Whether we should face the slings and arrows of studying in the run up to Christmas or despair the holidays worrying about the inevitable study afterwards, the argument continues, should exams be before or after the Christmas break?

For universities such as the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), students begin their first semester at the end of August, which allows plenty of time until December exams.

However Maynooth University is one of the few colleges that give their students a well deserved break before delving into revision.

Opinion varies on the subject, some students prefer to get the first semester completed before they enjoy their holidays in peace, stress free. Others gladly accept a three to four week gap between finishing end-of-year assignments and beginning examinations.

This is an important implication to consider, as many students are forced to work part-time along with their studies and are worn out at the end of semester one. This break can be quite refreshing for those who are employed, who fell ill during term or who simply need a reboot after submitting work throughout term.

There are many factors that can go wrong at college, maybe you got off to a wrong start, perhaps living conditions are not going well, poor diet, insomnia or homesickness.

By surrounding yourself with family and old friends from home, students can gain that boost they need before tackling course work that may or may not determine their overall degree mark. Returning to college with rest and nutrition can result in a successful study week in preparation for the exam.

On the other hand, one must consider the fact that students who sit an examination before Christmas are facing a paper with course material still fresh in their mind.

There is no gap between lectures and the actual test which can be an encouraging factor to exams before Christmas. It can seem much easier to being a semester knowing that the material being studied will be applicable in a matter of months, prompting a learn-it-now attitude where students work harder to achieve the desired result on time.

Examinations are the most stressful time of the year for students. Whether or not you put in the work and effort throughout term, the study period can be very demanding and stressful. Perhaps exams are better placed in January when students are presented with a gap between essay deadlines and revision.


Photo: Jack Hynes/ Flickr