Tips from a final year student: How I cope with exam season

Final-year student Caera shares her top tips for exam season, from planning your schedule and studying creatively to getting support and taking breaks. 

As a final-year student who also did a year abroad and a foundation year, this is my fifth exam period of my undergraduate degree. I’d like to think that over the years, I have figured out how to cope with this busy time of year, so here are a few of my top tips for tackling exam season. 

Make a (realistic) plan

I know I am not only speaking for myself when I say that I sometimes overestimate how much I can really study. Leaving anything to the last minute and expecting to cram for hours on end is frankly unrealistic, so my first tip is always to plan and prepare but realistically.

You know how you study best, whether that’s in complete silence, in study groups, in short, 25-minute intervals or subject-focused longer stretches. How you study for your exams will differ from person to person, but once you get your timetable, it’s a good idea to make a plan of how you’re going to tackle each subject. Splitting your subjects into smaller areas will also help you feel more on top of your studies.

Be creative

Scrolling through textbooks or re-reading notes is not always the best way to study. There are so many free resources out there to help make your studying a bit more fun and engaging. 

You perform best when you feel your best, and that’s no different for exam season.

As a language student I love using apps like Quizzlet and Duolingo to add a bit of fun to my daily revision. Especially for languages, consistency is important and these apps help me practice my language skills even when I’m focused on a different subject. Most importantly find what works for you, whether that colorful mind maps or flashcards, studying for your exams doesn’t have to be a chore!

Seek support

It’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone. There are so many others in your same situation. Reaching out to friends or family is a great way to not only find support but also maybe learn some new study methods! Also, if you need it, the Student Advice and Wellbeing team at SOAS is always there to help you at SOAS. 

Have fun and keep healthy

At this time of year, it’s easy to neglect your own physical and mental health while studying for exams. Try to find balance in your life to still have fun and keep on top of your studies. Ways I have found to help are building time with friends or social things into my study timetable and having a mandatory amount of time outside. 

You perform best when you feel your best, and that’s no different for exam season. So, get outside, see friends, enjoy your hobbies, eat good food, drink plenty of water and get lots of sleep! 


About the author

Caera Broad is a final-year BA Japanese and International Relations student and currently working part-time at SOAS as a Marketing Assistant. Growing up in rural Scotland, she loves animals and being out in nature.