6 things to pack in your exam cram survival kit


Photo of a planner, mobile phone and coffee

Exams are here!  To help you stay hydrated and fresh for finals, we’ve put together the ultimate exam cram survival kit. Here are six items you absolutely must have for Exam Week(s):

#1 Planner

Get organised, get a planner!

Having a hard copy planner can make you feel like you are on top of things, even if you just have all your exam dates written down.  But if you make the effort to purchase one, you might as well use it, right?

Be sure to pencil in times to eat and sleep. You laugh now, but trust me, your tummy will be thankful your planner forced you to eat at 8pm before another all-nighter in the library. If it’s written down, you are required to do it (it’s like a contract with your future self).

#2 Warm clothes

Although the library is usually a warm, comfy place to bunker down with snacks, study notes and studious friends, you may start to feel the chill in the early morning hours (or when your study cuddle buddy refuses to be your human hot water bottle for a minute longer).

In our humble opinion, a warm, cosy pair of socks takes the exam survival kit from meh to marvellous. Who can study effectively when they have cold tootsies? No one.

A hoodie is also a necessity for when the temperature drops (can also be substituted for a blanket).

#3 Chewing gum

So when you are pulling an all-nighter in the library, you probably aren’t thinking about the disgusting food remnants decaying on your teeth because you haven’t brushed.

But we are, and it’s gross. So gross. Now you could be the epitome of dental hygiene and throw a toothbrush and toothpaste in your survival kit, but we are sticking with chewing gum.

And why, you ask? Well, it serves two purposes. It not only keeps your mouth fresh, it has been scientifically proven to help you concentrate.

The researchers say that gum increases the flow of oxygen to regions of the brain responsible for attention. More oxygen can keep people alert and improve their reflexes. Check out the 2014 British Journal of Psychology study here.

#4 Snacks

As much as we want to treat you to a Violet Crumble, a packet of Cheezels, a few Caramello Koalas, and a box of barbeque Shapes, these snacks will merely satisfy your taste buds, not your brain.

Research has shown that certain foods have nutrients that can strengthen our memory or ability to focus.

And that’s why we are throwing some blueberries into our virtual exam cram survival kit. According to studies at Tufts University, the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss.

Read the BBC Good Food article on ’10 foods to boost your brainpower’ for other foods you should start eating RN.

#5 Water bottle

A gigantic bottle of water is going into our exam cram survival kit. Not juice, not soda, not a thermos of coffee. Just good ol’ H20.

Studies have shown that a dehydration level of just 2% of your body weight reduces your thinking functions, so it makes sense that being well-hydrated is important for your mental performance.

#6 Fun distractions

It’s important to take regular breaks from studying, according to science. And that’s why we are packing a fun distraction in our exam cram survival kit.

The challenge is deciding what to pack. Something literary, like a novel or magazine? Something physical, like a yoga mat or stress ball (are these even still a thing?)? Or maybe just some music?

Social media is a fun distraction. And, surprisingly, it’s not the most awful thing to be doing on your break. Studies have shown that looking at cute kittens and puppies on Instagram or YouTube could help improve your performance. Check out our article here.