Student Issues

Opinion Piece: Before or After Christmas – When is the Best Time For Exams?

No matter what time of the year it is, exam season is stressful, demanding, and in some cases all round traumatic period for students. The fact that they fall around Christmas time is even crueller; as everyone prepares for the holiday season by making gingerbread houses and decorating the Christmas tree, students are confined to cramming all the semesters’ coursework rather than enjoy the festivities. Nobody wants exams, but is it easier to have them before or after Christmas?

In my humble opinion, as a Maynooth student who must face her exams in the cold dark month of January, I would STRONGLY recommend having exams before Christmas.

Having exams after Christmas is so incredibly infuriating and torturous (not to sound too over-dramatic). In first year, when my exams were easy and care-free, it didn’t bother me as much, but now that exams have become more demanding, studying over Christmas is rotten. Missing out on the celebrations and nights out because you’re cooped up inside studying isn’t exactly the ideal way to spend Christmas.

Most college students work part-time in retail or service focused areas and often Christmas is the busiest time of year for these industries. If you’re expected to work over Christmas how are you going to incorporate study into this already busy timetable? I’ve requested time off work during the upcoming Christmas period and I can only pray that I’ll be accommodated but if not, it will be very difficult to try and work as well as study during the busiest time of the year.

It is worth noting, however, that there are aspects to having exams after Christmas that are beneficial. The extra two weeks of study before they start can often be useful and better than having just one study week before your exams.

Having them in January means that you have more time at the start of December to buy presents and focus on assignments, and exams haven’t exactly crossed your mind just yet. This extra time is vital for students, as the pressures of Christmas exam season can start to take its toll not so long after. January exams also mean you get to see your college friends early in the new year, rather than waiting around for a month back home before you get to meet up again.

Nevertheless, I will always maintain my strongly held opinion that exams are SO much better before Christmas, however, I have been told by my friends from other colleges that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.