Preparing for my First Ever University Exams

I’m sorry I haven’t posted on here in awhile, things have been rather busy in my life. My last two weeks of university were a whirlwind of essays and tests, then it was exam time! These were my first exams at university, so needless to say I was stressing over them. They are all over now though!! What a relief!

I have had plenty of practice over the past month in preparing for my upcoming exams. Whilst this does not make me an expert in examination prep, it has given me a few ideas and tips. Just because these worked for me does not necessarily mean that they will work for you, though often you can adapt them to suit. So here is how I studied for my exams.

 

Know Your Exam Schedule!

My exams were really well spaced out. This allowed me plenty of time to study for one, do the exam, and then study for the other. I was really fortunate in this aspect, however this isn’t always the case. I even had one friend who had two exams on the same day! How unlucky can you get! It is super important that you know when your exams are and plan accordingly. Don’t be that person who doesn’t check their exam date and needs to ask their friends mere days beforehand. The location is super important too!! I always made sure I knew where my exam room was ahead of time so that I wasn’t stressing on the day. There’s enough stress as it is!

Use a diary to plan out your day’s study

Plan How You Will Study

Plan when you are going to study and stick to it! It is super easy to plan a rigorous study schedule a week in advance and then when the day comes it is much easier to sleep in till noon and watch Netflix in the afternoon. You don’t have time for that! Hold yourself accountable. Sometimes I will tell myself if I can get through a solid day of study then I can take the night off to relax and watch tv. Other times I will force myself to go to the library so that I am stuck in a studious location, away from my warm bed and secret chocolate stash to tempt me.

My daily study schedule

7.45am Wake up and prepare for gym

8.15-9.15am Cardio workout

9.30-10am Breakfast and get ready

10-12pm Study

12-1pm Lunch

1-5pm Study

5-6pm Dinner

Study afterwards depending on how much I got done during the day.

Take short breaks of fifteen minutes when required

Record your study in a diary like this one
Little Papeterie, 2017 Diary, $23.60, available on Etsy.

Plan What You Will Study

Look through past exam papers and check for any recurring themes. If it has been in there before, it is likely to be in there again. It is also super important to pay attention in class to themes that the teacher stresses. If the lecturer spends ages on a particular point, or even hints that it’ll be in the exam, I put a huge asterisk beside the note and make sure to learn it.

Our PASS leaders also advised us to go through each lecture and find the top five main ideas. These we were advised to learn by heart. While it is important to look through all notes and understand them, the key ideas are the most important part and those should be prioritised. If you have time to study absolutely everything in your course, then good for you, but for the rest of us, pick the important stuff.

Work out what days you will study what stuff and make sure you get it done. I spent far too long making cue cards on Quizlet, which were helpful, but meant I had less time to spend on other, more important study. Sometimes I would need to put in extra hours on a day to make sure I completely covered the topic. If you find yourself spending too long in one area, move on. Make sure to cover all material.

Study Alone and In a Group

There are pros and cons to each of these. I really enjoy studying in a group as it is fun, and it means I am less likely to turn to Facebook or give up altogether. You can also hold each other accountable to make sure you study each day. However, these sessions can quickly turn into social groups where we would talk a lot, but not get much study done. I recommend a mixture of both. Usually I studied by myself in the evenings and spent the day with my friends.

Group Study

You don’t necessarily have to study with people from the same class as you, but this can be useful! Make sure you appoint someone to keep everyone else on track. A method that works is you work for thirty minutes on and then ten minutes off. Some people recommend longer or shorter times, but this is what we found works best for us. However, a lot of the time we just study and talk as well which can be distracting but more fun. Study can be boring! For this reason, when studying in groups I find it more beneficial to study flash cards or practice tests so it is not so distracting if someone talks to you.

Individual study

During this study time I make sure to focus harder so that I don’t have to study for as long. This is when I take notes and memorise stuff, learning and relearning the material. I try not to take any breaks, since I have a habit of turning a two-minute break into two hours. I also don’t use music as I find it too distracting.

Studying with friends can be fun-just don’t get too distracted!

Have an Exam Day Plan

Know exactly what you will do on exam day and plan actions that you will take to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible. Everyone is different so I cannot really help you here. You must know what helps you feel distressed and mentally ready. Sometimes it pays to do a practice exam day as well if you like.

My Exam Day Schedule

My exams were at 2.30pm so this is what my day looked like

7.45am Wake up and prepare for gym

8.15-8.45am Light Cardio-Exercise is supposed to be helpful on exam days to boost your memory, however I just like working out before exams anyway. Only do this one if you work out regularly (which you should) and take it easy.

