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The 10 stages of exam revision: From denial to freedom

Revising for exams is a rollercoaster of emotions – too little and you feel guilty, too much and you hate it, but without it exams are near impossible.

Here are ten stages of revision everyone who has ever studied for an exam will recognize.

1. “I’ve got plenty of time.”

Your teacher may have ramped up the exam rhetoric, and you recognize exams are on the horizon, but you convince yourself it’s far too early to start revising despite that nagging voice in your head telling you to at least make a chart by writing down a timetable for your studies.

2. “I guess I’ll make a start.”

It’s time to begin – your teachers have pestered you, as have your parents, and now your friend who never revises has started, but there’s no point going crazy at this stage, right?

3. “I’ll just watch one episode on Netflix.”

Nobody has ever uttered those words and watched just one episode. Soon, a day or two of planned revision turns into a binge-watching session of your favorite show. You might not have analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnets, but at least you know how Breaking Bad ends.

4. “This weather’s too nice for revision.”

It always happens – as soon as you start revising the sun comes out. You may think that you can revise outside, but you’ll soon find yourself sunbathing, swimming, and hunting for ice creams. Once back inside, you find new and innovative ways of improving your procrastination skills – Hello YouTube!

5. “Why did I make a revision timetable?”

It seemed like such a good idea at the time – now, after topping up your tan, you check your revision timetable only to be shocked at how fast your exams are approaching and how little you have ticked off. But your friends will comfort you…

6. “Wait, how much have you done?!”

You’re still relatively calm – you’ve done some revision, not as much as you would have liked, but you’re slowly moving along. Then, you ask a friend that ill-fated question: “How much revision have you done?” As they reel off a long list of topics they’ve covered, the color drains from your face and panic sets in.

7. “I’m going to fail.”

Things just got serious – paper is everywhere, multiple textbooks are open, and you only talk about mathematical equations or German grammar. You’re turning into a revision machine, making up for lost time, taking note after color-coded note. Those lazy days are a thing of the past.

8. “They’re only practice papers…”

You feel like you’ve revised just enough to scrape through the practice papers and convince your teachers you know what you’re talking about. You’re still digesting just how much revision needs to be done and you know things are going to get worse before they get better.

9. “Can I have my life back, please?”

The end is in sight, and you’re (finally) powering to the finish line. Your world is a mixture of post-it notes, empty energy drink cans, and ink covered hands. You’re solely focused on exams – the panicked cramming stage is over – you’re now in control, not that it feels like that, of course. You tick topic after topic on your revision timetable and you’re now officially so bored of revision you must be doing it right!

10. “Freedom!”

There’s no feeling like walking out of your last exam! No more waking up at stupid o’clock, you’re free and safe in the knowledge that you gave it your all (eventually). However, now you’ve finished you can bet the weather is terrible again, and you’ve already watched everything on Netflix. You promise yourself you will be more organized next year, but we all know that may not quite be the case!

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