Don't panic!

Image credit: Moyan Brenn

Easter term is about to start and for most students that means exams. Even though the greater part of the examination sessions will take place at the end of the term, there are some during the so-called Week 0. In this latter case, Easter break plays a key role in revising and getting ready for the exams. I am one of those students who are going to sit examinations as soon as they go back to Cambridge. There is for sure a positive side: once the exams are over, I will be able to enjoy the rest of the term, which hopefully will not be characterized by the typical density of Lent term, without the pressure of examinations. On the other hand, though, all the revising work is up to me, as it is for many students who are about to sit exams soon. It means, in brief, that I will not get the support of revision classes and exam-focused supervisions. Moreover, being a first year student, I can count on no experience of university examinations – in this case college mock exams in January were revealed to be of capital importance.

Yet the vacation offers the possibility of working without the stress of deadlines and allowed me to plan my work around what I deem to be really worth revising. To be honest, this Easter revising session is giving me the occasion to explore my subject more freely, focusing on what I like the most in the big mess of topics, modules and texts studied in the last two terms. This kind of study filled me with even more enthusiasm with what I am doing at university. However, it is rather easy to get distracted by something which is not related to the exams and if we talk about distractions the word ‘holidays’ assumes a meaning which should not be overlooked. Like most students, I am spending my vacation at home with relatives and good old friends. Also, being away from Cambridge means no access to libraries (iDiscover has not the smell of paper and ink) and other places in which one felt to be rather productive in the past terms.

Hopefully other students will get support from revision classes and supervisions, which should not be affected if the strike goes on. However, the phantom of unpleasant disturbances due to protest actions is still present. The strike caused sensible consequences during Lent term: many lectures have been cancelled, picket lines around Faculties and other University buildings have dissuaded students from entering the sites. Most people, including me, have felt the importance of not undermining the protest: many took part in actions and plenty wrote complaints to the Vice-Chancellor.

Anyway, both for those about to sit the exams and for those who have a bit more time, my advice would be to spend the few days left before examinations trying to keep your calmness and lucidity. I believe that the greatwe part of our preparation comes from what we have been doing so far during Michaelmas and Lent. If you have had a constant rhythm in your studies, then there’s no need to rush now. It is not good to stiffen the brain with countless notions, rather, it would be better to keep the mind fresh and psychologically ready. Maybe, at some point, a couple of hours out with friends could determine a better result than a desperate last minute study-session.           

 

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