9-9.30am Get ready

9.30-10am Breakfast

10-12pm Study

12-12.30pm Lunch

12.30-1.30pm Read over notes. Don’t try and learn anything new.

1.30pm Pack bag and relax

2pm Walk to exam room, arriving at 2.15pm ready to start at 2.30pm

So yeah, that’s how I prepared for my exams. How does everyone else like to study? Comment your tips down below so we can all help each other out. Now I’m off to relax because I don’t have to study anything anymore for two whole weeks!!

Cheers x

How to motivate yourself to get up in the mornings and all the reasons why you should

All The Benefits to Waking Up Early + The Secret Way To Do It

I have always been a morning person. I blame my mother for this one. We used to have a rule in our house where we were only allowed to watch TV in the mornings. I think when mum developed this rule she intended it to be for about thirty minutes while we ate our breakfast.

However, she did not anticipate my brother and I getting up at 6am every day to watch cartoons before school. When I was twelve, I began 5am morning trainings. So while other teenagers where lying in bed, savouring those last few minutes before getting up for school, I was already swimming laps in the town pool. Even now, I like to wake up early. It’s a habit. A rather useful one. One I want the rest of you to develop. So read on to learn the vast benefits to waking up early and how to do it effectively to get the most out of your day.

How to motivate yourself to get up in the mornings and all the reasons why you should
Most people find waking up early a chore. Makeover your mornings and get up easy.

Benefits to Waking Up Early

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like actually waking up or getting ready. When my alarm goes off in the morning there is nothing I would rather do than turn it off and go back to sleep. The only thing that stops me is the mere fact that I have to get up. There are too many benefits to waking up early that I don’t want to miss out on. These include…..

  • Getting up early makes you more productive.

    If you are waking up at 6am, there best be a good reason for it! I always use my mornings to go to the gym or workout, however I have also found it is a good time to study. Many people also use mornings as a way to improve their wellbeing. I haven’t really tried that yet but it is definitely something you should look into. Pick a reason to get up and use it as motivation!

  • Better Sleep Patterns.

    The thought of getting up early is a great motivator to make sure you are in bed at a reasonable hour. When I was a swimmer, I used to be in bed at 8pm every night. While I am much more relaxed about my bedtimes now, I always ensure I get at least seven hours sleep. Which means going to bed before midnight

  • More Peaceful Morning

    Very few people want to be up before the sun. Which is excellent for us morning folk. The gym is always quieter, there is barely any traffic (depending on where you live) and you don’t have to fight anyone for the shower. As a shy introvert myself, the thought of less people around is a great motivator to get up.

  • Everyone Has A Purpose

    You will not see anybody wake up at 6am and then spend the next few hours lazing around. People up at this time are healthy, motivated and energised. This makes it a great atmosphere, especially if you are feeling particularly tired. There won’t be anyone hogging the spin bikes while they sit on their phones barely pedalling. And there is not likely to be anyone around to distract you from your work, either at home or in the office.

  • Less Likely To Rush

    We’ve all been there. Woken up with only a few minutes to throw on some clothes and run out the door. For some this can even be a daily event. Not when you wake up early though. When you have several hours to get things done before work you are able to relax, take time for yourself, and feel better. Spend time making yourself a delicious healthy breakfast. Have a few extra minutes to style your hair or pick out some nice looking clothes instead of the first ones you can find. You will feel better!

All the secrets to starting your day in style
Click the image to Pin

So How Do I Get Up Early?

That’s the real question isn’t it. With over ten years of experience under my belt, I know what works for me. Play around with these ideas though. Find something that gets you up and going.

  1. Know why you are getting up and what you want to accomplish in the morning
  2. Put out everything you need the night before
  3. Make sure you get enough sleep
  4. Have a nice alarm sound
  5. Get out of bed the moment your alarm goes off-it makes it so much easier!
  6. If the sun is up then open your curtains. Natural light really helps!
  7. Keep busy-don’t give yourself time to fall back asleep
  8. Have a delicious breakfast planned to look forward to.
  9. If you like noise in the mornings, have an inspirational playlist ready. If not, try and limit the sound around you.
  10. Be positive! This time will prepare you for the rest of the day. Only think happy thoughts
  11. Learn to enjoy your morning-find little things you love about waking up early and use those to motivate yourself in the future.
  12. Brag about your achievement. Not only will this make you feel proud, it will mean you have to keep doing it.
How to motivate yourself to get up in the mornings and all the reasons why you should
Most people find waking up early a chore. Makeover your mornings and get up easy.

