In a recent post, I mentioned a few revision tips from the LSE Student Counselling Service’s Exam Stress Management Tips leaflet. Now, using that same leaflet, I’m going to talk about a few of their suggested tips (with a little of my own advice) for when you’re actually taking an exam. Here they are:
1. Don’t try to learn new material the day of the exam
The leaflet suggests reviewing key points before entering your exam rather than actually learning new material the day of. It’s much better to time your studies well ahead of time, get sufficient sleep the night before, eat a healthy breakfast, and review key material right before an exam. The alternative (staying up all night, skipping breakfast, and learning material right before the exam) is less effective, more stressful, and unhealthy.
2. Make sure you understand the question, and answer it however works for you.
This seems obvious, but it’s incredibly important to make sure you understand the question before you start to answer anything. Make sure that everything you write is supporting your response to the question asked (if it’s not, you’re wasting valuable time), and try and find out what kind of planning works best for you ahead of time. For some people, writing out an outline as soon as you get the question is helpful, whereas for other, it’s helpful to just write as you think. Take some practice exams ahead of time to figure out what’s best for you.
This is a lot easier said than done, but make sure you’re doing everything you can to remain relaxed. If that means treating yourself to a good breakfast before the exam or taking deep breaths throughout the exam, be sure to do those things. All the little things help. One of the best suggestions in the leaflet is to avoid perfectionism. If you know what you’re talking about and you’ve got a lot of great information, try not to worry too much about other less important things (like confusing punctuation). Just know the material, get it on the paper, and try and keep calm.
4. Do something fun after!
For some people, this was already a plan. For others, looking over revision notes, stressing about wrong answers, and discussing exam stress with friends is more likely. While it may be tempting to dwell on stress, try and do something fun afterwards. Go out with friends, watch your favorite show, go to sleep early… anything that’s not going to perpetuate stress. If you’ve got an exam the next day, you might not have that luxury, but at least reward yourself with something small. Keep in mind that exam season is temporary and your wellbeing is not!
For more tips, read the Exam Stress Management Tips leaflet from the LSE Student Counselling Service, or check out these sites for more basic relaxing ideas during revision:
How to Relax Before a Final Exam in College (WikiHow)
How to Relax Before Final Exams (eHow)
Today’s Eat Well Day was a delicious success! For more information and details about de-stressing events, healthy snack ideas, revision tips, mental health advice, and much more, check out content from our LSEWellbeing campaign.
You might be feeling the revision crunch just about now. This is precisely the time when you should be extra careful about what you eat and drink. Make sure you keep hydrated during those all important study sessions by drinking plenty of water and substitute crisps and chocolates for healthier snacks like nuts or berries. Smoothies are also a great way to get lots of vitamins and minerals into your diet!
Join us on Wednesday (14th May) outside SAW from 12pm for Eat Well Day - pick up some free fruit and veg, a healthy ‘brain food’ snack bag AND blitz your own smoothie as part of #LSEWellbeing! Who knows… the LSE Beaver might even make a smoothie for you!
It’s extremely important to take care of yourself, and that can be harder to think about when you’re mostly focused on exams, revision, and your dissertation. There’s no need to worry though, because there are lots of resources available to you if you are struggling, and we highly recommend taking advantage of them.
The LSE Student Counselling Service is an incredible resource. It provides appointments and drop-ins with counsellors, It also offers a variety of workshops each term, including a group on Exam Stress Management that will begin meeting on Thursday 1 May from 11am-1pm (email email@example.com to reserve a space) and a Revise & Destress workshop, scheduled for Wednesday 7 May, 2-4pm in CLM G.02. The upcoming workshops are listed on their home page, and they are definitely worth looking into.
To make appointments with counsellors, fill out a registration form and send it to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the office at KSW.507 between 9:45am and 5pm to make an appointment or contact the office. Otherwise, drop in sessions begin at 3pm Monday-Friday, last 20 minutes, and can be be booked from 2:45pm onwards each day. You can read more about drop in sessions here.
If you are interested in visiting the LSE Student Counselling Service, check out their website and read through the different tabs for more detailed information. They’ve also got an excellent page on resources for further help if you’re looking for other services.
Another great resource is the Peer Support programme. Peer supporters are based in based in Passfield Hall, Carr Saunders Hall, Bankside, High Holborn, Northumberland House and Roseberry Hall, and are accessible personally by email or by contacting email@example.com. They handle a wide variety of student concerns, including exam anxiety, mental health and financial concerns. Consider getting in contact with one of the Peer Supporters if you might be more comfortable speaking with a peer.
For more advice, check out this blog post on a few stress management techniques or this Relaxation Tips to Relieve Stress article from the NHS website. For help with course work, check out the Teaching and Learning Centre and this recent post on what it has to offer.
From rowing to rock climbing, you’ve probably seen some of the weird and wonderful exercise activities that we’ve put on as part of #LSEWellBeing. But don’t worry if you haven’t had a chance to get involved because there is plenty more planned for the next couple of weeks.
Tomorrow - Wednesday 7th - we have a number of activities planned to de-stress you such as FREE neck and shoulder massages, BREAK OR BUST art therapy drop-ins, and fun freebies to give away. And next Wednesday, you can look forward to our Eat-Well day where you can come and try out our brand new LSESU SMOOTHIE BIKE and look out for the healthier food options in the School and SU catering outlets.
We know that this is the hardest and most stressful time of the year but for the sake of your wellbeing (and effectiveness in exams!), don’t forget to exercise, de-stress and eat well too!
We hope to see you at lots of fun event over the next couple of weeks!
Join us outside the new SU building (SAW) for an afternoon of activity with our free #LSEWellbeing Rock Climbing Wall!
It will get you away from your books and help you keep active, getting the blood pumping ready for an afternoon studying.
I personally find it difficult to do anything that requires I remain inside once it starts to get warm out. After spending so much time indoors this winter, avoiding the sun is the last thing I want to do. Luckily, there are quite a few outdoors activities available to you now that it’s spring, ranging from renting a bike to pedal boating. Here are just a few ideas to consider:
1. Try roller blading in one of the Royal Parks or Green Spaces
Hyde Park specifically mentions roller blading as one of the sports it allows, and there are quite a few opportunities to rent roller blades to take part in the activity. If you’ll be here in August, you can sign up for a course through Citiskate, but if you’re looking for things to do now, check out a few different skate rental places around the city. A quick google search revealed that Slick Willies rents roller skates for about £10 a day, with varying options for length of rental or full-on purchase. They are open Monday-Saturday from 10am-6:30pm, and Sunday from 12-5pm, and they are located at 12 Gloucester Road, London SW7 4RB. The closest tube stops are Gloucester Road and HIgh Street Kensington, just a few blocks away from Hyde Park. Here’s a list of skating tips from TimeOut London for reference.
2. Rent bikes from the Barclays Cycle Hire
You’ve definitely seen the cycles for hire around the city by now- they’re impossible to miss. Renting one and taking it for a spin around the city is a great way to exercise and experience London in a different way. On top of that, it’s also a great way to spend some quality time outside. For reasonable prices, you can rent a bike by the hour and take it to a local park. Or if you’re quite good at navigating traffic, taking a ride through the city might be a nice option. Check out this article on How to Cycle in London for safety tips and more information.
3. Boat on the Serpentine
Last time I visited Hyde Park, I noticed a bunch of pedal boats on the Serpentine. The pedal boats are available to rent at £12 per hour (or £10 for 30 minutes). It looked like it could fit about four people (that would be £2.50 a person if you’re in a group of four), so it’s a reasonably priced healthy activity. On top of being healthy and inexpensive, you’re also getting some sun, which is always nice.
4. Take a walking tour
I mentioned this in an earlier post, but now is a great time to take a walking tour of the city. There are quite a few tours available, and it’s a great idea for a break from revision. It’s also a good idea to get to know the city a bit if you’re like me and you’re about to leave in a few months. There’s no time like the present! Here are a few links to take a look at if you’re interested in taking a walking tour:
I recently came across a really great leaflet from the LSE Student Counselling Service called Exam Stress Management Tips. Since the advice it offers is so fantastic, I decided to break it down a bit and add a bit of my own take on it. Exam season is so stressful, and it’s really important to take care of yourself and organize your time in the most effective way. Here are a few tips to keep you as stress-free and prepared as possible.
