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!


The Education (Academic Affairs) Department in 2014

Our names are Adam and Hana, and we’re your Education (Academic Affairs) Officers for this year.

Adam is a third year Bachelor of Environments Student, majoring in Urban Design & Planning. Hana studies a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics, and a Diploma in Spanish.

We are committed to working with the University and other UMSU departments to ensure that the education you receive at the University of Melbourne is of a high standard, that and academic or administrative issues you may encounter are addressed effectively; and that students are aware of the support services available to them should they run into any difficulties during their studies.

More specifically, there are a number of issues we are aiming to address this year. These include:

  • Ensuring the University Handbook is up-to-date. Many students have noticed inaccurate or misleading information in the Handbook entries for their subjects, such as assessment details which differ to practice or the omission of a full list of required course materials. This inaccuracy results in students needing to rearrange their workload or paying for materials they had not originally budgeted for. As the Universitys’ legal contract with students regarding subject delivery, the Handbook is required to be accurate. In 2014 we will be working with the University to ensure that adequate procedures are developed and enforced to improve the Handbook’s accuracy and usefulness.
  • Minors and breadth tracks on academic transcripts. Currently, the academic transcript you will receive at the end of your degree does not recognise any minors or breadth tracks you have completed. We believe that as a significant component of a degree, these should be officially acknowledged by the University. We will be working to see this change implemented.
  • Tutor training. Tutors with the necessary skills are an essential part of a quality educational experience. Many students have encountred tutors who have not received adequate support and professional development from the University, resulting in expensive subjects not fulfilling their potential, and inconsistent or insufficient marking and feedback. In 2014, we are planning to work with the University to ensure that effective training and support programs are provided to tutors, and that there is a level of consistency across different schools and faculties.

On top of this, we aim to work with the Education (Public) department to campaign against cuts to courses, deregulation of fees, and other attacks to students both on-campus and across the country.

One of the major components of our role as Education (Academic Affairs) officers is to facilitate the Student Representative Network (SRN), which provides students with the opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes of the University by sitting on various University boards and committees. Any student can apply, and in 2014 over 20 committee positions will be filled by students. Applications for 2014 positions have now closed, however we hold twice-monthly meetings where student representatives come together to share ideas and discuss issues arising from their respective committees. Dates and times of these meetings will be published on the website, and anyone is welcome to attend and contribute suggestions and ideas.

If you have any further questions about what we do, how to get involved or whether we can assist you with a particular issue, please do not hestitate to get in touch with us! Either send us an email at, or drop by our office, Level 1 Union House.