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January university exams: four essential study tips

Looking for helpful tips to survive January exam stress? These tips can help you organise your study sessions and feel prepared for your January exams

    Grace McCabe's avatar

    Grace McCabe

    Content Writer, THE Student
    January 3 2024
    young man with his head in his hands reading lots of books in the library


    Many university students will have exams in January and will spend much of their time in December studying for their exams.

    As well as the usual tips to stay hydrated, get enough and sleep, eat well and move regularly (which are all incredibly important when you’re faced with January exams), we have some other tips that can help you to manage stress levels during this exam season.

    1. Take breaks regularly

    It’s easier to work hard when you know you have a reward waiting for you. You could watch TV, grab a coffee with a friend or take time doing a hobby or activity you enjoy. Whatever you choose, set your break in advance so you have something to look forward to.

    You could try working for 40 minutes and then taking a 20 minute break for a few hours, but it may take some time to work out how long you can work for until you need to take a break. 

    Once you have finished for the day, physically close the books, the laptop or the worksheets and clear the desk. This signals to your brain that it’s time to save all the new information and that work time is over. 

    2. Reduce the pressure

    Exam season comes with a lot of pressure, so try to reduce outside factors that might make things worse. Discussing exams or thinking about them excessively after they are over can often leave you feeling worried and can impact your mood for the next one.

    Instead, create study groups with your course mates and promise that you'll use that study sessions only as a forum to help each other out and discuss study topics, rather than to complain about exams. 

    Avoid social media just before and after exams as you might see people posting about them, which could make you feel more anxious.

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    3. Create a clear study schedule

    One of the best ways to feel prepared for an exam is to ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to learn the material. Note down the dates of each of your exams and the topics you think might be covered and then ensure that you spend a few hours going over your notes and picking out key points that you believe might come up.

    Do practice questions in exam conditions and make sure that you go over any that you don’t get full marks for to ensure that you are confident in all the topics you’ll be tested on.

    4. Talk to a professional if it gets too much

    Your university understands that January exams bring a lot of pressure, anxiety and stress for many students. Institutions are prepared to help in any way possible if you need them. Whether it’s just to voice your concerns out loud, get support or even just advice on ways to relax, your student support services are there for you whenever you need them.

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