Student Weekly Tips: From Easter Break to Revision

Welcome back after the Easter break! This week’s Student Weekly Tips are focussed on getting back into work mode ahead of the exam period, whilst making sure you don’t suffer from burnout and working yourself too hard.

A desk, with a notebook and someone typing on a laptop.
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

What if I got too comfortable during the break? Tips and hacks.

It is quite easy for me to get comfortable and in vacation mode. For me, I find that throwing myself back into studying can be too much at once, and so my tip is to link something you need to do with work. For example, if I need to do reading for a university course, I’ll do half of the reading, take a 20-minute break and watch a comfort show, and then go back to reading instead of just expecting to do the whole task at once. It is also nice to do it with a buddy as well, if you work in a pair, it is nice to encourage each other to get back into it. — Salma, Politics and International Relations

I always find that a good way to get back into work after having a break is to start by making a to-do list. I find it helpful to have a list of everything that I need to get done so I don’t forget anything and I can see everything that I need to get done that week (or even that semester if I am making a bigger plan). I think it also helps me to start working productively again when I can see that I am making progress by ticking things off my list! — Lily, History

Person writing checklist in notebook
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

During the break you should enjoy your well-deserved time off, however, completely abandoning your university work will only make it harder to re-adjust once you’re back to the world of uni. To help you get back into a ‘working’ mode I would encourage starting with a simple task, such as spending a bit of time consolidating what you have learnt in the previous semester, then building towards preparing for your future lectures. — Iqra, Speech and Language Therapy

My flatmate has found an interesting strategy to help them get back into working mode. It’s analogous to electrocuting your bacteria. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable on purpose to spark you back into work mode. Some strategies include giving yourself a strict time limit on note-taking; studying in a place where you feel exposed and like people are watching you or perhaps attempting to only learn through diagrams. I for example draw out the most relevant diagrams for some of my modules. I read around about them until I can explain the intricacies of the diagram. I find that a major barrier to getting back to work is knowing where to start. Through extensively trying to understand a series of diagrams, I can overcome the slacking barrier and can think big picture again before getting stuck in the details. — Sara, Biotechnology

Person planning with a notebook and post it notes.
Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Planning around the exam schedule & revision

One important tip for me is to plan days off and these should be sacred. This can prevent burnout and reassure you if you fall behind in some way, that there are days off that you can use, but avoid doing so. I work backwards from the exam date and plan my revision. I also like to give myself more time than I need, because it may be that I spend more time revising for one assessment than for the other. — Salma, Politics and International Relations

Returning after the Easter break can be overwhelming when you know you have exams and assignments ahead of you. I find that the best way to feel in control and not panic about the amount of revision I need to do is to plan out the time that I will spend revising. This doesn’t need to be a really strict hour-by-hour timetable, but I find it helpful to plan out what topics I will work on each day and set goals of when I want each topic or assignment to be completed. This ensures that I give myself enough time to get everything done and am not rushing or cramming as the deadlines approach. — Lily, History

Weekly planner open on Ipad
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

I find that a lot of students end up realising they have too little time and too many topics. First and foremost, don’t panic. Although easier said than done, I think halting the anxiety train wreck of thought is one of the best ways to be ready to approach exam revision. The next few are dependent on your discipline of study. My exams are all essay-based. My focus in the exam period is to make sure I can understand the links between different disciplines and modules. Understanding the connections and integrating your knowledge is exactly what essays ask you to do. Hence, if my understanding of the topic is good and I have at least 10 papers I can reference around each module, I’m good to go. — Sara, Biotechnology

I try to take a methodical approach to plan my exam revision by working out how many topics I need to study for each exam and scheduling an hour or so for each one, working backwards from the date of the exam. Then I’ll put the topics as the blocks of time I create on the calendar, making sure to leave some of the day free for relaxation and downtime too. If you can efficiently organise your revision by planning and setting specific revision or study goals, this can help you with managing stress. — Olivia, Psychology

Cup of coffee sitting on top of a notebook planner.
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

How to relax and turn off to keep you healthy

I read a blog the other day about getting better quality sleep, and that honestly has helped me just turn off fully at night. What helped is not going on any screen either on a phone or tablet before sleep for 30 minutes, and this is much harder to do than I expected! I started using sleep sounds as well, and now I’ve almost conditioned myself to sleep to those sounds. Even if I don’t turn off my mind during the day, it was important to turn it off at night. — Salma, Politics and International Relations

