Surviving the Assessment Period
How to survive and thrive in the upcoming assessment period.
Rachel: Hi and welcome to the episode of the UTS student hacks podcast that might give you a ray of hope in the middle of this stressful assessment period.
Kelly: As usual, you’re joined by Rachel and Kelly and today, we will be sharing some insights into how you can survive the assessment period! Side note: If you are not aware, the final assessment dates have already been released so make sure you take a look at it. If you have any issues with the timing of your exams, get in contact with AskUTS via email or phone. These details will be linked in the resources.
Rachel: Surviving the assessment period is different for each one of us, but we’ll be talking about some of our routines and habits that get us through possibly the hardest times of the semester. Feel free to take inspiration from this and remember: just because something works for us doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you :) It’s all about experimenting and taking it slow.
Rachel: What’s self-care like for you Kelly?
Kelly: Self-care to me is not beating yourself up for not completing tasks you originally planned. It is a sign for you to slow down to reorganise and regroup yourself. Just take a few minutes of your day to stand up to do some stretches in, taking a walk outside to soak up some sun or even just getting yourself some fruit for some good nutrients. These little steps can help reset your brain. Remember that it’s ok to not be ok.
Rachel: Mine is knowing when I’ve had enough! See, it’s hard enough to get the ball rolling to start studying and preparing for the assessments. But funnily enough, I find that knowing WHEN to stop is harder for me. It’s either I give up and stop too soon when I’ve barely written 100 words for my 5-page lab report. Or too late, when I’ve gotten to the point where I start mixing words of all the languages I know so that my paper could still make sense. It takes a while to learn when you actually need to stop and take a breather but once you actually do, it feels really rewarding to just listen to your body, stop and just watch a couple of episodes of your favourite TV show or go for a walk. When you go back to that assignment, trust me you’ll feel refreshed and ready to write even more…
Rachel: To know when to stop, I usually pace myself; I don’t put any timers on or anything like that, but once I stop understanding the contents of the lecture or feel like I’m stuck on a section of an assignment, I take that as a sign to step away from and give myself a break.
Kelly: Rachel I really feel the same. I tend to over work myself and then end up in a slump. I’ve just started to notice signs when I should take a break from my work and take a break to regain my focus. It is extremely important to pace yourself so you are able to create and maintain habits of keeping up with lectures and tutorial work. Whenever I fall behind, it is quite difficult for me to get back on track so I strive to, at the bare minimum, keep up-to-date with week to week tasks so I have some idea of where the subject is heading.
Rachel: Our eating habits might change when we’re put under pressure. I notice that I start snacking more and drinking less water. That’s why I make sure to place a massive jug of water on my desk to remind me to stay hydrated. And instead of giving myself the option to reach into a random bag of chips while mindlessly doing uni work, I take 5 minutes out of my day to prep the snacks. I usually have nuts and some fruits. We actually have an episode titled “Our favourite student meals”, you can check that out for some inspo!
Kelly: Just like what Rachel said, I am going to stress again that it is really important to get your daily intake of nutrients and, most importantly, water. Refrain from ordering takeout and make your own meals with ingredients you enjoy eating. Eating a balanced diet does not need to be a pain. Adapt recipes to your taste. For more inspo, talk to your friends and family for their favourite meals to make. This can be a small side project you can work on to not only help come up with dishes to eat but to level up your cooking abilities.
Kelly: Be sure to NOT negligent exercise. Even just 5-10 minutes may drastically change your mood and re energise yourself to finish the task. You can do exercises in an empty space in your living area, go to your nearest park, or even around UTS like the Alumni Green if you are feeling adventurous.
Rachel: You may have assessments due one after the other. Or you might have them more spread out. Whatever it is, if your marks happen to get released while you’re in the middle of writing up another assignment, don’t fret it!
Rachel: If it’s a good mark then use it as motivation to keep on going. If your mark wasn’t so good or what you hoped for then aim to make it up with this assignment. You might feel sad and disappointed and these feelings are valid, but remember that dwelling on the past disappointments make it harder to study and focus on the present task. The time for reflection on past events is NOT now. If you get hooked into that story about “not being good enough”, it will take you to a place of intense anxiety, low confidence and procrastination.
Kelly: We are now going to hear from U:PASS Leaders Isabel, Angela, Joyce, and Alice about their tips on surviving the assessment period. Take it away Isabel!
Isabel: Okay, so my name is Isabel and I'm a U:PASS Leader in physical aspects of nature. It's my first semester leading this leading in generally. So it's been a bit of a learning curve, but I've learned a lot. Um, I'm in my second year of doing a biomedical sciences degree. So, yeah.
Kelly: How do you go about organising your time?
Isabel: ... I basically just go through the same routine, every day that I study. So I get up, have my coffee, because I love coffee, and do a bit of morning study, have a break. Do a little bit more study and then have lunch and then have like a proper break where I'm actually exercising. So it's basically I don't really have a set schedule. I just like to do the same routine. Every day, and I think that routine really helps as well. Yeah.
Kelly: Having a set routine does make it easier as you do not need to think about how you are going to organise your time. Next question, we’re always sitting on our chairs staring at a screen and it’s quite tedious and leads to losing focus. What do you do to combat this?
Isabel: Um, I think Yeah, just stepping out and doing something active because sitting at a chair all day, looking at screen isn't very healthy, first of all. So you need those breaks. And I think once you get, once you get the blood flowing, and you know, everything from doing exercise or anything, it just helps you study better. So yeah, just not not to take like, long break, like two hours off, because that's, that goes into a bit of procrastination. But yeah, just just having a mini break, and just putting your mind into focus.
