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11 tips to be precise…

Preparing for exams can be a difficult process at the best of times, let alone in the current lockdown conditions. To try and help navigate these exceptional circumstances, we’ve put together some tips on how to prepare for your upcoming alternative assessments and to look after yourself whilst studying remotely. 

1. Establish a routine

Studying at home often means that the boundaries between your work and your free time can become blurred. Creating a daily routine can help achieve a healthy work-life balance. Make sure to keep to regular work and sleep patterns, and set out blocks for revision at times when you work most productively.

2. Be organised

Taking the time to plan your revision in advance is hugely valuable and will help you feel less overwhelmed about your workload. Make sure to create a revision timetable and set realistic targets and goals. Remember to schedule in regular study breaks too!

3. Set achievable goals

The current circumstances are incredibly strange and studying remotely will not be easy for everyone. So it’s important to recognise that you might not be as productive as usual when preparing for your exams. You should be mindful of this when setting goals, and remember to not get annoyed with yourself if you struggle at times with your revision. 

4. Find the right place

Finding a space where you are comfortable and can focus makes a huge difference to your exam preparation. When working from home, it may be helpful to create a dedicated workspace - somewhere which is quiet and preferably where you can work at a table or a desk. If there is any way for you to sit close to a window and some natural light, that’s a bonus.

5. Take breaks 

Make sure to take short frequent breaks during your revision sessions. Stepping away from your desk and taking your mind off your studies will refresh your brain and allow you to refocus when returning to your work.

6. Exercise

Think about how you can incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Government guidelines permit one form of exercise outside of the house per day, but you might want to think about how you could exercise inside or in the garden. For example, you could join an online class provided by our Project Active team.

Find an online class here

7. Focus on your mental wellbeing

Make sure to look after your mental wellbeing at this time. If you are finding the news or social media stressful, think about switching off or limiting what you look at for a while. If you need some help relaxing, you could take part in UCL’s 10 Minute Mind series of daily mindfulness exercises. We’ve also created a page for Mental Health and Wellbeing support, where you can find lots of useful advice and tips on how to look after yourself. 

8. Look after your sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential for our emotional wellbeing and physical health. Try to keep to your usual sleep routine, and make sure you establish a cut-off time for your studies to give yourself some time to relax before bed. You might want to create a bedtime ritual, such as reading a book or taking a bath, that will prepare your body and mind for sleep.

9. Stay connected 

It is totally normal to feel lonely during this long period of isolation. It is therefore important to remember to stay in touch with friends and family, perhaps via video call for some online face-to-face interaction. You may also want to join the Students’ Union Facebook community page, where you can share revision tips, find study partners and check in with what digital activities are being offered by our clubs and societies.

10. Speak to someone

If you are struggling with some pre-exam stress or finding it difficult to work remotely, speak to someone about it. UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing team is on hand to offer support, as is the telephone and online counselling service Care First. If for any reason you feel that you need to submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim, you can contact the Advice Service to discuss how to do this.

11. Stay positive

Whilst preparing for exams at the moment may feel difficult and strange, approaching your revision with confidence and a positive mental attitude will make a world of difference. Make sure to be realistic with your expectations and reward yourself for your hard work.