How to: Survive Trinity

It's not just about revision – it's about relaxing, recuperating and resting too

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As someone in their third year, and studying science, I have survived two Trinity’s worth of exams already, and I would like to think I could offer some advice. I know my friends wouldn’t describe me as a pinnacle of emotional stability during these terms, but I hope that someone, somewhere, might find this helpful.

The first thing to mention is making sure you still have fun planned into your term. Try to identify things you’d like to do, and make sure you make time to do them. I know it’s hard enough to do this during non-exam terms, but giving yourself time when you know you can enjoy yourself helps keep up morale and gives you structure when weekends and weekdays can become indistinguishable. It’s also an excuse to make sure that you make time for your friends (who you may begin to neglect as exams begin to loom).

It is also important to try to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. I’m not talking about heavily reducing your chocolate consumption – this is challenging at the best of times and Trinity is probably not the time to start – but rather it is important to ensure that your behaviour is sustainable for what can seem like a very long 8 weeks. Essentially, I am talking about trying to eat three roughly balanced meals a day, try to get your 5-a-day, and try to keep to a sustainable sleeping pattern. If fizzy drinks and snack food are what’s getting you through your revision, that’s absolutely fine, just make sure they’re an addition, not a replacement, to your normal diet.

Try to find a way of working which works for you, and make sure that gives you the flexibility you need. Some people seem to enjoy working in their rooms, but I know if I spend a prolonged period of time without human contact, I lose any ability to concentrate.  This is alongside any sense of the outside world, and most importantly the perspective it brings – mostly that I am not the only one stuck at a desk. I find working in libraries as a nice middle ground between being cooped in my room and the distractions of trying to work elsewhere – you’re working in silence, but at least there are other people working in silence near you.

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Also, as much as possible, it helps to give your days structure where you can. Leaving your accommodation or your room to eat, study, and get some fresh air can help you feel in control. And, importantly, on days where you can’t work and the structure you’re trying to maintain fails, it is important not to dwell on it. Tomorrow is always another day. Sleeping, in particular, can be hard to get right (I know the frustration of lying in bed unable to sleep all too well), and here it is important to worry as little as possible about it (easier said than done, I know).

I have written this for those with exams, and I recognise that no two experiences of Trinity are alike, for those with or without exams. And I know I am writing this over the vacation, and a couple of weeks into term I will already be struggling to maintain this. The key thing to remember is that you have eight weeks to get through, and that you can only do what you can do. Trinity can be hard, but there’s a long summer after it (and a trashing to look forward to).