study styles which can be a great advantage, as it’s more than likely some of you will know things the others don’t, and vice versa. 

Eliminate all possible distractions

Studying at home can be difficult if your housemates are crashing around outside your bedroom, or you find yourself scrolling through social media every five minutes. Even the classic trick of having the TV on as background noise can end up with you staring at it for two hours rather than at your notes.

In the case of loud housemates, it could be a good idea to let them know you’re going to be spending the next few hours studying, so you’d appreciate it if they could keep noise levels down to a minimum – *cue Ross from Friends doing his volume hands*.

For anything else, clearing your desk, opening a window, letting natural light fill the room, and having a nice set up of your notes, laptop and stationery around you can be just what you need to get motivated.

For those who really struggle to study at home, many universities have dedicated silent study spaces and modern facilities for students to take advantage of. Queen’s University Belfast students can study in the CS Lewis Reading Room which offers a tranquil study space with glass-engraved inscriptions lining the walls from the Belfast-born author’s world-renowned Chronicles of Narnia to help keep students motivated.

Ask for help

It’s ok to ask for help – whether it’s from your lecturer, class colleagues, friends and family. If it’s specific to your course, then speaking with your lecturer would be a good first port of call. If it’s something that’s more personal, your tutor or university’s wellbeing service are always on hand to answer any questions or worries you may have.

Just remember, as stressful as university can be, you’re never on your own, and there’s always somebody who can help.

Stay active and stock up on healthy snacks

And finally, remembering to stay physically and mentally healthy is also key. Brain food isn’t just an Instagram fad, as research has proven certain meals and snacks can help you while you’re studying.

It’ll also do you some good to get outside for a walk or a run each day to refresh yourself and clear your mind.

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