StudyAdvantage Magazine

How to Survive Exams

Published: December 6, 2016


As the holidays draw nearer, students are becoming more and more anxious. With all the food, presents and Christmas fun comes finals. Throughout a few weeks students all over the world see their newfound knowledge put to the test. As rewarding as a college education may be, there are moments when all undergraduate students question their choices in life – exams is one such moment.

We asked a few of our student bloggers about their experiences with finals, and what they do to survive exams.

Sophie Breinholdt Nielsen

Sophie studies at the prestigious French school Sciences Po

– Exams are coming up starting next week. Right now finals aren’t yet on my mind despite their proximity, as I still have various other deadlines to meet before being able to start preparing.


Sophie at Sciences Po in France is used to managing heavy workloads, and seems surprisingly relaxed . However, it doesn’t always add up. Sophie recalls one exam that did not go quite as planned:


– In my first semester at Sciences Po all students were required to take a history course. We were informed that we would be given a choice of 3 prompts from which we were to choose one. I still remember the gasp that went through the examination hall as we turned over our exam papers on which all that was written was: “If the French revolution never ended the American revolution never happened”. 


On the other hand, Franziska who studying at the prestigious UCL in London finds herself in a very different (and perhaps worse?) situation:


– My degree program has most exams at the end of the year (and they all count for 100% – the horror is real), but I do actually have one exam after Christmas Break which I am not very thrilled about.

Yuki Shimizu

Yuki is a senior year student at Georgetown University

Yuki, a senior year student at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. knows the true meaning of academic discipline. However, she acknowledges the importance of taking some time off. When asked how she copes with stress, we got a somewhat surprising response:


– I’ll probably go to a cat cafe near the campus with my friends during the exam season.


Cat cafés seem like a great break from studying, but what about the actual studies? All of our interview subjects agree that planning is a central part in succeeding in their studies. Sophie gives us one practical tip for more focused studies:


– I am a huge fan of the Mac application “self-control” to keep me off social media as well as late-night revision in sketchy, French kebab shops.


Although exams are intimidating, anyone who’s been through the process will tell you that they are over before you know it. Then it’s time for celebration. We asked Franziska how she plans to celebrate the end of exams:

Franziska Wintschnig

Franziska studies at UCL – her exams are all postponed to the end of the academic year.

– Usually, I celebrate by sleeping for 12 hours followed by a bit of a spa day to make myself look human again. And you can’t miss the mandatory post-exams club night!


With the luxury of studying on the American east coast, Yuki has the perfect plan to wrap up the exam season:


-I’m planning to treat myself to a short New York trip right after my last exam.







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