I feel quite lucky in that this year I don’t have any exams. During my undergraduate journey I had at least two exams each semester alongside lots of presentations and written assignments.
Whatever stage you are at on your educational journey there may be many stressors and strains, from meeting deadlines, having exams and general burnout.
For me all my work is clustered together, with an assignment due each week, and I like to spend my time finishing one before I move onto the next, meaning I don’t get much time to finish the rest. Meeting deadlines keeps me in a constant state of panic, although I always ensure my work is submitted on time.
I know myself that I’m not a very organised person, and that I have poor time management skills, so it’s important for me to plan ahead. I make sure I leave myself plenty of time, ensuring I schedule in some self care time as a priority.
As far as planning, I usually start with a general plan, so writing down everything I need to do
[Image: little boxes with exam notes in, with purple arrows to signal the direction of the boxes]
Secondly I make mind maps, they allow me to get everything out of my head and onto paper, that way I can formulate the information into notes at a later date. Mind maps are also great visuals.
[Image: a big colourful mind map with lots of different branches each text box with lots of notes]
As far as exams go I always use the same tips and techniques. Being dyslexic I prefer to use coloured paper, so I use a lavender irlen notebook and flash cards when I’m revising as the colour contrast helps me to keep focused, and the words don’t move around as much.
I also use lots of highlighters, I find they really make my work stand out, allowing me to focus on the main points of my work and the things I need to remember the most.
[Image: an A4 journal article with multiple sections highlighted in pink, blue, pruple and green]
I always use flash cards, as it allows me to cut my notes/information down into small manageable chunks, making sure I included the main points that I need to remember. I have an awful memory, but revising in smaller sessions can really help, and having less notes overall means less reading but ensures I memorise the important bits.
[Image: small flash cards, white paper with blue lines, with a drawn image of a mouse and a pizza with text reading”eating and eating disorders”]
When I’m doing any sort of work I always make sure I take regular breaks or my brain becomes overworked and frazzled. I find I can’t meditate because my mind and thoughts are always buzzing and I can’t seem to switch off. Instead I go for a run, or a walk, a change of scenery and the fresh air of the outdoors, burning off any excess energy so I’m able to go back to my work with fresh eyes and a clear focus.
It’s always good to remember your limits, I spend a couple of hours a day working, then I make sure I do something I enjoy, sort of like a change in dynamics, some well deserved rest and much needed self care to recharge. If I’m over worked I need longer to recover, so lots of rest and a good night’s sleep.
Lastly, mindset. Negative thoughts and anxiety can easily creep in, and sometimes they are overwhelming, this is when I take a break. I identify my emotions but I don’t let them define me, as I know I’m stronger and able to tackle them. Keep a positive mindset, maybe keep an emotion journal, turn the negatives and can’t do’s into well actually I can. It may take me longer to process but I’ll get there at my own pace, and I can do this!