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How to Survive Exam Season

Exam season is coming, with its maelstrom of deadlines, crying, and textbooks that seem to have been written in another language. I know the only thing you want to do is drop out and set up a club in some exotic location, but unfortunately, I've seen your night-out skills here in St Andrews, and so I can tell you that would not be a good idea. Luckily, I have prepared this fantastic list of tips from myself and other students for surviving exams. Thank me later!

Tesco run: Since ancient times, one simple rule has always applied: you cannot study without a snack. Whether it's a family pack of Oreos, peanuts so that the best gym bros can meet their protein requirements, or fruit for the health-conscious, snacking will distract you from the despair caused by exams. It will also make your friends with whom you share snacks happy, turning you into the most popular person in the library (but please avoid crisps or other noisy foods in study halls, I say this for your personal safety!) Plus, your Tesco runs will help you meet your daily step target.

Touch some grass: Let's face it, we are all vitamin D deficient in this town. And like a joke of fate, when the sun decides to show up is the exact moment we have to lock ourselves in and write our essays. But trust me, an hour in the ruins of St Andrews Castle, on one of our beaches, or among the greenery of the coastal path will only do you good. In fact, walking and being outdoors is scientifically proven to reduce stress, stimulate creativity and improve sleep quality. Look at the sea and remember how small we can be compared to the immensity of nature. Besides, we both know you would have spent that hour on TikTok.

Organise your time: Yes, I'm sure you perform better under pressure and yes, I'm sure you can write 5,000-word essays in 12 hours. But do you enjoy it? I thought so. Procrastination is human, especially when a task is particularly frightening and demanding. But trust me, dividing your study into many small parts and managing your schedule day by day will help you make it more manageable, carve out time for yourself, and get better results. You got this, I believe in you!

Ranting rights: Students have an undeniable and irrevocable right: the right to complain. During my day, I like to take a half-hour break to call a friend or my parents and whinge about how difficult life is for a 20-year-old who lives in a seaside town with their friends and the summer holidays approaching. I know, it's all so dramatic. But all jokes aside, let’s remember that those who love us will be ready to listen and give us advice when we need it. There is zero shame in asking for support and being reminded that we are so much more than our grades.

Mix those beats: Crafting a study playlist is an art form in itself. Opt for instrumental tracks or lyric-light melodies to prevent distraction. Classical compositions by Mozart or ambient sounds from nature might just become your new study buddies. However, if Beethoven isn't your vibe, lo-fi beats or chilled-out electronic tunes could be your go-to. After all, music has been shown to improve concentration and memory for some students, as well as being a great way to boost your mood. Remember, the right rhythm can turn a dull study session into a symphony of productivity.

Comparison is the killer of joy: I know, everyone else seems to have the situation under control. They are smarter than you, more organised, and their room certainly hasn't slowly turned into a dump. However, the truth is that just like you, other students are probably feeling equally tired, inadequate, and overwhelmed. So, remember that each study path is unique and personal and that you are not competing with anyone. Just focus on your own journey and everything will be fine.

To sum up, snacks fuel your brain, nature soothes your soul, and you are doing better than you think. If you have survived exams in the past, you will survive this time too. So no more fear, see you at May Dip!

Illustration by Darcey Bateson

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