The closure of university campuses up and down the country leaves students having to revise for summer-term exams from their homes, without access to campus resources. Newcastle University is no exception! The Guardian states that 85% of UK students are now working a la casa and therefore need to find new and effective ways to study and reach their potential.
But without access to our beloved Robbo and other popular study spaces around campus, how can we efficiently revise? Pre-lockdown, I alternated my revision spaces between the Robbo’s ‘silent space’ and relaxed study at Café Nero in Eldon Square. But revision in a family home has been twice as hard for me.
Before finding out about changes to the summer exam season, many students had neglected their revision and preparation due to the uncertainty and stresses of the Covid-19 lockdown (I was definitely one of these people). So, when finding out the new format of my summer exams, I most certainly had to make changes to the way I was (hardly) working.
The first change I made was gaining some self-motivation! This step was the hardest and will be different for everyone, but you should ask yourself: “what is it that motivated me for past exams?”.
Once this is achieved, though, it is a skill for life. After all, there seems to be no better time to develop life skills than now with no other distractions!
Finding this self-motivation can be hard; it requires finding out about your most efficient routines and being in touch with your emotions. Once this is achieved, though, it is a skill for life. After all, there seems to be no better time to develop life skills than now with no other distractions!
Having regained my motivation, I knew that I needed to get into a daily routine that was similar to how my exam routine would be if we were still studying and living near the university campus. This will help you make the most of your day and to keep life as ‘normal’ as possible. I feel as though having a strict routine may not work in your favour – a more relaxed approach allows for changes throughout the day.
With this in mind, while my days are not strictly structure, I like to make sure that I am getting out of bed at a ‘reasonable’ time and not going to bed after 12am. By acquiring this positive sleeping pattern, I have been able to be flexible with how I spend the hours in my day. Making sure to get washed and dressed before breakfast has meant I am implementing aspects of my ‘normal’ Newcastle routine. By doing this, you allow yourself to feel as ‘normal’ as possible.
Not being too strict on yourself also means that you can set yourself realistic goals that you can feel proud of, whilst allowing yourself rewards too. For me, this is having a 20 minute break to watch an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S!
If you are someone who enjoys working in spaces other than your uni room, then making sure your desk is clear of any unnecessary distractions is a great way to replicate the clear desks of the Robbo.
I have also resorted to splitting up my available locations. My bedroom is my silent study space as I can close to door and have no distractions, meaning I can focus and work more productively – almost as if I were in the library. If you are someone who enjoys working in spaces other than your uni room, then making sure your desk is clear of any unnecessary distractions is a great way to replicate the clear desks of the Robbo.
My garden substitutes for the coffee shop scene, especially with the lovely weather we have had recently. My family have been chatting outside and I can hear my neighbours over the fence! If you are someone who enjoys working with a very slight background noise and you have the ability to work outside, then this may be the solution for you! You could even take a coffee or your favourite coffee shop beverage outside with you, while enjoying some fresh air.
Not knowing where to begin when trying to prepare for the summer exams may seem daunting at first. But by trying to emulate as much of your ‘normal’ routine as possible, you will trick your brain into thinking you are in your optimum study space!
Last modified: 6th May 2020