A student’s guide to navigating exam season


As the days gradually become longer and the weather improves in our quaint university city, what better way to enjoy Easter term than be downtrodden by the dreaded exam period. If you’re looking forward to a summer of endless balls, days on the racecourse, and the obligatory pilgrimage to The Swan, I’m afraid you’re going to have to earn it first. As a second year, this is not my first rodeo, albeit the first that counts. So, as exam season rears its ugly head once more, here is a quick survival guide to keep you somewhat sane.

Exercise. Although frustrating to admit, it is in fact true that exercise is a cure for the soul. While no one suggests you need to start running ultramarathons, regularly moving your body will keep you level-headed, as a great form of distraction from the countless piles of revision stacked upon your desk. If you’re lucky enough to be a first year on the hill, walks around the nature reserve serve as another brilliant amusement. If you’re feeling more inventive, maybe book into a Zumba class or a Pilates session. Be outrageous. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you haven’t unlocked hibernation mode. You will be eternally grateful for this.

If you’re looking forward to a summer of endless balls…I’m afraid you’re going to have to earn it first

Tap into your creative side. Experimenting with your creative self is a brilliant way to pause from your academic commitments. Don’t worry, no one’s expecting you to be the next Picasso either; paint by numbers sets can be easily purchased from Amazon for a low price. Your artistic work won’t look totally abysmal, even if you have the capabilities of a four-year-old. Meanwhile, as a humanities student, writing for fun can be really helpful if ever deeply stuck in a rut. Or, if you’re looking to have your works read by others, why not start as a contributor at Palatinate? I would most certainly recommend.

Treat yourself. If you’re brave enough to commit to the pilgrimage that is the Billy B this time of year, you may as well reward yourself with a sweet treat from the café. Any time spent in there is no mean feat. Remember, life’s all about balance. Make sure to order those pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing up on Vinted before someone else buys them. Some people may not believe in retail therapy, but it will eventually creep upon them. They just haven’t had the privilege to experience the pure joy when receiving an email, from their college porters, informing a new package awaits them yet. Bonus points if this adds to your summer wardrobe.

Whatever you do, make sure you haven’t unlocked hibernation mode

Don’t become a hermit. You may think that revising all day everyday will give you that further edge over your fellow course mates. Chances are, however, that ten straight hours of revision could easily be condensed into six with breaks, leaving you an extra four hours of free time. Do not isolate yourself over the exam period; your friends will be endlessly grateful for messaging them, asking them to meet, or simply checking up on them. Your university life is short-lived – make sure you have a life outside from your laptop screen.

Embrace the inevitable ratty phase. The dishevelled exam-season aesthetic is a universal experience. No one looks or feels their best, no matter how hard they try. You are truly not alone. Soon you will emerge from the exam season chrysalis with a new lease of life. Rest easy in the knowledge that come the end of May, you’re going to feel a whole lot better.

Soon you will emerge from the exam season chrysalis with a new lease of life

Ultimately, remember everyone is in the same boat. Exam-season is unavoidable for us all. In months to come, you’ll contemplate upon your time with a sense of achievement. It’s normal to feel different over exams, but remember that you are still human and still need rest. Good luck!


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