So there we go. All the benefits to waking up early and the secrets to help you get there.Are you guys morning risers too? Let me know in the comments below if this has helped anyone create a brilliant start to their day.

A must read list of items that I actually brought to college

My College Packing List

In the months leading up to university, I read a lot of college packing lists on other blogs. I was so excited to begin purchasing all these “must have” items. The truth is though, you are a broke college student. You don’t have the money to invest in this sort of stuff, especially when you don’t actually need it. On the other hand, there are some things that life would be very difficult if you happened to leave them behind. So read on below to see what I packed for college.

A must read list of items that I actually brought to college
Here is a list of everything I brought to university

NB: I flew to college which means that I had to purchase a lot of stuff once I got to my university, hence why some items have (buy up there) beside them. Depending on whether you have these things or not, and how you are getting to university you can choose whether you pay attention to these things. Also my dorm provides communal mini fridges, TVs and microwaves among other things which is why they aren’t listed.

Must Bring to University

Living

  • Bed Linen (should buy up there but going to bring with me)
  • 2 Towels
  • Mugs
  • Teaspoons
  • Tea towels
  • Laundry powder  (buy up there)
  • Headphones
  • Laundry bag-would recommend basket
  • First Aid Kit-just threw together some plasters and painkillers
  • Torch-should get for emergencies but haven’t got round to it.
  • Coat hangers – I brought twelve but I needed at least another 5

Documents

  • Passport photos
  • Passport or driving licence
  • National Insurance number
  • CV and references
  • Bank account details
  • calendar
  • Other university documents
  • Exam certificates

Studying

  • Diary/planner – turns out my uni has free ones. Still like mine though.
  • A pad of lined paper – for making notes/doing drafts etc (buy up there)
  • A4 folders (buy up there)
  • Pens, pencils, paper, files, highlighters (buy up there)
  • Scissors (buy up there)
  • Sticky tape (buy up there)
  • Stapler, hole punch (buy up there)
  • Sticky labels (buy up there)
  • Post-it notes (buy up there)
  • Paper clips (buy up there)
  • White Tac – so it doesn’t mark the walls (buy up there)

Sports gear

  • Jump rope
  • Stretch matt
  • Cords
  • Small knee cord
  • Raincoat
  • Umbrella
  • Sports shoes

Bathroom

  • Basket for shower supplies (buy up there)
  • Box of tissues (buy up there)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap –  (bottle) soap is probably better. If you’re sharing bathrooms then it’s easier to transport
  • Showergel (buy up there)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (buy up there)
  • Nail clippers
  • Deodorant-choose roll on cause aerosol cans aren’t always allowed.
  • Hairbrush
  • Comb
  • Razor
  • Lip balm

Electrical

  • Computer and/or laptop
  • USB “pen drive” – Generally just use Google Drive but good for backups
  • Mobile and charger
  • Camera
  • Headphones 
  • Multi plug adaptor/extension lead – Used this so I can charge my phone beside my bed!

Clothing

  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers (handy for mornings)
  • T-shirts
  • Jumpers/hoodies (bring more up before winter)
  • Sweat pants
  • Underwear (as many as possible)
  • Socks (as many as possible)
  • Shoes
  • Jandals- for showers and for beach
  • Swimwear-bikini and sports togs
  • Ball gowns/eveningwear – for the Freshers’ Ball. Bring up later in year
  • Dresses
  • Heels
  • Cap
  • Sunglasses

Room Deco

  • Posters
  • Photos of family and friends-print heaps!
  • Wall hanging
  • A fluffy blanket
  • Fairy lights
  • Pins for corkboard

Miscellaneous

  • Chocolate-I have a huge sweet tooth
  • Snacks-for when the dining hall isn’t open
  • Extra storage – better to get to room to see if you need any
  • Travel bag- to put things in when going home for the weekend
  • Earplugs
  • Safety pins

Female specific items

  • Hair Ties/clips
  • Make up (eye shadow, mascara, lip stick/gloss, eyeliner, foundation, etc)
  • Jewellery Boxes
  • Jewellery-this was mainly necklaces and earrings for me
  • Moisturiser
  • Nail polish-I went a bit crazy with this and brought my ten favourites but I love painting my nails
  • Hair dryer/straightners
  • Tampons/pads
A must read list of items that I actually brought to college
Here is a list of everything I brought to university

Is there anything that you think I have missed out? What sort of things would you not have thought to bring which are included?

    

 

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