Exam Stress

So, the last few weeks have been pretty busy and hectic, with exams, new jobs and moving house, how do you find the right balance?

Firstly, I had my first year LLB exams to sit throughout the beginning of May, but which is the best way to revise? I’ve not stopped doing exams since 2005 with GCSEs, A Levels, ILEX and LLB exams, you would think that I have a revision technique down to a T and for me to share it would be gold-dust. Wrong, I’m shockingly bad at revising, and really don’t know how to revise.

Revision for me consists of a cramming session coupled with a few all-nighters, lots of caffeine intake, resulting in heart palpations and withdrawal symptoms when I try to come off the caffeine, and lots of junk food. With probable minimal revision as I find myself too easily distracted by what’s going on online, and I will have a cleaning frenzy and find myself doing anything else just to avoid revision. I even started this blog during my revision period so what does that tell you?

We are always given lots of different techniques, tips and guidance on how to revise, mainly consisting of;

“be in a quiet environment”

“keep yourself away from any distractions”

“make sure you create a timetable and stick to it”

“don’t over-do it and take regular breaks”

I really don’t think I do any of those tips stated above, I start out with the best intentions and say to myself, this time I will create a timetable and stick to it. For example, my Contract Law exam was open-book, now considering I had already done Contract exams for ILEX, throughout the year I slacked, a lot! I had poor notes and not many of them, and so I was in a bit of a bind and I needed to have all my notes up-to date. Seeing as I wasn’t working at the time, I said to myself “I will do one workshop a day (18 all together just for contract)”, consisting of at least 50 pages of reading, a podcast and a powerpoint. I did take my Contract book on holiday with me – I did do revision on holiday, but approximately two workshops over that holiday.


(Me on the plane revising – April 2012)

Coming back off my holiday, and recovering from a bout of shingles, I found myself slipping back into that routine of not doing much revision, finding anything I could do to distract myself; catching up on all my TV I had missed and even getting ahead with Gossip Girl and 90210 until I found I had watched the whole season and I had now lost my “reward” for after my revision and exams, I found myself cleaning and packing, house-hunting. I personally think that exam season must be Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite time of the year, as surely that’s when he finds himself with the highest intake of revenue? – The amount of fellow students statuses about revising were in an abundance.

Luckily, my first exam was a “seen” exam paper, my chosen topics being; Prostitution and Torture and Terrorism (I may even let you read my essays at some point), and I was going into that exam quite confident as I had written both essays, I had done well on my coursework, I just had to learn my two essays, which of course I left until the last minute. My Torture and Terrorism essay had been prepared weeks in advance, my Prostitution essay written two nights before, so when I say I left learning them until last minute, I mean literally it was last minute. I was sat in the uni library an hour before the exam when I realised I hadn’t even looked at my first essay since I had written it, and now I had an hour to try and memorise approximately 2,000 words with 10 quotes. Eek!

My second exam, was my contract exam, as mentioned previously this was open book, so I was allowed my notes in the exam and we knew to choose 3 subjects to learn. Seeing as I hadn’t completed all the workshops, I chose to concentrate on three. Here was my first all-night session before an exam and a quick addiction to caffeine resulting in heart palpation’s and withdrawal symptoms when not needing the intake. Personally, I have a bit of a Diet-coke addiction anyway, but this was requiring the likes of Red bull or Monster as the Diet coke just wouldn’t cut it.

2 all night sessions later, I sat my exam, and felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, no time to relax though – my Tort exam was 2 days later. Here, my predicament…Being a Manchester City fan, the last game of the season being the biggest in our history, I was torn between watching the game or revising. I had good intentions, I’d banned myself from actually going to the game and I was on a roll with trespass to the person and defamation. I was doing well, until, well, the second half started and I was hooked to that TV screen. Anyone who watched that game and is a City fan can understand the feelings and emotions that I must have been exhibiting, a large amount of profanities, tears of sadness and disappointment. Then during the 5 minutes of extra time at the end, flicking between the United game and ours, seeing that they had won and we were drawing I was in turmoil, but alas, 36seconds later, I think it was, Aguero scored our winning goal and we were crowned champions of England! Well, the adrenalin I was feeling after that time, there was no way I was able to do any revision.

I think it’s safe to say that I manage to contradict what the fail-safe tips of revision are. I pull all-nighters, I distract myself and I don’t work in a quiet environment. But, I find I work better under pressure and knowing there is a tight deadline, I like that feeling of stress and panic, thinking I’m not going to get the work done – I strive on it! Not everyone is the same, or works in the same way. I have learnt to be more organised and that going forward in September not to leave it to last minute, complete the work each week so that I am “on-top” of it all. I seem to have managed okay so far (well a few resits later for ILEX, in fact I have one next week), but who can say that’s down to my revision technique when I also work full-time and most students revising wouldn’t also have a full-time job. I say to do what works for you. If it isn’t broken then why fix it?

The jury is still out as to whether or not the way I revise, with my cramming sessions is the best way for me, I have never revised a different way, I appear to be doing well so far and have learnt to manage the stress, even if it means people just shouldn’t speak to me for two weeks when I have an exam coming up, through fear of having their head’s bitten off!

On that note, perhaps I should crack on with my Land Law revision for next week’s exam…



P.S – I still haven’t been back to the gym after saying I would do, I swear I will do! I move house tomorrow so that’s kind of like a workout, It is 3 flights of stairs I’ll have to carry boxes up!


About ambaroyle

Full time LJMU Law student. View all posts by ambaroyle

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