Keep Calm & Start Studying: Tips For Saving Your Semester

With Christmas lights being turned on and the festive season starting to get into gear, people around the country are getting excited about December. Along with these people there are students, who have recently realised they have a few weeks to save their semester and somehow pass Christmas exams in modules which they barely know the title of, let alone the course content. Don’t lose all hope though, there is still enough time to save it all if you adhere to the following tips.

1) Don’t panic


While there is always a temptation to lie on your floor in the foetal position, or to see how fast you can eat an entire tub of ice cream when faced with the prospects of exams, you can’t panic. There is still enough time and the answers to your problems are not found at the bottom of that tub or provided by divine inspiration in the middle of your sobs.

2) Go to lectures


Yes, you have missed every lecture and tutorial thus far in the semester, and you declare this with a certain level of pride, but with exams looming it’s time to see what your lecturer looks like and what your modules are all about. Lecturers mostly want you to pass and will offer subtle hints or sometimes walk you through the whole exam in the final weeks of semester, meaning you can tailor your study and knock the exam out of the park.


3) Calculate your continuous assessment


Most college modules will have some element of continuous assessment, and having some idea of your results thus far can allow you to destress or target a specific subject that you need to pass. Modules often repeat the continuous assessment in the final exam, so it’s worth looking back at what you’ve done so far as you might be able to get double value for your work. The dream.

4) Ask for notes


It’s not a time for pride anymore! Ask, beg, borrow, bribe, buy or steal notes. (Maybe not steal, that’s pretty desperate) If you can gain access to the right set of notes from a classmate or online, then most of your work is done for you and suddenly exams don’t seem so scary. Riding on the work of others is just part of the college experience, and when you get into the real world, it will all stop so you may as well make the most of it now when you need to.

5) Talk to classmates

Not any old classmates, talk to those ones that seem smart or that go to lectures; get a sense of what the lecturer likes to talk about and any hints or tips that might have been given in those 9 o clock lectures that you spent downing Lucozade and thinking that this hangover was finally going to kill you.

6) Plan your time and study



While exams are close, you have a surprising amount of time in which to study. Don’t do up some elaborate study plan that’s colour coded and sparkly and wastes more time than it’s worth, but do try to plan your time. Give time to those subjects that you're struggling in and maximise your reading week. If you make a plan and don’t stick to it, then the blame is on you if your exams don’t go well; giving yourself accountability will help with your study motivation.

7) Be efficient


From going to lectures, collecting notes, talking to classmates and planning your time, you should have a good idea of what is the minimum you need to do to pass. Don’t waste time reading articles if you don’t think they’re needed. Equally, don’t look at slides if your exam is based on readings. Study for the exam, not your general knowledge of the module. The time for that has well passed.

8) Eat and sleep



Studying is tiring and stressful which means you need to fuel your body. Amongst those hours spent scrawling notes and reading books, it is imperative that you find yourself enough time to sleep and get some food. Your body won’t survive on instant noodles for exams and you'll crash, so get some home-cooked meals or at least some take away. Coffee is your friend and provides a great insta opportunity when placed beside some notes #studygrind.

9) Plan your reward


In these weeks leading up to exams, your life might seem like it is just a continuous succession of study, eat, study, sleep, and realistically this is pretty much true. But this isn’t what college is about so don’t worry about appearing eager. Plan your post exam nights out. Buy your alcohol, order your clothes and happily tell the world about how “fucked” you’re going to get. This will motivate you to keep going as you’ll know there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

10) Forget about them


Once you’ve finished an exam, forget about it. You can’t change anything by talking about how you got on or regretting that time spent watching Netflix instead of studying. Forget about exams and live in blissful ignorance until results day. Besides, if you’ve followed these hints, then your exams will have been grand and you’ll have no need for concern.


Good luck!

Sean Galligan

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