Congrats – you’ve almost made it through the semester! Now with exams and assignments looming, you have one blessed week of study before it all starts — SWOTVAC. Yikes. A week sounds like a long time but trust us, it will fly by.

Here are some tips on how to survive SWOTVAC and make the most of it.


1 — Make a study plan or study calendar

A study plan will help to you manage your time efficiently. Breaking down your workload into small, manageable chunks will make it less overwhelming, and save you from that dreaded night-before cram session. First, figure out when your exams are and allocate time to study for each. Next, identify the topics or subjects you find difficult and stake out time to give them extra attention. Remember — it’s important to actually stick to your study plan so you don’t lose track of what you’re doing!


2 — Stay focused, and turn off distractions

We hear you — it’s soo easy to procrastinate or get distracted by scrolling through social media and chatting to friends on messenger, especially while we can’t lock ourselves up in the library at the moment! But, it’s vital to stay focused while you’re studying and not give in to distractions. If you really can’t hold yourself back from checking your phone or tablet when you’re supposed to be studying, try putting it in a far away place and turning it on flight mode, so you’re not tempted to pick it up.

3 — Plan your break times

Studying and understanding the content is the goal, but don’t forget to take regular breaks and rest. Overworking yourself will leave you exhausted, stressed and struggling to get the most out of your study days. For example, you could try a 10-minute break for every hour of studying. This is also a good opportunity to take a break from screen time, especially now that everything is online.


4 — Prepare study materials in advance 

SWOTVAC is the time to consolidate what you’ve learned. Now is the time to catch up on lectures, readings and notes, or dig out the academic sources you’ll need before you dive into memorising a semesters worth of content.


5 — Eat healthy

A healthy diet is key to unlocking the stamina to power through a 3-hour exam, but when you’re stressed it’s easy to let it fall by the wayside. Make sure you’re eating healthy (fruits, veggies, good fats and protein) and not skipping meals. And hard as it may be, try not to overdo the sugar and caffeine. Sugar crashing can affect your concentration. If you ‘need’ caffeine, try to limit your intake to 1-2 cups a day.


6 — Develop a consistent sleep schedule

In a pinch, pulling an all-nighter may seem tempting. But research shows a solid 7-hour night of sleep will have your mind and body operating at their best, and improves information retention. A healthy sleep schedule will also help you wake up for those (objectively evil) early morning online exams.


7 — Take care of your wellbeing 

While grades are important, make sure you’re taking care of your mental health and wellbeing. Exercise, do what relaxes you, and reward yourself for your hard work — you deserve it! If you need support, reach out to a friend or loved one for a chat. There’s also the UniMelb CAPS service free for you to access, which is open throughout exam time and semester breaks.


You’re almost there! Just a couple more weeks to go. Do your best, but don’t forget your value isn’t dependent on your grades. Always prioritise your mental health, and remember that you have a strong support system behind you. Good luck and all the best for your exams and assignments!


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Source: UMSU Work Rights Survey