Rachel: Thank you Isabel! Now let’s meet Joyce and Angela!
Joyce: Yep. So my name is Joyce. And I'm currently studying the Bachelor of accounting cooperative program. I'm actually a third and final year student. I'm a senior leader in U:PASS and I used to lead in business statistics.
Angela: I'm Angela. I'm a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of creative intelligence and innovation. I'm also a fourth and final year student, and I'm a current senior leader for the subject accounting for business decision fee.
Rachel: We all prepare for the assessment period differently, what is your take on this. Do you have a routine that you like to follow?
Joyce: So I like to be prepared earlier on before the assessment period. So I always try to get a semester timetable made up, laying out all the assessment due dates, and because I like to be prepared early on, it saves the troubles to come. And also over the years, I've created some templates, for reports and like PowerPoints, so I can kind of just recycle them keeping the same formats and the headings and the contents. And that kind of saves me time during the assessment period. So I'm not like scrambling to make my reports.
Rachel: Using a template sounds promising and it might be actually something worth doing! But what do you do when you just can’t focus anymore?
Angela: … Something like a rejuvenating kind of like so helpful me is kind of like going to the kitchen and making like tea or drink. I've been really obsessed with herbal teas lately. And so I've been like buying like an assortment of teas and then trying it and see which one kind of makes me feel the best based on like what I'm studying and all that stuff. And also like, another thing that really helps is really just ranting to someone regarding like, your studies like someone completely that doesn't know what you're doing. Like if you just rant to them like this is what I'm doing, it actually helps you kind of get back on track because it gets you into that thinking mode, but it also helps you kind of consolidate everything you've just studied.
Angela: And another thing I kind of like to do is maybe, like, change the scent in the room. So like set on an oil diffuser, or even light a candle. I know, it's a bit cheesy, but I've been buying these candles that have like really nice, like caramel flavours, and scents and stuff. And so that just gets me like, you know, like really like more motivated to get back on track and everything.
Rachel: Candles, tea and everything in between...That really sounds like a dream plan. Now I feel like we should totally end this with good vibes, do you have a last message that could give us a bit of moral support to get us through this period?
Joyce: Lastly, from me, I guess it's have a little bit of self-hope in yourself, like you know, yourself and kind of once you know, your study habits and all that kind of have a little belief that you can get through this time. Like Angela said, everyone's gone through this, we've we all face these assessment periods, so you're not alone. And once you get through one, you can definitely get through the rest, so just keep soldiering on.
Angela: Yep. And definitely the last thing to end on a happy note is probably, it's not the end of the world. If you perhaps don't perform as well. Like don't try to kick yourself over it. Like everything is kind of like a learning experience. So always consider what you can do next time will consider how much effort you put in rather than the marks or rather than, rather than the marks and what you could have done just think of what you can do next. And why other than looking back on what I could have done, like, like yesterday, I can see what I can do tomorrow.
Kelly: Reiterating Joyce and Angela, don’t be too hard on yourself and take it all in as a learning experience. Now we will talk to Alice.
Alice: Hi, everyone. My name is Alice. I'm currently in a bachelor degree of engineering and a bachelor degree of business. It's a double degree. I'm currently a U:PASS leader for mathematical modelling one. So you might find me around if you're a first year engineering student
Kelly: How do you keep yourself in a motivated mindset?
Alice: I don't restrict myself from like, procrastinating or anything like, I don't just tell myself, I have to turn off my phone, I have to turn off my, like computer or anything, I think I give myself that bit of freedom, like every now and then like, say, if you work for half an hour, you get 10 minutes of freedom. And you can do whatever you want, if that's, you know, playing games or, you know, talking to your friends or catching up on messages, then, like, do that, because I think if you, if you stress yourself too much for a long period of time, it's easy to burn out quite quickly.
Kelly: Very nice! Any further tips to give to our fellow listeners?
Alice: … don't be so hard on yourself. Just always put your mental health first, put, you know, yourself first and do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. I think that's the main thing. Because I think a lot of students, it's harder for them to work under pressure so they tend to burn out so just take care of yourself first. If you need to go for a walk or if you need to, you know, just sit down and relax to read a book will take some time in the sun do that.
Alice: … have snacks ready, because that's brain food. Like if you have nuts around you that will fuel you for a good few hours. It has a lot of great nutrients and whatnot. So find snacks that you enjoy eating, that are good for you. Not just like potato chips or anything. I'm always have them ready. So when you're studying, you can just munch on them. It gets my brain working and it fuels me essentially when I eat snacks while studying.
Rachel: Thank you to all the U:PASS for taking their time to be part of this podcast.
Kelly: Thanks for sticking to another episode of the UTS Student Hacks Podcast on surviving the assessment period. We will leave you with 5 tips:
Rachel: Remember to eat and exercise regularly
Kelly: Have a routine which is consistent throughout the session
Rachel: If you have take-home exams, make a template beforehand.
Kelly: Take a tea break, or even change your scenery.
Rachel: Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not always on track.
Kelly: Until our next podcast-
Kelly and Rachel: It’s ok to not be ok.
About this episode
Rachel and Kelly are here to give you all the tips and tricks for remaining sane and on track during the upcoming assessment period. They are joined by four U:PASS leaders who share their advice for practicing self-care, time-management and overcoming pesky procrastination so you can survive and thrive during the last few weeks of the semester.
Written and Presented by Kelly Ding & Rachel Khalef
Produced and Edited by Liv Day
Music: Spark of Inspiration – https://www.silvermansound.com/
U:PASS Leader voices in this episode:
- Joyce Liang
- Angela Yiqing Lu
- Alice Nguyen
- Isabel Dalecka