The most important tip I have been given about switching off is to always make sure you take some time to relax before you go to sleep. I used to work late and then try and go to sleep as soon as I had shut my laptop, and I was never able to get to sleep as I was still thinking (and often stressing) about my work. I now make sure that even if I need to work late to get something finished, I finish at least half an hour before I go to sleep to give myself time to relax and allow my brain to calm down and this has helped me to get a much better night’s sleep. I also find it much easier to switch off from work when I have left myself a note of where I want to start up again the next day. This takes away the stress of stopping in the middle of a task and helps me park any thoughts about my work as I am reassured that I know exactly where to pick it up again the next morning. — Lily, History

Close up of alarm clock, a book and a cup of coffee sitting in the background.
Photo by Sanah Suvarna on Unsplash

For me, I like to dedicate days to where I don’t need to think about university work at all and spend some time doing the things I enjoy. Setting some time aside to just relax helps my mental health a lot and I would encourage all students to do the same. Taking advantage of what the university offers such as societies or volunteering opportunities can help you switch off from your work but also do something productive! — Iqra, Speech and Language Therapy

Consider adding a little bit of magic to your life. Magic is not a trivial pursuit in the search for health and wellbeing. What I like to do is make sure I do one random thing when I am fed up with work or very stressed. Recently, I was looking at an Excel spreadsheet for far too long. I snapped out of it and made myself a masala chai tea for no good reason. I don’t make masala chai every day, and the only reason I was able to make it this time is because I randomly tried out a recipe before that required the same ingredients as masala chai. Play a game of Tetris, I sometimes do that too. Go outdoors for a walk, mull over what you’ve learnt, don’t think about that spreadsheet. Magic, I think it helps. — Sara, Biotechnology.

Plate of cookies and a cup of tea.
Photo by Ashley Kirk on Unsplash

I feel burned out… What do I do?

For me, Easter was about catching up and working on my dissertation. I can feel a little bit of burnout right now and it is hard to overcome it. My number one tip is to take a break! Taking a day for yourself is important, and you don’t have to fill it with socialising with friends unless it helps to relax you. The way I come back from burnout is a change of scenery, a change of pace, and just overall being dedicated to not thinking about any work for a full 24 hours. — Salma, Politics and International Relations

The best thing you can do when you are feeling burned out is to take a break. Even though this can feel counter-productive if you are panicking about being behind on your revision or assignments, if you are burned out and stressed you won’t be getting any meaningful revision done anyway, so you are much better off using that time to take a break and recharge. Then, you will be in a much better mindset to restart your revision and work more productively. I also find that even though I often panic about wasting revision time, the short breaks that I take add up to a lot less time than I would spend procrastinating if I tried to power through for hours without any breaks. — Lily, History

Notebook with “take a break” scrawled inside.
Photo by Glenn Diaz on Unsplash

I think the first thing to do in this circumstance is accept that it’s okay to feel burned out. Every student will have felt this way, no matter how experienced they are! I suggest making a list of all the tasks you would like to complete and setting yourself a realistic time frame to complete them. Also, let your academic advisor or any member of staff you trust know, they are here to help you and I can assure you that you won’t be the first student they have spoken to who feels this way. — Iqra, Speech and Language Therapy

If you’re feeling burned out, take yourself out of the environment you’re in, be it the library or your bedroom. Go for a walk or put the kettle on, make a tea, and just press your ‘reset’ button. The best thing you can do is to acknowledge how you’re feeling and understand that it’s completely normal because being a student can be stressful! It’s important to remind yourself that you’re doing a great job under the circumstances, so keep going! Do something relaxing that will replenish your energy reserves then you’ll have renewed vigour when you return to revising. — Olivia, Psychology

Woman sitting on bench in a park.
Photo by Josephine Baran on Unsplash

That was this week’s student tips from the Library Student Team. We hope you find them helpful! Make sure to check for more tips next Thursday!

--

--

--

Ran by the Student Team and recent graduates to provide personalised support for current students

Recommended from Medium

Are we in or are we out?!

5 Ways To Relax When You’re Studying

EdTech is the New Black

How can Apps Engage Students Outside the Classroom?

ISTE Live ’22: Quizizz Conference Preview

Why We Need to Bake in Healthcare

5 ways to make e-learning effective

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Library Student Team

Library Student Team

The University of Manchester Library Student Team

More from Medium

My Quest for a Productive Morning Routine Has Resulted in Doing Just Two Things!

Student Weekly Tips: Thinking about what you want to do after your degree

two person standing on grey tiles with shoes on and text ‘passion led us here’

My Most Memorable Feedback

adventureNow Travel Planner