Blog: Coping with exams during lockdown – what I have learnt!

Author, Ana Ghaffari is a 2nd year Law student at the University of Liverpool.

Exam season is always incredibly stressful; there are deadlines to meet, references to make and articles to read. But, I think it’s safe to say that this year has the added difficulty of being in a national lockdown – something none of us need on our plates.  So, here a few things I have learnt to help me cope with exams during lockdown and that will hopefully benefit you too:

Stay optimistic – you will get it done and in the end

This is a really big one for me, and why I wanted to put this tip first. It’s so easy to wrap ourselves up in a blanket of false affirmations like ‘I can’t do this in time’ or ‘I am never going to pass’. However, I (somehow!) always get it done in the end, and I am sure you do too. Keeping a positive mindset, and believing that you can rely on yourself to complete the exam is really going to help. So, in these really difficult times remind yourself that you have got this, you’re okay, and you’re more than capable of getting the exam done!

Feel like you’re in control

I have found I really start to panic when I don’t feel in control, especially when the deadlines start to pile up. In situations like these, I try to stay in control as much as I can by trying to be organised and avoid procrastinating. Of course, with the current climate, it is difficult to stay in control of absolutely everything as everything changes so quickly. However, I at least try and feel like I am in control, and it helps me cope with exams and other worries being in a lockdown (unfortunately) brings.

Make a plan of things to complete each day

Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying than making a to-do list and ticking off every task on the page. Making a plan of what I have to do in a day helps me visually see what I have to complete, and makes me more motivated to complete the tasks and tick the boxes. Even if a task is simple one like ‘tidy my desk before I start my exam’, planning what I need to do really helps me feel less stressed.

As well, planning things day by day as oppose to writing a weekly list is more beneficial for me (especially being in a lockdown) because you never know what might be around the corner! But again, investing in a diary and physically writing the tasks that need to be done helps me feel more in control and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Work smarter, not longer

During lockdown, it’s so easy to spend so long on a piece of work but not get very far with it. I am definitely guilty of watching a series in the background of writing an essay, and before I know it being three seasons too deep to stop. But I am trying to make the conscious effort to put my phone in a different room, turn my music off and minimalize any distractions. The times that I have worked smarter I have been more ‘in the flow’, completed my essays quicker and made much more conscientious points in my writing. Hence, working smarter is definitely something to do to cope with managing exams during lockdown. After all, the quicker it is done, the more time I have to watch the remaining seasons anyway!

Spend some time (virtually) with your support network during your breaks

Your support network is one of the best ways for you to be able to cope with your exams during lockdown. When I am feeling like exams are getting on top of me, a good rant with the girls or a cuppa with my mum really helps me de-stress and recoup. Sometimes, all you need is for someone to egg you on and remind you of how talented you are. As well, don’t forget that the university has support systems in place to utilise if you feel like you need them – they are there to help!

Please remember that if you ever feel like you need support or advice, our Student Support team is here for you. You can also email the team on: