Exams are finally over. I repeat exams are finally OVER. After braving 5 exams, I can finally say I survived exams and can now fully focus on my dissertation. Before I do that, here are some closing thoughts on summer term exams:

1. It’s never too early to revise. I have to admit, I didn’t start revising for some of my later exams until a month before and wish I was more organized and prepared. I would suggest organizing your notes within the term especially for topics you think would be useful for exam. Especially for Michaelmas term courses, revising as soon as Lent term is over is never a bad idea.

2. You know more than you think. I was honestly scared to revise for my courses from Michaelmas term. I thought to myself: How could I remember concepts that I haven’t reviewed since December? Surprisingly, maybe this might not be applicable in other programs, but the concepts from Michaelmas term can be quite useful for your Lent term courses. The overlapping concepts between my courses made it easier to revise and it all started making sense again.

3. Practice your writing. Whether you were lucky like me and had 5 written exams or 1 like some of my course mates, you must practice your writing. Practicing can involve timing yourself and writing past papers or trying to improve your handwriting. I noticed that my writing was very messy towards the last few minutes of exams, so I practiced techniques to space out my writing. To help with my legibility, I went to my local Muji and practiced writing with all of their pens to see which ones I wrote the fastest with. I might sound superstitious, but.

4. Stress never helps before an exam. Before one of my exams, I was stressing out way too much and kept reviewing all of my notes like a maniac. I think I did pretty well, but realized that there’s no point in stressing yourself out right before an exam. I found relaxing and walking around an hour before an exam calming and relaxing. Some people might prefer studying up until you are at the desk, but I suggest doing something that puts you in the right mindset.

5. Stop thinking about past exams. After exams, many people can get into the habit of discussing with their course mates on what they should have, would have, and could have done in the exam. It’s already done, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. As sad as that sounds, you have done all you can do for it and it doesn’t help you (especially if you have other exams moving forward) to beat yourself up over an exam.

We weren’t even done with our exams at the time this picture was taken, but we were just relieved to finish one!

These are my closing thoughts about exams, but everyone has their own opinion about their exam experience. Although I have some reservations about some of the exams being counted as 100 percent of a course grade, exams can push you to do your best work and affirm how much you have learned over the past year. For postgraduate students, depending on your program, the end of exam period signifies that you are almost done with your course and just have a dissertation.

Eric Joseph


Striving to be the poster child for work-life balance.