Timetables, Notes and Sleep!

First semester has definitely whizzed past and that means a few things - I’ve had an incredible time at University with my friends, studying the things I genuinely enjoy but also the realisation that exams are right around the corner! Some may feel that exam periods are one of the most dreaded times of year, filled with shot after shot of caffeine, sleepless nights and revision overload. However, give yourself a big pat on the back because you’ve already made it onto an MPharm course, which means you have an idea how to handle exams.

Fear not however, for we are all in this together, and I have some tips I hope will help you when facing upcoming exams this year:

Time is precious - use it wisely...make a timetable! 

As a pharmacy student, our time is already jam-packed with placements and Saturday jobs leaving us with minimal time to study. We need to gather ourselves and get into the habit of planning ahead. I find making a timetable and having a clear concept of what to do and when is invaluable.

By setting time limits, breaks and study periods it not only reduces the chances of procrastination (we all do it!), but also increases efficiency during working because you’re working to your next break.

When planning a timetable, my best advice is to leave some time at the end of each day/week for any unforeseen events (i.e. unable to work for 1/2 day due to sickness etc.), and have at least one-hour downtime before heading to bed. 

Notes, notes and notes and how to organise them!

We are constantly stacked with information from all the lectures we receive as students, and ploughing through all those notes, writing and re-writing them is definitely not the best way to revise. To beat these dream-eating monsters we call exams, we need a good set of notes which provides full coverage of what we need to know, but also concise at the same time. As a CEO of an ESports team stated, “Preparation is 90% of the battle”, and I highly recommend using flashcards to write down potential questions from the notes and testing yourself afterwards. Encourage your friends to do the same, and compile these together to give you more questions to practice with. Doing it together also helps you realise what you really do (and don’t) know!

Fine-tune your sleeping pattern!

One of the worst things that could happen during your exam is feeling drowsy and failing to read the question properly, causing a “silly mistake”. Having a good sleeping pattern can help you be refreshed on the day of the exam, but also help you focus during revision. Tiredness always seems to be one of the reasons I start to procrastinate, and although caffeine may help in the short-term, it is definitely an unsustainable answer to having no rest. Sleeping is also when we process what we have learnt, so having good quality rest usually helps us understand better, giving us more opportunities to reach that “Eureka!!” moment!

Finally, reward yourself and enjoy the process!

Revision doesn’t always have to be dull! Remind yourself of those times when you felt the enthusiasm when telling others what you’re actually learning (I think some of the content and knowledge are pretty dope). If you love what you’re learning, you’ll definitely learn it quicker. By asking more questions and talking to your friends about the revision material, you can increase your love towards the subject! Also, reward yourself regularly when a task is done, and aim to work towards it when doing revision!

With that in mind, I hope everyone has had a wonderful Winter break and comes back prepared more than ever to combat upcoming exams. If you have any other suggestions on exam tips feel free to comment below! 

Steven Cho

BPSA Pennine Area Coordinator

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