How easy it is to watch one more episode of your favourite show, and how much more difficult is it to start your revision?
The laziness always strikes when it’s time to open your Law books and sit down with your notes! It is a bullet that we have all tried to dodge, until we are left with a few weeks before the exams to catch up with the revision. Often our immediate response to this is to panic! We are often guilty of procrastinating because we feel like it’s not much work, or something we can catch up with later. Then, all of a sudden you have a whole syllabus to catch up with. So then, how can you manage to keep calm during the exam period?
Sebastian Vettel once said ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and it has always stuck with me. The right mindset and willpower are essential to fight lack of motivation, stress and that rush of adrenalin which often translates into anxiety. We stress ourselves out most often because we do not discipline ourselves enough to put the effort in. We do not realise that sometimes it just takes two or three hours in a day to read and understand what we are studying, but we make the mistake of leaving things until it is too late. Completing a self-set daily quota of studying will boost your confidence and automatically help reduce your stress. Below are my tips for taking ownership of the study process.
Wake up early in the morning, clean your desk and grab that coffee or green tea (in my case) and get started! Always keep your study space tidy- it promotes positivity and motivation to study. Create a soothing playlist of music. I listen to instrumental music, mostly jazz. Not only does it provide stress relief but it also helps to focus, kill the stress and anxiety. It might not be for everyone but is definitely worth a shot.
However, sometimes you just feel too lazy to even open that book! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Browsing Pinterest would seldom fail to imbue me with inspiration; whether it is quotes or motivational speaking. Sometimes, I would just organize my desk with all my stationery. I would start by making a list, jotting down what I would study for the day. Remember, one task at a time helps to manage the stress and it tricks the mind into thinking that you are in control of the situation. Probably Jürgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola would tell you the same, they set small, manageable, realistic goals and had a set milestone that they wanted to reach. These are high-level examples, but the bar should almost always be set higher than your reach.
Another pointer would be to manage how you study. It is important to learn what method of studying works best for you. Whilst some of my friends would use multi-coloured ink pens and highlighters to write their notes, others would just skim through some lecture notes and go straight on to the exams.
Group work could be your thing. It is always motivating when you and your friends are all in the same boat. However, none of the above worked for me. I could not master the art of colour-coding everything. Group work was not very helpful as some of my classmates would be very competitive and would not share their slice of knowledge. I have always been a lone wolf behind the desk. I would do my above-mentioned rituals and sit at my desk, stick to a maximum of four colours and prepare my notes.
I followed a simple method: Read the chapter, do some solo brainstorming, and then write it down in my own words. Essentially my method was learning everything by heart. Most concepts would slowly begin to make sense. Once I had retained the essentials, I would take a brief nap of twenty minutes. Studies suggest that a power nap is always good for the memory. It refreshes the brain and body as well as boosts the memory. After that, I would read over my notes twice and then tackle another chapter in another module. While most factors would remain the same for you and your class (lectures, tutorials and exam papers), how you will process all of that to reach the common destination is purely personal. Thus, I would recommend taking a few days off to ‘learn how to learn’, just not a week before exams!
I hope these tips can prove useful for University of London students wherever they are. Remember – getting started is half the battle!
Mokshada studied the LLB via distance learning in Mauritius.