Five ways to survive the exam season
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Five ways to survive the exam season

For those studying marketing at university or as part of ongoing professional development, exam season looms. Here’s how these industry high fliers managed their workload and kept stress at bay to ace their finals.

“Diarise when you plan to study and stick to it like any other appointment”

Katrina Cliffe, founder of KC Communications: “I’ve just finished my second CIM Diploma in Web Analytics and Social Media Monitoring, at the same time as running a fast-growing agency and raising a young family. My tip for reducing stress is to plan – everything. Diarise when you plan to study and stick to it like you would any other appointment. Down time is also a must. Listening to guided meditation before I went to sleep helped me wind down quickly after a full day working and an evening hitting the books. It allowed my mind to switch off so I got proper, restful sleep.”

“Finding new places to revise like public libraries or cafés helps keep you fresh”

Jonathan Burton, account executive at communications agency Citypress: “This time last year I was at Manchester Metropolitan University sitting my final year Marketing Management BA (Hons) exams. One thing that really helped me was mixing up where I was revising. I found sitting in the same spot in the university library every day too daunting and intense. Finding new places, like different public libraries or overstaying my welcome in a nice café, helped take the edge off. I also kept active by jogging or going to the gym, where I could really switch off from study mode. It paid off – I was really pleased to graduate with a first!”

“Do the most difficult revision when you peak during the day”

Andrea Sexton, founder of Andrea Sexton PR: “As well as running my own PR and marketing company, I recently completed an MSc in Strategic Marketing. My tips are these: pinpoint the time of day you operate best and do the most difficult revision then. Do short chunks of work and reward yourself with a nice coffee or a short walk. Take satisfaction in ticking topics off your list and what you’ve achieved today.”

“Take your studying in bite-sized chunks”

Polly Buckland, managing director of The Typeface Group: “I studied for a Professional Diploma in 2008/9 while in full-time work at BMW and pregnant with my first child. I vividly remember completing my final module while breastfeeding my newborn baby. My advice would be to take your studying in bite-sized chunks. Read, make notes and tailor your study environment to whatever suits you. I hate silence so I’d always have music in the background. My commercial experience combined with a professional qualification led me to founding my now-thriving business.”

“Take some exercise to get a well-timed endorphin rush”

Emma Critchley, PR and marketing manager at TLC marketing. “My advice would be to exercise. You cannot underestimate the power of a well-timed endorphin rush to reduce stress! It could be as simple as going for a short walk, jog, or something more vigorous like a 45-minute high intensity training session. If possible, get outside, and get the air into your lungs. There’s nothing more depressing than realising it is 7pm and you’re still in your pyjamas.”

“Stay on top of developments in the real world of marketing”

Danielle Gamage, marketing communications intern and a student of Bournemouth University and CIM: “I aim to be commercially aware of new brands, new technologies and emerging markets (and the career opportunities they present). It really helps when thinking of relevant examples that back up an argument you’ve made in an exam or when you need a good case study for an assignment. It’s important to stay on top of it all, even if it is just light reading on the Tube in the morning.”

Claire Lavelle Journalist and Content Creator
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