February 22, 2016, by Words on Words

That Brown Envelope… You know the one!

This blog post was written by English and Philosophy student, Rishi Davda.

So you’ve just picked up that scary brown envelope that bystanders must think is on fire from the way you handle it. You walk down the corridor to a place where there are fewer eagle eyes. Out comes the sheet… Whether they are good, bad, or middling there are so many lessons that can be learnt from the contents of that A4 envelope of expectation. As an experienced third year, I have picked up more of these hellish packets than I care to remember. However, these experiences have put me in a good position to impart some wisdom to those of you who are searching for your named envelope for the first time, or even to those of you who dread exams and the resultant Feedback Day.

1. Space is King

Having looked at your results, you are able to decide pretty comprehensively whether your study techniques have been successful. Whether you are a slave to Hallward, a home-studier, or an up-all-nighter, these results are a good indicator of the effectiveness of your revision techniques and study habits. Over the years, I have learnt that the best way to master any form of study is to master your space. Firstly, you definitely need space. Try and avoid working next to your best friend, in such close proximity that you can hear her/him secretly listening to the greatest hits of Celine Dion. Give yourself room. Enough room to ensure no overlapping of textbooks or notes on your laptop keyboard. A clearer work space will allow you to save time searching for things, remove distraction, and most of all give you a clearer and more organised mindset. Try this next exam period (sorry for mentioning it, I know the previous exam period is still in the rear-view mirror)!

2. Wait… What did I just read?

I know that, as frugal English students, we very often have to read numerous lengthy texts. Purchasing all of these would be extremely unkind on our already depleted wallets. So, we do our best to find ebook versions on Ebrary, or scan an important chapter from the Short Loan copies in Hallward, and comb through those pages hour after hour. Now, while reading short texts on a screen is great and easy, I have lots of friends who concur that reading hundreds of pages on a screen is challenging in that most of it goes into your eyes, through to your brain, and swiftly disappears into the abyss filled with MC Hammer lyrics. You kind of remember them but not really. Where possible, try to read hard copies of books. Whether you buy them, borrow them, photocopy a section, or print off scans of key passages, I know that reading hard copies will be hugely beneficial to your comprehension and engagement with these mammoth English texts.

3. Your order will be delivered in 30 minutes.

I am well aware that this point will make me sound like a nagging mother but just run with me. In second year, I found out the hard way that takeaways every night during revision are not the way forward. They may save time, but in some cases they are just horrible surprises covered in melted cheese. I have been ill on the back on some questionable takeaway food – I should have known, when the delivery man turned up with four of his mates in his car about two hours after I placed my order. Never again… Never. Cooking your own food is not only healthier, but it provides you with a natural break in which you can give your brain a rest and consolidate your thoughts. You may end up only eating noodles but it’s better than a dodgy takeaway and a regretful few hours the following day. I cooked for myself during this exam period and spent less money, felt less lethargic, and was more productive. Try it!

Give these tips a go when it comes to your next essay deadline or exam. They were definitely worthwhile for me and when it comes to crunch time, they are helping hands in giving you the best possible chance of a successful brown envelope collection.

Keep Calm and Study for Exams

Rishi Davda

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