JJ Lee gives us his best advice for a soundtrack to lead you right through the exam process.
Exam season is arguably the time when a great album or playlist is most needed. Whether it be chill out choons, motivational medleys or post-exam depression sessions, music is vital to maintaining a level head throughout the assessment period.
It’s half 6 in the morning, you’re groggy, hungry and generally teetering on the edge of packing it all in and texting your mother: “Nah Mam I’m dropping out, have the dinner ready for 6, g'luck”. These fleeting moments ahead of launching yourself head first into revision for a module you’ve never even attended before can be vital. My prescription is something upbeat to kick start your day, a high tempo anthem to awaken that dormant scholar within you. Trust me, your housemates will love being awoken to the sounds of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ before the sun even rises. For maximum effectiveness, I recommend playing this at levels that will do long term damage to your eardrums. Subsequently supplement this with a dose of DJ Khaled’s classic “All I Do Is Win’, swiftly followed by Fatboy Slim’s 'Right Here, Right Now' and you should be at this point ready to single handedly stop ISIS and cure world hunger; revising for a little exam is but a doddle.
During the actual study session itself, a more laid back approach is in order. The motivational stage is over but actually trying to concentrate on mundane topics such as calculus or Roman History whilst you have the power of a thousand burning suns coursing through your body can be quite difficult. Soothing sounds are required and one cannot go wrong with a shot of Enya; ‘Caribbean Blue’ & ‘Orinoco Flow’ are the perfect side dish to compliment a main course of intensive revision. If the dream-like nature of the Donegal native is not to your preferred taste, I find Nirvana's 'Unplugged' to be some of the best study music out there. One can find great comfort and solace in Cobain’s sullen vocals as you begin to realize that after 8 hours of cramming, you are still truly and utterly screwed.
Pre-exam music is a must, whether it be in the hall 30 mins before you start the paper or on the Green Mile-esque journey to the venue. You will need to attain adequate levels of bad-assery before sitting the paper, this is all about building confidence, leading to that big crescendo. You cannot go wrong with taking a page from Conor McGregor’s book by bellowing out abit of The Chieftain’s 'Foggy Dew'. In the Dubliner’s own words, he states: “That’s some real Irish shit right there. That’s war shit.” And that’s what this is, a war. You will inevitably grapple and brawl with this paper, you need to be mentally prepared for the battlefield you are about to enter. Eminem’s 'Lose Yourself', Rage Against The Machine’s 'Wake Up' and Metallica’s 'Enter Sandman' are vital in this scenario. You’ve got this.
These are some of my preferred tonics around this stressful time of year. However, everyone has their own predilections and I would encourage everyone to just listen to whatever relaxes them and helps them out in whatever way possible. Spotify have wonderful playlists for all types of moods, to motivating, to relaxing and for coping with that post-exam sadness (warning, last playlist may contain near fatal levels of James Blunt). Best of luck to all!