It isn't ALL bad: The ten best things about exam season

You'd never pretend that exams are fun, but that doesn't mean that the entire process has to be horrible

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The Independent Online

Exam season is never going to be fun. Two weeks of exams plus numerous weeks (or days) of revision and preparation interrupt an otherwise great university year. No doubt, your Facebook newsfeed is filled with club night photos of friends at other universities who are exam-free.

There they are on a Monday, Jagerbombs in hand, pouting at the camera like ducks and generally being social. In fact, thanks to social media, if you’re a hermit reviser, you’ve probably forgotten what three dimensional people look like and instead developed an unhealthy bond mid-afternoon radio DJs. Hardly fair is it?

So when revision is really starting to get you down, just remember it’s not all bad news. Exams are never going to be fun, but there are some benefits to the revision period that you might not have taken the time to appreciate. With all the going out and having fun that isn’t happening, you’ll certainly get a lot of sleep. Better still, you’ll have a full stocked cupboard of treats – no one can revise like a machine on an empty stomach. Pretty soon, you’ll have to start talking to people again, and communicating with your housemate in the next room via IM will no longer be acceptable, so try to enjoy the benefits of not having to leave the house while it lasts.   

Opportunity to save money for summer.

It’s going to be a dramatic two weeks devoid of joy. You can’t justify a night out on the town to blow off some steam when there are growing mountains of notes, or worse, a tower of un-read library books stacked on the shelf where your empty vodka bottle collection used to live. Your one distant glimmer of hope is summer, and now is the perfect time to start a holiday fund. With all the money you’ll be saving on drinks, takeaways and taxis home, you’ll soon need a bigger piggy bank.

House is impeccably clean as everyone tidies to avoid revision

Cleaning isn’t fun. That’s the reason why your student house has that lingering damp scent you try to mask with the most pungent incense sticks on the market. As it turns out, revising for exams is even less fun, and we’ll do anything to avoid it. Enjoy the vast array of clean mugs available to choose from, because pretty soon you’ll be back to reusing them five times so you can avoid the washing up.

You can justify eating too much - it's all "brain food"

Anyone who decided to make a New Year’s resolution involving healthy eating around exam time is either highly deluded or depriving themselves. During revision, no one expects you to go to the gym or prepare a salad for lunch, because that won’t keep you focused through the 3pm slump. Instead, raid the supermarket shelves for all the baked goods you can find – you’ll need these when the early hours cramming session hits an emotional level. After all, it’s all brain food.

You can buy yourself end-of-exams presents

Did Santa not bring you an Xbox One? Well your student loan probably won’t cover that one, but surviving exam season is certainly worthy of a treat of some kind. If you’ve got bursting virtual shopping baskets at various online retailers thanks to a dire case of procrastination, now is the time to splash out - you’ve worked hard, you deserve it.

You can get into a normal sleeping pattern

Who knew it was dark at 7.30am in January? You’re right, it should be made illegal to have to set an alarm for an hour that isn’t in double figures. However, if you want a seat in the library today you will have to liberate yourself from your duvet cocoon and stagger to your nearest coffee establishment like the rest of humanity. The benefits of returning to the GMT time zone include not struggling to make it to the supermarket before it closes on a Sunday.

Tea and biscuit breaks

Whether you revise best in the library or at home, it’s always important to take regular breaks. Revision period isn’t a time for poor quality snacks, so treat yourself to some proper crisps and biscuits (maybe even branded ones) and take a 20-minute tea break with your friends to have a chat about how many journal articles you haven’t read.

You can justify being lazy about your appearance

You can always tell who is actually working hard around exam time. Their hair is lacklustre and limp, while sleep deprivation has led to some serious excess baggage beneath their eyes. It’s perfectly justifiable to shove your hair into a bun and wear a garish, yet cosy jumper, because if you don’t look like the walking dead, you’re not working hard enough.

Takeaway night

After a long day of revising, no one can be bothered to cook a balanced meal. Instead, as exams are in full swing, have a takeaway night with your housemates. Order everything (including a potentially dodgy dessert from the menu), put on a film and unwind. The energy boost might even keep you working later into the evening.

You can finally use all your fancy stationary

One of the most productive ways to avoid revision is to spend an afternoon organising your lecture notes. The best bit of the fun is the opportunity to use all those rainbow page markers and highlighters. When housemates see your desk they’ll see that you’re really on top of things.

You can make playlists for post-exams pre-drinks

There are very few opportunities for entertainment during this difficult time, but a bit of background noise to drown out your neighbours’ house music is always necessary. Revision week is a great time to source some new music to feature on your end of exams night out playlist. Plus, the promise of socialising in the near future should give you the motivation to make a cup of tea and power through.