If you were lucky enough to be born with a brain that prioritises things like study and revision, then this article isn’t for you- you’re probably just gonna cruise through the next month or so anyway.

This is for the rest of us who are coming in hot to the exam period with little to no preparation. For those that think it’s a good idea to start studying the night before, and that the next few weeks are the time to binge study and do all-nighters. It sounds tempting, but it’s not going to do you any favours in the long run.

Here’s what you should do instead.

1. Get organised

First up, you need to map out your exam period so you know exactly when each exam is.

This will help you prioritise and plan your study so you don’t get surprised by a sneaky Biology exam when you’ve been practicing maths equations instead.

It’s also a good time to review your expectations and attitude during this period. For example, if you’ve scheduled your exam timetable and filled in every empty space with study, then you need to reevaluate; you’re never going to be able to survive such an intense study load (you haven’t done it up ’til now, so why would exam period be any different?).

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2. Get some sleep

Doing well in exams isn’t simply the case of doing as much study as humanly possible; it requires balance. And to achieve this you don’t just have to sharpen your mind, you need to stay physically healthy too.

Sleep is a huge factor here, so make sure you’re not staying up too late, especially the night before an exam. At that point, being well rested is more useful than a few extra hours of reading and re-reading notes when you’re not particularly focused.

If you haven’t learnt it by now, chances are it’s not going to stick anyway so just go to sleep.

3. Stop eating crap

It’s hard to avoid eating nothing but Pizza Shapes and Mi Goreng when you’re knee-deep in exams but at least try to eat something resembling a green vegetable.

Eating regularly and making sure not everything that enters your body is junk means you’ll be able to study more effectively and perform better in exams.

Don’t let this stress be the reason you stop exercising or playing sport, either. Physical activity improves blood flow to your brain so you’ll feel sharper while you study, plus it’ll fill you with endorphins and help keep you sane during this fucked period.

4. Treat yo’self

While there’s huge benefits to staying healthy during exams, it shouldn’t be a reason to completely starve yourself of guilty pleasures.

Taking care of your body isn’t meant to be torture, so if you feel like you need a treat, then treat yo’self.

Learn to recognise when you’re feeling overwhelmed by study and wellness and all that ‘doing your best’ shit, so you can counteract it with a chocolate bar.

Or take a bath, go out to see some friends, jam out to some music, go see a movie. You’ll feel ready to take on some more study again afterwards.

5. Learn when to let go and stop caring about exams

You’ll reach a point in your studying where any further effort won’t give any worthwhile results. Or the amount of work it’d take to get those extra marks just isn’t worth the hell you’d put yourself through.

Everybody has their limits and it’s not a sign of weakness to accept that. One of the most important things you can do during your exam period is to acknowledge when you’ve reached this point and just let go.

Working past this point, you run the risk of coming into exams stressed as all hell and bombing anyway.

Put down the books instead and focus on feeling good about yourself and doing the best that you can do- your mental health is more important than a mark, anyway.