Thursday 18 January 2018

Resist the allure of distractions and follow these top tips for Christmas exams

The latest of our entries in an Irish Independent student journalist competition, in association with

Bebhinn Lernihan

As the Christmas market begins, temptation looms. The allure to ditch the books and run for the beer tent is overwhelming - BUT NO! You know better. Besides, you were there yesterday and nothing will have changed in the last 24 hours.

Study sucks, revision sucks but it has to be done. Here is a quick guide for studying for those dreaded exams this Christmas and please don’t consider the Inbetweeners guide to revision, unless you are willing to only watch the first twelve seconds.

1. Those first 12 seconds recommend that you make a timetable that you can stick to. Have one large copy on your wall at home so you know when you’re leaving in the morning exactly what you need for the day; remember to keep one with you in college so you don’t go off track.

2. Study Groups - they may not work for all courses but for those that they do they seriously help. Groups of around three people are probably best; that way you will all stay focused and everyone will be heard and helped. You never know, maybe someone picked up some information that you didn’t.

3. Facebook needs to just poke off - stay off it and you won’t be tempted by videos of drunk squirrels or the cutest puppies ever. Give a trusted friend your password and let them change it so you can't be tempted!

4. Take breaks - You cannot stare at that massive pile of A4 folders all day and don’t spend your breaks stressing over exams.

5. Work through past exams papers – and use a watch to time them so that you can practice timing your answers. But be careful in case your course has been changed in the last year or so.

6. Keywords, diagrams and other sorts of colourful prompts will help. They will also come in handy the night before the exam; don’t end up staying up all night reading pages and pages of information.

7. Last-minute stuff is not a good idea - Keep calm and consolidate your existing knowledge rather than trying to learn new topics. Being overtired will not help you do your best . You need to be fresh and rested the morning of your exam.

8. Listen to your mother - you have to take care of yourself. Stay warm, rested, full of energy and confident. Staying up all night before your exam does not help, especially if your exam is at 9am in the morning.

In the end, if the exams are still getting you down, just remember that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard.

• Bebhinn Lernihan is a Masters Journalism student at NUIG

If you’re a student who can write concise, topical stories and is deeply engaged in student life, join the Contributors’ Competition and your stories could be published on Ireland’s most popular news website,, this semester.

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