With the exam season underway, Alex Drayne offers his advice on last-minute revision.
Last year I got 101% in my worst exam, if you include correctly answering my name and candidate number. I’m always surrounded by hordes of nervous freshers asking for exam advice, so this year I’ve decided to put all of my revision tips into one handy guide. You’re welcome.
1) Revision can be dull, but there are always things you can do to make it more interesting. Personally, I like to revise with friends. My friends are a team of impoverished Cambodian children that I pay 65p an hour to make beautifully handwritten notes for me in conditions recently described by Amnesty International as “worse than a sweatshop,” but I don’t think that’s a detail we need to worry about.
2) Variation is key. Don’t just sit in a library staring at a page – try to recreate the high pressure environment of the exam. This year I have taken to doing past papers in Wetherspoons on a Saturday night, whilst my friends walk around telling large bald men that I’ve been looking at their girlfriends funny. I’ve tried other types of adrenaline rushes before, such as having more than six people in my room without filling in a party form with the Dean, but this one works best for me.
3) It’s important to get regular exercise, but that doesn’t mean you should stop revising. On some mornings, I implement my “row-vising” strategy and ask the cox of my boat to yell quick-fire questions at me instead of directions. Yes, we’ve crashed into the bank five times and decapitated a family of ducklings following this strategy, but it’s been worth it to perfect my knowledge of particle theory.
4) Eating is no excuse for slacking. Whilst other people waste time at the buttery, I write timed essays with my Alphabetti Spaghetti. It’s not weird. People say the stress has been getting to me, just because last week I attacked a potato smiley face for looking too happy. They can think what they like – that spud ain’t smiling any more.
5) I can’t stress enough how important it is to schedule relaxation time into your day. One of my favourite things to do to unwind is to take a bubble bath. I used to consider this a waste of time, but then one day I discovered I could laminate my notes and take them with me.
6) If all else fails, you can make yourself feel better by reminding everyone else they’ve done less revision than you. But don’t just say that to them. Try sending them a letter, getting a face tattoo which reads ‘first’, or writing it on the walls of Senate House. Make sure they get the message.
If some of this has sounded overly aggressive, I apologise. The truth is, doing well in exams isn’t about being a compulsive workaholic bordering on the psychotic. It’s about being more of a compulsive workaholic bordering on the psychotic than everyone else!