The promise of a long hot summer and lots of exams – two things that don’t go together

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A COUPLE of decades ago this time of year would be a time which filled me with panic.

Most people are now packing away winter woollies and exchanging them for more eye-catching summer wear while wondering what to do with long hot days and nights.

Should they have a barbecue or a take-out al fresco….

Now I find at long last I am one of these people. And I am very much looking forward to the end of this week, in particular, as there is supposed to be a heat wave.

But just a short time ago I would have been cursing the heat as there is nothing worse than being stuck indoors just as the weather gets good. Especially if you have to be stuck indoors in order to revise for exams.

Each year I would cancel out May and June in my head as I knew they meant exam after exam after exam. And for several years this seemed to be the case – GCSEs, A Levels, degree and even post graduate exams.

My room would be littered with ring binders stuffed with A4 papers as I hastily tried to cram everything I had learned over the course of a year into my frazzled brain.

I knew all the things you were meant to do – get enough sleep, break the revision down into “bite-size” portions, eat well and not study beyond a certain time. Sadly, knowing it didn’t mean I was able to do it.

Each year I would tell myself this year was going to be different. I would make notes to learn as I went along on my various courses, I would tell myself. Then I would spend a certain amount of time actually going through these notes. I even made beautiful wall planners.

But the reality was that the exams seemed to suddenly appear and I would realise with a sinking stomach that I actually only had a few short days left to cram as much detail into the brain box before it was too late. I would pray that the bits I had done more work on were in fact the bits that were going to come up in the exams.

And that time of year is upon us once again. And the people I most admire are not the young students – instead it is the people who decide to go back into education later in life.

I have seen first hand what a struggle this can be.

My eldest child’s best friend’s mother is in the final throes of her college exams at the moment. She is on course to go on to university next term. All while raising her seven-year-old daughter single-handedly. I really don’t know how she does it all. I found it hard enough as a no-responsibility student.

Anyone who needs a helping hand to help study should visit:

And Sheffield City Council and Sheffield NHS have tips on stress control. Visit: