Finals Survival

by - 13:47

In 5 days time I have the last exam of my current university course. I am a forensic science student, and for this particular exam I am required to go into court and present evidence on a mock crime scene which I processed with some of my colleagues back in January.

Above still from "Witness for the Prosecution", 1957 (via)

It will be the second time in my life I have had to do such a thing - the first time was as part of my university course last year, and took place in the family court with my teachers acting as the barristers and judge. It was the most terrifying experience of my life to date; I just barely held it together whilst I was on the stand and burst into tears immediately after finishing.

This year, I am in a full-sized court room and will be standing up in front of a real barrister, jury and people in the gallery. Needless to say I am somewhat nervous (understatement of the year right there) but I am doing my best to cope. At the end of the day, it will only last about 15 minutes. As long as I turn up, look smart, and tell them my name, then I've passed - it's what happens after that that will determine whether I pass well or not.

I'm sure many other people have exams and things around this time, so here are some of my favourite tips for keeping calm and carrying on!

1) Don't procrastinate


Sometimes this is the hardest thing in the world to do, but things like exam preparation are often better if you just sit down and do them. To avoid getting distracted, turn off or get rid of anything that you don't actually need. Switch off your internet or download SelfControl so you can block all those website you know will eat up your time. Leaving something right until the last minute can be incredibly stressful, so the last thing you want in an already stressful situation is more stress, right?

2) Play some of your favourite music


Music in itself can be distracting but sticking to relaxing classics or familiar old favourites can be really helpful. If you need something mellow and calming, there are loads of study playlists available on places like 8tracks (for example 12), or if you need some extra motivation try some faster-paced mixes such as The Most Awesome. Tumblr is a really great place to find playlists - here is the 'study playlists' tag which has loads to listen to.

3) Go for a walk


If the stress and pressure is really starting to get to you, take a break and go for a wander outside. I often pop out to the supermarket and fetch some sweets or snacks that I can nibble on while I work. The fresh air can be really help to re-focus you and clear your head.

4) Take a short break to do something you really enjoy

Doesn't matter what it is - just something that isn't revision. Reading, knitting, dancing... whatever. Just don't get distracted doing that and forget to go back to revising!


5) Hug someone

Your mum, your cat, or a friend all work well. If your hugee is human, make them pet your hair. It's aaaaaaweeeesomeeeeeeeeeeee.


6) Medicate


And I don't mean with alcohol. If you suffer from really crippling nerves, herbal stress relief tablets or Bach Rescue Remedy can really help. You don't need an expensive brand because they all contain more or less the same ingredients - just remember to check the packaging to see whether or not they will make you drowsy. You don't want to be falling asleep during your exam or job interview.

7) Don't panic

Try to remember it's not the end of the world. If you fail your exam, you can usually re-sit it or work really hard on something else to pull your grade up. If you don't get the job, remember there will be others you can apply for. But also try to remember to believe in yourself! You can do it!

Go you. You're awesome.

And now I must follow my own advice and go and get on with my work instead of procrastinating!

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  1. Handy tips, and good luck!

    You can do it ;)


  2. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!! I am sure you will do great.

  3. Congratulations on nearing the end of this course, dear gal (forensic science is such an incredibly fascinating area of study - I suspect I would have enjoyed it a great deal, too). I'm sorry that this exercise is such a stressful one for you. It was really sweet of you to share some of your own firsthand tips for coming with difficular school exams with us - I hope that do indeed help make the coming day a little easier for you to get through.

    You'll do awesome - I just know it!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you Jessica! It is definitely a difficult exercise but I will be so glad to finish so I can focus on other things for a while.

  4. Good advice & nice pictures – not least the one about procrastination, which, I think, most people recognize from their own life. Not long ago, while researching for a difficult article, I had to write, I had a serious attack & and just sat surfing the net for hours for... more or less nothing... & I really don't know how it happened, but suddenly I started to surfe for what I actually did: PROCRASTINATE...

    Among other things this really interesting eye opener came up:

    Best wishes for your enactment in court...!!!

    1. Thanks for sharing that article, it was really interesting; I could definitely identify some of my own thoughts and behaviour from it. I didn't realise there were so many different reasons for procrastinating.

  5. Hi there, I'm new to your blog! Found through Chronically Vintage.

    Best of luck for this assessment, it sounds tough. I'm currently preparing for a big job interview that's next week, and reading this post has made me realise that I'm just procrastinating by reading blogs!! Agh! So, I'm off for a run in the rain to get rid of my stress, and then I shall have a lovely evening reading stats books and drinking tea.

    Turning off internet now, promise...

    P x

    1. Hello, welcome! Good luck with your interview, I hope you get the job. I am so not ready for this assessment but I am really looking forward to getting it over and done with!

  6. Hugging always helps me too!! Good luck! You'll do great!

  7. I loved your advice. I hope that you did well five days ago!

    I could not for the life of my stop laughing at the Life photo of the lady walking her dog or rather should I say dragging her poor dog. She is so happy to be out walking and he just wants to stretch out!


    1. Thank you! I loved that photo too, the poor dog looks so put out.