1. Schedule your time wisely
Instead of waiting until the last minute, be sure to schedule your time wisely. You’ve got quite a few weeks to study for exams (depending on your programme, of course), so if you start now, you’re already doing yourself a favor. Nothing scream “stress” like a last minute all-nighter before an exam because you failed to prepare ahead of time. Try to make a (realistic!!) list of days and times you intend to study for specific subjects, and make sure it includes some breaks and time for relaxing. If the schedule is balanced and you can stick to what you’ve planned, you’ll thank yourself later.
2. Get motivated
I find it incredibly difficult to get things done without the pressure of a looming deadline. When I have something due in a few weeks, it’s hard to get myself going on it unless I’ve set a positive reward at the end (that is, aside from having a completed paper). In an effort to motivate myself, I’ve started rewarding finished work with a trip to a park or a television show. It may seem a bit silly, but it’s might work for you if you try it out. Warning: this system requires lots of self-control. The leaflet specifically recommends a system of rewards for achieved goals, beginning with the more interesting subjects, establishing a routine, and reminding yourself why you’re here in the first place- for the qualification!
3. Learn actively
The handout emphasizes the importance of revising in a meaningful way. This requires taking notes, testing yourself on the material as you write and revise, and creating helpful reminders for use during your exams. Highlighting all the important sentences and taking basic notes can be helpful, but they’re not going to take you to the next step of actually understanding the material.
I mentioned this in a few other posts, but sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. When you’re stressed out and you’ve got a ton of stuff to do, it’s easier to eliminate sleep than it is to eliminate a few hours of studying or a meal. That makes it pretty tempting to skip out on a few hours of sleep in favor of doing some last minute revising. While this might be helpful in some ways (I’ve done it many times), it’s detrimental to your overall health, and it’s not going to help you the next day during your exam when you can’t keep your eyes open. Check out this post on the importance of sleep for more information.
That’s all for now, but stay tuned for tips for the day of an exam, ranging from how to deal with last minute panic and how best to get comfortable. Good luck revising!
It’s really hard to eat healthy, particularly when unhealthy foods are so cheap and frequently discounted. But I promise you, you’ll feel a lot better if you make some simple snack replacements in your diet. You’ll thank yourself later when you’ve gotten a bunch of work done, your stomach is satisfied, and your energy levels haven’t crashed. Here are a few of my personal favorite snack replacements ideas from a really great Buzzfeed article I recently came across.
1. Swap your sodium-filled Pret wrap with “Banana Dog Bites”
Don’t get me wrong, Pret isn’t as bad as a lot of other prepared foods, but it’s not all that healthy either. If you’re just looking for a snack, try putting some peanut butter on a whole wheat wrap and putting a banana in the middle. On top of being a cute, easy snack, it’s also bound to be delicious. And I’m not just saying that because I’m kind of obsessed with peanut butter.
2. Instead of that tub of ice cream, make a delicious yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
Ice cream is pretty tempting, especially now that it’s getting warmer, but there are lots of other foods to enjoy that will keep you feeling refreshed. Try mixing some low-fat yogurt with fresh fruits and granola bits. The recipe recommends also adding agave nectar, but you can make the parfait without it to cut costs and keep it healthier. All of the ingredients should be available at your local grocery store, and you’ll probably end up with enough materials to make it several times. To cut costs even more, try buying frozen fruits to mix with your fresh yogurt.
3. Switch any form of chocolate with “Nutella Energy Bites”
Chocolate is super hard to resist, but you don’t necessarily have to avoid it entirely when it’s featured in so many healthy(ish) snacks. The ingredient list for this delicious dish is a little complicated, and it requires a food processor (sorry!) but it could be a great thing to do on a study break! If this is a little too complicated, remember what I said about dark chocolate in my last post (it’s not really so horrible).
4. Avoid that bag of ultra processed crisps and prepare some crisp vegetables with creamy hummus dip
When I was first introduced to hummus, I was a little skeptical. I’ve since decided it’s not so bad, but I know a lot of people who really enjoy it, and it’s definitely a very creamy, rich dip. You can get it for fairly cheap at the supermarket, and a lot of times at least one of the brands is discounted. Next time you’re craving crisps, try and grab a bit of hummus and some vegetables instead. You’ll find that it’s really satisfying and it won’t make you feel awful about yourself. To cut costs, try buying a bunch of celery and/or some whole carrots. It takes very little time to prepare the vegetables for dipping instead of buying them precut, so you’ll save money with fairly little effort.
Here’s my last blog post for more ideas:
Studying? Reach for Healthy Foods, Not Crisps (blog)
And check out the original article for this post here:
17 Power Snacks for Studying (Buzzfeed)
*All images in this post are from the above article
Below are 10 reasons why I think everyone should be drinking green smoothies. It’s my hope you join the green smoothie lifestyle to fuel your body with nutritious foods so you feel better every day.
This is obviously not me.
Now that Summer term is approaching and some of our budgets are wearing thin, it’s probably a good time to start thinking a bit more closely about budgeting to get through the rest of the academic year. I’ve done a bit of searching for you with help from MoneySavingExpert and my own experience, so here’s a quick list of tips to consider if you’ll be trying to watch how much you spend within the next few months.
1. Get student discount cards
I’ve mentioned this a few times in past posts, but they are actually incredibly helpful to have, and you’ll find yourself saving quite a bit of money. Plus, you won’t be a student forever- so take advantage now. You can get everything from travel discounts (which are always wonderful) to discounts on stuff like Pizza Express and Apple products. These cards include the NUS extra card, the 16-25 railcard, and more. Check out my last post on the best benefits of the NUS extra card for more info.
2. Make a budget
I’m a big list writer. If I have a ton of things to do, or something to remember, I always write it down. This can be a helpful thing to do if you’re not particularly good at budgeting. Setting aside certain amounts of money for different activities and necessities will help you get serious about using money wisely. You might be surprised at how much money you’re spending at pubs when you actually add it all up. I recommend making a reasonable budget that includes plenty of money for food, accommodation, and travel, and a bit on the side for social events. Everyone’s budget will differ, but always make sure the most important things come first. Here’s a budgeting calculator I came across to help you create a simple budget plan.
3. Cook at home
My hall is amazing, but it’s a bit hard to cook lots of fresh food when the fridge is always quite full and the kitchen is often in use. As much as I’d like to cook every day, I find that’s not really an option in my current living situation, and that’s probably the same for a lot of you. It’s hard to resist the temptation to go out to eat, but it’s much, much better for your wallet and your health if you limit your spending on take away. There is often a big selection of ready meals at local grocery stores, and grabbing a bag of lettuce, some salad dressing, and a few vegetables isn’t too pricey if you get the sale items. You’ll find yourself saving a lot of money.
4. Take the bus
This is a really simple one, and it might not be the most convenient or feasible option for you, but it’s undeniably cheaper than the tube if you don’t need to transfer. I always take the bus, because even if it takes a little longer, it’s worth the minor inconvenience. Plus, the tube gets overcrowded and is honestly really boring, while the bus offers a great view of the city. Taking the bus has actually gotten me a lot more familiar with my area, and I have a much better idea of where everything is now. So there are benefits!
5. Consider part-time employment
It might seem late in the year, but it’s definitely worth checking out what job opportunities are currently available, especially if you’ll be here throughout the summer. As an American, getting a job in the UK drastically reduced the pain of the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound, and if your home currency isn’t as strong, you’ll probably feel a lot better about it, too. Plus, it’s a great way to make sure you get out of your room once in a while- and there are not many things as awesome as getting a paycheck when you’re low on cash.
For more information, here are a few additional resources for money saving advice:
Student checklist (MoneySavingExpert)
How Can I Manage My Money Better? (NUS)
When was the last time you drank? (Water, not vodka; calm down peeps) Little do most of us know, water plays an integral role in maintaining our daily body functions; and hydration is a crucial criteria for survival. Let’s look at some of the benefits you can get by keeping yourself hydrated.
1) A Healthier Heart
Heart attack / heart related complications remain the number one cause of death in the world (Source: WHO. I did my research! Hehe). One study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that drinking more water is associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease, whereas drinking liquids other than water actually increased the chances of the disease.
I personally think that drinking other liquids shouldn’t contribute too much towards heart disease, as long as it’s not too sweet (fruit juice or something), but oh well, who am I to refute the American Journal of Epidemiology.
2) Brain Boost!
According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, drinking water when you feel thirsty can help you think and act. The participants who drank water before performing a series of cognitive tasks reacted faster than those who did not.
"If the slower reaction times translated into real world performance, it could mean that people are generally a little slower at performing tasks," says Dr. Caroline Edmonds, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of East London, who was involved in the study.
Do drink up before facing your upcoming exams!
Feeling irritable frequently? Drink more water. Lack of sleep isn’t the only reason you get headaches and surges of irritability - lack of water does that too. When your body is low on water, blood vessels will dilate, causing swelling and worsening the feeling of a headache.
If you’re experiencing dizziness, this is a sign of dehydration. You should drink small amounts of water slowly over time, and watch as your mood improve!
4) Appetite Control & Gut Health
It’s late at night, and your stomach growls.
Before reaching for that big bag of Doritos lying temptingly on your foodshelf, try drinking some water first. In many cases, your body isn’t exactly hungry, but thirsty instead.
Water may not magically help you lose weight overnight, but substituting higher calorie drinks for water will reduce a large amount of calorie intake. Also, in order to burn calories, an adequate amount of water is needed. Staying hydrated will also keep things in your intestinal tracts flowing, and also keep constipation at bay.
5) Maintaining Balance of Body Fluids
Our body loses a lot of fluid through increased sweating on hot days or after exercising; the imminent lack of fluid leads to dehydration symptoms like headache, fatigue, confusion, and even heat stroke. A lack of water can even affect our organ functions, which, well.. isn’t really good.
Track your drinking history with several apps available on your phones/tablets! A quick google search will lead you to several apps like WaterLogged, or a cute app called Plant Nanny.
Bottoms up, fellas!
In a high-stress environment like LSE, you’ve probably had people tell you to relax on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, as we all know, it’s really not that easy to “just relax.” Here are a few tips (adapted from this article) to help you calm down now that it’s revision season:
Take deep breaths. Take very deep breaths in through your nose, and then breath out through your mouth. The NHS suggests counting to five on each breath, and that’s probably a guideline to follow. Doing this three to five times a day is quite helpful- I’ve just started to try it, so we’ll see how it goes.
Get comfortable. If you’re at home, wear comfortable clothes and try and sit in a position that isn’t rigid or unpleasant. I know that I tend to get too comfortable to get work done when I’m in my room, but that’s exactly the kind of thing you need when you’re purposefully trying to relax.
Try some stretches. I’m just going to quote the NHS article I’m using for this post, because paraphrasing wouldn’t work too well in this case. The following is directly from Relaxation tips to relieve stress, the piece I am basing this entire post on:
Face: push the eyebrows together, as though frowning, then release.
Neck: gently tilt the head forwards, pushing chin down towards chest, then slowly lift again.
Shoulders: pull them up towards the ears (shrug), then relax them down towards the feet.
Chest: breathe slowly and deeply into the diaphragm (below your bottom rib) so that you’re using the whole of the lungs. Then breathe slowly out, allowing the belly to deflate as all the air is exhaled.
Arms: stretch the arms away from the body, reach, then relax.
Legs: push the toes away from the body, then pull them towards body, then relax.
Wrists and hands: stretch the wrist by pulling the hand up towards you, and stretch out the fingers and thumbs, then relax.
Since no one revision method works best for everyone, it’s important to try different things. I found a really great time management guide on the NHS website, and so I’ve included some of its tips and a few tips of my own. If you’re stuck, try to consider a few of these points.
