Question 4: name and discuss…

I think that “name and discuss” and probably also “define” are my least favourite things to see on an exam paper. That and 20 mark questions, those make me start twitching the moment I see them and today’s exam started with one. What sadistic examination writer wrote these?! I mean really. My hand is still all cramped up.

Do exams get easier the more you write or do you forever and always have that crippling anxiety when you sit down? Just me? I hate it. The worst is that feeling that you know everything but you can’t access it. I always dream that I hand in a blank paper.

Maybe it’s worse because I don’t have a full ride? Because paying it myself I’m even more motivated to pass? I mean if I fail a module I’d have to cough up for that module again as you have to pass them all to get your degree, this isn’t like high school where if you fail this term you have another 3 terms to pass it.

While I still freak out and get all anxiety riddled here’s how I prep and manage:

  • Print out old papers. Usually the university gives you a few but I’ve found that you can find a few on as well sometimes (depending on your module).
  • Make answer note cards based on the questions that were asked in past papers. UNISA loves to recycle questions, they’ll throw in a new one now and then or just reword old ones but yeah.
  • In my first two semesters I bought notes from but I’ve found I prefer making my own.
  • I write my notes by hand on notecards. I have tried all the other ways, I’ve tried digital to save paper, I’ve tried writing them out on my iPad. I just can’t seem to get it to stay in my head that way.
  • Get as much sleep as possible the night before.
  • Stop studying at least 2 hours before you are about to right.
  • Take a comfort object – I always have Beastie, they know him already.
  • Get industrial earplugs to block out any noise (shuffling feet, rustling papers etc) and if you don’t have then just use prestik (make sure it’s new and clean).
  • Chew gum (QUIETLY)
  • Take your favourite drink with in a bottle, today I took white hot chocolate with and it was gooooooood.
  • DOUBLE CHECK that you have at least 3 pens, 3 pencils, a ruler, a highlighter, an eraser and a sharper as well your ID, student card and examination paper sheet.
  • And if you really struggle like I do, don’t be ashamed to take that anxiety tablet, they fucking help.

Oh, our car decided yesterday that it’s not going to wait another day so it’s going to not go in today thanks. Taxify to the rescue!!! A friend sent me an invite voucher so I got to travel from the house to the exam hall with only a minor freak-out session.

(not sponsored)

>> <<

Just follow the details and you get R150 off your first trip, they’re cheaper than uber so that actually takes you way further. Also, if you use the voucher code I get a free trip in return and I have another 5 exams to get to so please log on and just take a trip to the shop or around the block for me :P

I’ve found a few things around the internet that are supposed to help with exam stress:

  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Take regular breaks and schedule fun things to look forward to
  • Exercise and get outdoors
  • Meditate
  • Write down everything you feel like you need to do and try and tick one thing off. Just the act of feeling like you are in control of your revision can help.
  • Drink some herbal tea or a hot chocolate.
  • Watch a film, a TV show or listen to a podcast or comedian that makes you laugh.
  • Cut out caffeine, alcohol and nicotine << whoever came up with this one has never been to university before. I will legit come after you with a blunt spoon if you take away my caffeine during exams

How do you handle exam stress?
Any tips you want to share with me and others?