Ground Control to Major Tom, exams are nearing but there’s something wrong


It’s been a year since Bowie’s passing yet his words are eternal. Let’s revisit this post where we used Bowie’s wisdom to show you how to survive your January exams… 

David Bowie: icon, songwriter and musical genius. But did you know that many of his song lyrics and quotes are applicable to your January exams? Let’s kick off with Space Oddity and how it quite nicely parallels what you’re feeling right now:

I’m stepping through the door / And I’m floating in a most peculiar way/ And the stars look very different today/ For here / Am I sitting in a tin can / Far above the world / Planet Earth is blue / And there’s nothing I can do

Back in December, when the weather was mild and the mince pies were rampant, those January exams seemed so far away… Revision seemed like a reasonable and attainable goal. But now you’re in a free-fall, detached; the last of your hope slipped away when you watched Sherlock over the weekend.  Okay, so you’ve not necessarily got time on your side, but now’s the time to put on those red shoes and dance through the blues.

Sailors fighting in the dance hall / Oh man! Look at those cavemen go / It’s the freakiest show / Take a look at the Lawman / Beating up the wrong guy / Oh man!

Unlike the Lawman, make sure you know your enemy. Don’t waste time trying to defeat new obstacles or cram in new information. Instead, consolidate what you know and practice a past paper. It’s always helpful to know what you’re up against! Check out our tips for the best ways to prepare for every type of exam: open texts, spoken, short answer and essay-based exams. Roll on up, we’ve got you covered.

Ground Control to Major Tom / Take your protein pills /and put your helmet on

You’re on a mission. Sure, it may not be a space mission but exams can be pretty demanding too. So make sure you eat and sleep properly. January is already pretty grim, don’t make yourself feel worse! Pulling an all-nighter means you risk falling asleep over your essays or equations. Making up for lack of sleep with energy drinks might make you feel pumped for the first part of the exam… but you’ll slump afterwards. Listen to Bowie when he tells you: “Wake up you sleepy head / Put on some clothes, / shake up your bed”. It’s also important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to eat something protein-y: tuna is the traditional brainfood, but you can always sub it out for chickpeas if you’re joining in Veganuary!

I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed

While getting lost is a great experience for a song lyric, it’s not so good when you only have 10 minutes until your exam starts. Get ready in advance. It’s much easier to concentrate on the exam in hand when you know when and where you need to be, what you need to bring with you and where it is, and how you’re going to get there. Here’s our handy exam checklist to help you get sorted on the day of.

Blue skies above / and sun on your arms / strength in your stride / And hope in those squeaky clean eyes

After the exam, don’t stress about it. Just enjoy some time to yourself. If you think you did badly, don’t dwell on it. Get some perspective & think of the bigger picture. If you’ve got another exam coming up, take some time to relax before getting prepared for the next one. Don’t overdo it though, as a night out might mean a day in nursing your head. Revision is already painful enough… save the hangover for when the exams are finished.

“I think I have done just about everything that it’s possible to do.”

Succinct and accepting words from the man himself. Remember that there is only so much you can do. Just follow the advice above and try your best. Before you know it, exam week will be over, the days will be getting longer and the shelves in Rootes Grocery Store will be increasingly stocked with chocolate… things are already looking up.

Ground Control to Major Tom, exams are nearing but there’s something wrong

We can be Heroes, just for one day

We can be us, just for one day

Now go and boss those exams!

Image: David Bowie, painted portrait _DDC2085/thierry ehrmann/CC BY 2.0

David Bowie Street Art/Observe The Banana/CC BY-NC 2.0

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