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Studying for Exams: Watching Netflix with a Textbook Open

Updated: Mar 29

I’ve been patiently waiting to watch season 3 of You until all of my assignments were submitted - now that they are, the temptation is real: to binge or not to binge? It’s hard reminding myself that semester isn’t over yet! Exams are rapidly approaching so here are a few things to remember so that we all make it through the final weeks of semester in one piece.

Study Space

If you’re like me, chances are you’ve been sitting at the same desk to do all of your study for twenty months! If you can, why not switch it up? Studying outside or at the library might be helpful if you’re becoming unproductive in your normal study space. Now is the time to tidy up your desk (how long has that mug been there?) to get rid of all the clutter that has accumulated throughout the semester so that you have a fresh slate for exams. Do you need a calculator? Make sure you’ve got all your study essentials on hand and ready to go! Tab those textbooks, and print those notes. This includes snacks and water within reach so you don’t have to keep frequently stopping when you’re finally on a roll.

It’s also important to start thinking about your exam space. You are going to want a space where you are able to spread out all your textbooks and notes (organised chaos as I like to call it!). Hopefully it will also be quiet, well lit and comfortable! Also remember to download any exam software well ahead of time – the last thing you want to be doing right before your exam is panicking!

Study Schedule

While I think we are all guilty of some last-minute cramming, it’s good to get a head start on your studies. Now that exam timetables have been released, it’s time to set up your study schedule. I always find it useful to visualise exactly how much time I have to prepare (or procrastinate). Organise your study around your exam schedule – you might need to spend more time studying for one course, you don’t want to forget about allocating time to study for your final exams, and you still need to factor in work and life commitments! To help me stay focused, I always find it good to switch up what I am studying. Rather than dedicating entire days to a specific course, break your day into chunks and try a variety of tasks (no one wants to be reading a textbook for six hours). Prioritise difficult tasks or those that are most important so you can get them out of the way. Develop a routine that works well for you and study at the same time each day (do you work better first thing in the morning or late at night?).

It is important to be realistic about what you can achieve during Study Week. It’s great to set daily goals, but if you are unable to complete all of your tasks, it’s okay if you need to move a task to another day. What is important is that you keep going and do what you can! Take breaks when you need them (and if you need to take some time during Study Week to recover from all the work you’ve put in this semester, that’s fine too).

Study Support

I always find explaining topics or concepts to my family and friends helps me to untangle my thoughts and lets me know if there are any things that I need to brush up on before an exam. Your peers are all in the same (sinking) ship so why not have a study session together over Zoom, Facetime or in person if that’s suitable. Discussing content together can help everyone to learn – and it’s always nice to catch up with friends!

Past exam or problem questions can give you a good idea of what to expect in an exam, and can help you to figure out how much time you will need to allocate to complete each question. If you do have any questions, reach out to your lecturer or peers through the Discussion Board on Blackboard so everyone gets to see the responses – other’s might have the same question so take one for the team!

Study Snacks

It’s really easy to get caught up in your studies and forget about your health and wellbeing - but you need to be at your best so that you can do your best! It’s called brain food for a reason, so make sure that you eat three nutritious meals each day (especially before an exam) and keep hydrated (coffee doesn’t count!). Don’t neglect the healing powers of fresh air and sunshine! Going for a walk around the block can do amazing things for your motivation! And if you need to bribe yourself with snacks to study, that’s okay. My bribe of choice is Caramello Koalas (we all have a guilty pleasure).

It’s also important that you don’t neglect your sleep schedule. If your desk is in your bedroom, it’s a good idea to leave your room (and your laptop) and have some downtime before bed. It’s normal to feel anxious before an exam, but if you are struggling to get to sleep – reset! If it’s been more than 15 minutes and you haven’t fallen asleep it’s time to get up and do something relaxing until you feel tired (mindless TV anyone?), then restart your bedtime routine. But I have the problem if I pick up my book to read another chapter, I won’t put it down again!



About the Author

Alicia is studying her fifth year of a Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/Bachelor of Arts (Applied Psychology). In addition to her position on the NDSLS as Education Director, Alicia has a passion for reading, rules, and roses. #law #studyweek #study #endofsemester #exams #studysnacks #uni #NotreDameAus #NotreDameSyd #ndsls #lawstudent #lawschool

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