Here’s an official guide to being an academic weapon during Exeter Uni’s exam season

If you’re a first year, this isn’t for you

We’re all dreaming of beach trips, EGB and beer gardens but there’s just one small thing that stands in our way – exams. With the deadlines filling up in term two it feels mean, almost cruel, that Exeter students are forced to revise over the Easter holiday (I won’t blame you if you’ve done anything but revision). While we can’t make exams go away or make them any easier, we can give you a few tips on being an academic weapon this exam season. If, unlike most of my housemates, your exams last until the end of May, you’re going to need some way of feeling productive whilst you convince yourself that you’d much rather be working hard in the Forum than at the beach. I’d rather be sat on the Cathedral Green than in the library but hey, let’s all pretend together.

1. Find the study spot that works for you

I would love to tell you that every study spot is available to you right now but I’d be lying. Unless you’re super keen (or super behind) and are on campus at 8am, then it’s unlikely that you’ll get first pick of the best seats, desks or even those cool booth things. But don’t despair! There’s definitely somewhere for everyone and you’ll learn where you really work best during exam season. A personal favourite of mine is The Loft but DH1 is also a nice environment to work in. Props to anyone that can hack the law library – overhearing first years yap about how these exams don’t even count just isn’t for me (we’ve all been there and secretly we’re all really jealous of them).

Top tip: Make use of St Luke’s campus if you live near there or fancy somewhere new to study. Wherever you choose to work, make sure to try and vary spots to avoid boredom, stay ultra productive and be a true academic weapon this exam season.

2. Coffee

I know it’s overpriced. Believe me, it hurts every time I tap my card in Pret but there’s something about an iced coffee that just makes you feel put together. Whether you’re using it as motivation to take a break, or prefer to work sipping away, coffee is definitely something I recommend whilst studying. Be careful not to overdo it on the caffeine though – no matter how tired you think you are, the Monster really isn’t worth trying to format MLA referencing at 2am with your skin crawling and hands shaking (this is not a true story).

3. Take a break

Every academic weapon has a day (or a few) off studying. I can promise you that you will not produce your best work if you’re working every single hour of the day. Enjoy the sun when we get it and remind yourself why you’re working hard. I don’t know about you but I’m thinking of that long summer and resits really don’t play a part in that vision. Visit Exmouth for the day and go for a swim if you’re feeling brave enough – cold water is apparently good for productivity. Don’t ask me to prove that, I’m an English student not a scientist.

4. Go on a mental health walk

Mental health walk or hot girl walk? Nobody will know the difference, so go and strut your stuff around Reed Hall. Exam stress can get too much for everyone so it’s important to stay level headed and keep things in proportion. A walk is always helpful for this. I don’t want to be the person who patronisingly tells you to “just smile” when you’re stressed, but the fresh air and space to think really is good for you. The gardens around Reed Hall are a very pretty location for a stress walk and you’ll probably find other students doing the same – maybe you’ll even muster the energy to smile at each other through the pain.

5. Lay off TP

A night out is good but is it that good? Are some Venoms and unwanted attention really worth the panic that will set in the next day when you wake up at 3pm realising that, with half the day already gone, you’re 17 lectures behind with no content revised and the exam is in two days? TP will still be there after your exam and the post-exam celebratory night out will most certainly be better than the guilty night out followed by new levels of hangxiety in the morning. I’m not saying boycott TP and if you see me in there during May, no you didn’t, but maybe take it easy on clubbing until you’re done with exams. It’s up to you but if you really want to be an academic weapon, then you’ve got to make these sacrifices.

6. Buy yourself some flowers

It’s a simple one but a nice bunch of flowers really brighten up a room. Not only will you have a pretty backdrop for all the BeReals of you working hard (to remind everyone of the academic weapon you are) but you’ll feel put together. Self care is necessary around exam time and you won’t even have to break the bank – tulips are a good option to keep the cost low.

7. Get a takeaway

If you wanted budgeting advice you’ve come to the wrong place. A takeaway now and again never hurt anyone and think of all the money you’ll save on Venoms (see point five). Sometimes when you’ve spent all day slogging away in the library, cooking feels like the LAST thing you want to do. It always seems to be at these points that Deliveroo conveniently sends you a notification tempting you to spend all your student loan solely on food. But would it really be that bad if you caved into capitalism this once and ordered that meal you’ve been craving? Even better, if you find yourself studying in the library much later than you expected, the Ram does takeaway food so you can take your curly fries back to your desk and continue powering through that revision. We can’t be money-savvy, model students all the time, so give yourself a break. For the record, I am not responsible if you find yourself in your overdraft.

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