Create a to-do list
I am really addicted to to-do lists. I write them often, and even if I don’t manage to accomplish the tasks I write in a timely fashion, I always appreciate having them listed in one place. It’s a great method of organisation, and the best part is when you get to check things off your list.
Take note of which tasks on your to-do list are the most important or time sensitive and arrange them accordingly. As an example, I’m much more interested in finishing up my dissertation right now, but I I need to finish my summative papers first. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to think about things in this way. Similarly, if you’re feeling really stressed out, try and prioritise de-stressing before continuing your work. Check out the "LSEWellbeing" tag for some inspiration.
Sit down and write
This may also seem obvious, but what I mean to say is that you should find a quiet space (or a noisy space if that’s how you do your best work) and just write. Even if you’re not very motivated, just try and get some words on the page. You’ll have plenty of time to add citations, review, and build upon the ideas you’ve written- but at first, just getting something done is always good.
Avoid excessive distractions
Some distractions are good, but if you’re checking your Facebook every few minutes, you’re not going to get anything done. There are actually quite a few apps that help you block distracting websites while you’re trying to get work done, and I’d definitely recommend trying at lest one of them out. One of those apps is SelfControl, but there’s a wide variety if you’d prefer to try another. I tried it my last year of undergrad and I kind of hated it, but I think that means it was working perfectly…
Take a relaxing break
This is partly because I just really loved the gif, but also because getting your best work done really does require taking breaks. You might be able to get work done by staying up late and stressing out, but it probably won’t be your best work. Be sure to spend some time outside (visit a city farm, green space, or royal park), take a coffee/tea break, go on a day trip, or do something else you enjoy. You won’t regret it!
Check out these helpful websites for more tips:
Easy time management tips (NHS)
How to manage your time effectively (University of Kent)
Top 10 Tips for Time Management (UCLA)
I recently came across a great article with suggestions for day trips outside of the city. My first trip outside of London since I arrived in late September was to Cumberland Lodge with the Social Policy department, and I remember how much of an amazing relief it was to be outside of the city, even if just for a few days. I love it here, but there’s nothing quite like a change of scenery.
Day trips are particularly nice because they’re quick enough that you can enjoy some quality time away without having to take too much time away from revising. Since they’re so amazing, I’ve made a quick list of destinations for you with help from this article.
First off, if you haven’t already seen my blog post about visiting Oxford, here’s the link. It’s just an hour away, and it’s a really beautiful old city that you won’t want to miss. You can conveniently access it by train or bus, and the fares are pretty reasonable. Check out Visit Oxfordshire and Lonely Planet’s Oxford page for more information.
Brighton is a lovely coastal city, just about an hour away. Check out VisitBrighton and Lonely Planet’s Brighton & Hove page for more details.
Whitstable is about an hour and a half away, and is another lovely coastal town. Check out its website and Lonely Planet’s Whitstable page for more information.
Statford-upon-Avon, home of Shakespeare, is about 2 1/2 hours by train, so it’s not particularly close. It’s a very popular spot though, and if you’re a big fan of Shakespeare, you can visit his place of birth and even catch a few plays. Check out Visit Stratford-upon-Avon and Lonely Planet’s Stratford-upon-Avon page to learn more.
Windsor Castle is less than an hour outside of the city, and while I’ve never visited the castle, it’s apparently very beautiful. Having visited the area near Cumberland Lodge, I can definitely attest to the beauty of the surroundings, and I’d absolutely recommend it for a day trip. It felt very removed from the city, which is a really great element to have when you’re trying to get away. Check out the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead official webpage or Lonely Planet’s Windsor Castle page for more information.
Bath is a beautiful city known for it’s old Roman baths. It’s not the largest city, so I’ve heard it’s perfect for a day trip. For the best information, check out Ryo’s post from a few months ago. I haven’t visited myself, but you can also see the Visit Bath website and Lonely Planet’s Bath page for more details.
(All of the photos I used for this post, with the exception of the first two photos, were found through creative commons)