May 10, 2019

Survival Guide For Hell: Assignments and Test Season

Learn how to survive assignment and test season. From referencing to sleeping.

Survival Guide For Hell: Assignments and Test Season

Congratulations and welcome back to Hell. From now until exam season, you will test your limits physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t worry though, the whole student body is with you, including me.

How I Survive When It Comes To:

  1. Referencing
  2. Coding
  3. Sleep Deprivation

1: Referencing

Ever heard of writer’s block? You’re going to face writer’s great wall of China.

If your assignments are referencing intensive, find a reference manager and learn how to use it! It will save you so much time, and maybe, you'll be able to catch up on some sleep. Here are the ones that I recommend:

  • Quick cite (FREE) - The University of Auckland's quick reference guide (anyone can access this)
  • Bibme (FREE for 3 Days) – If your essays are due tomorrow and you don’t have time or energy to check your assignment. This will help you add citations and even suggest 20 grammatical changes.
  • Mendeley (FREE) - Imagine Adobe Acrobat Pro specially designed for dealing with journal articles. That's Mendeley; you're able to read, highlight, make notes, download in-text citations and reference lists from chosen articles.
  • RefWorks (Free with UoA e-mail) - If you're starting assignments early, I highly recommend using RefWorks for your entire research process. Here's a quick guide on how to use it.

Pro tips:

  1. Download the in-text citation tool for Chrome (for Mendeley), you’ll never have to manually download articles again, and it does all citations for you.
  2. Word Doc’s synonym feature will become your best friend.

2: Coding

If you’re doing Stats, Compsci and any other coding related courses at UoA, the Compsci and Stats labs in 303 are VERY helpful. In fact, I would recommend doing your assignments there, or at assistance rooms. You’ll meet other kindred souls and assignments will be done faster and with more confidence.

3: Sleep Deprivation

Have you ever gone to sleep tired, woke up more exhausted, and had to have a constant stream of coffee and energy drinks flowing through your veins to function? Here are some tips that may just help with that.

  • Work on achieving 7 to 8 hours of sleep, or as close as you can get - Follow this blog on 'How to Get MORE SLEEP' for top tips on the do's and don'ts of sleeping. Including how to survive in emergencies where you haven't slept in 3 days.
  • Use this Loophole with REM sleep Cycles - each REM cycle takes around 90 minutes to complete. If you need to sleep less, wake up at the end of a cycle rather than in the middle. This will cheat your body into thinking it's fine with sleeping less cycles (Word of Caution: Do not use this in the long-term. It will shorten your life span).

Use these apps:

Still feeling like this?

or this:

Additional Things To Increase Survival Chances

  1. Find a “time out” activity: Find something you can do that will take your mind of life for a bit. A common one is going to the gym or watching a Youtube video.
  2. Treat yourself:  A nice meal can do wonders for you. Luckily, you won’t have to break the bank with budget-friendly recommendations and deals, courtesy of the Niesh app (Apple and Android) and Auckland Coupon Guru blog posts.
  3. Find your designated support group: Misery loves company, and company motivates and reminds you why you're still choosing to torture yourself. These 6 weeks will strengthen the bonds you have like no other.
  4. If all else fails, remember student perks!

As always, if you found anything here helpful, have more tips to share and/or even have a topic idea, feel free to reach out to me at

Thanks for reading all the way, as a token of my appreciation. Enjoy these relatable memes on being students: