Christmas, a time to relax with family, catch up with friends, eat ’til your heart’s content and not worry about anything… Unless you’re a student, and then it’s three weeks of trying to balance exam revision with the hectic-ness of Christmas time. But don’t fret, it doesn’t have to be stressful, it’s actually quite easy to balance Christmas responsibilities and university responsibilities – honestly.

Whilst, yes, it is all too easy to use the excuse of ‘hey it’s Christmas’ to do nothing but lie on the sofa eating Quality Street’, January exams are really important – it’s vital that you do as much work as you can over the Christmas break. But that doesn’t mean being holed up in your room all day, with the curtains closed and your parents bringing you provisions every few hours.

Here are 5 tips to enjoying your holiday and getting your work done:

Plan your Christmas events

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Get all your events, friend meet-ups and family dinners on a calendar so you can see what time you have available for revision. Having a good time over the break is important as well; so plan this in if you need to. It is acceptable to have a whole day off just to relax and take your mind off things -just don’t make a habit of it.

Organise yourself and make a revision timetable

Once you have your calendar marked with Christmassy type activities with your friends and family, it will be easier for you to organise your revision times. It is probably a good idea to gather all the revision notes, books and references that you’ll need in advance. You don’t want to be wasting days from your holiday doing this – ensure your calendar is organised before the 11th December to optimise your precious time.

Mix it up and keep your brain active

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There’s nothing worse than sheer revision boredom that comes from sitting in the same spot looking at the same dull notes over and over again. Try not to spend hours staring at a laptop screen or with your revision notes if you’re not actively learning anything. Keep your brain active and alert by changing tasks and mixing up your learning method. For example, switch from revision cards to mind maps.

Your revision approach

There are several ways you can approach your revision schedule. One method might be to work a few hours every day, early in the morning or late at night, and gradually chip away at your revision tasks over the period of the holiday. It depends on you as an individual and how you work best. Personally, I prefer to get up early, get my revision out of the way so that I am able to enjoy the rest of my guilt free!

Another revision approach 

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However, another approach might be more effective: hit the ground running at the beginning of the holiday and do mega marathon revision blocks over a few days. This leaves you with the rest of the holiday for relaxation and optimum chocolate-eating time! This really only works for coursework and essays, so you’ll still want to top up and refresh your revision nearer the exam time. This technique won’t suit everybody and you’ll need to be mentally able to endure the ‘mega marathon.’ Don’t forget that short breaks are still essential to help your brain and memory take in the revision.

It’s not as daunting as it looks, and it is totally possible to have a really enjoyable Christmas and still have time to get the essential work and revision done.

Here’s wishing you have both a productive and merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Grace Woodsford


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