What a week in an advertising agency taught me about revising for exams

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Exam season is nearing and it’s time to put down the drinks (for now) and start picking up the huge books you’ve been avoiding. As it turns out, we’re not the only ones faced with this persistent fear: advertising agencies also face similar stresses when nearing the deadlines of client pitches. So I have compiled some top tips that I picked up from working in an advertising agency that we can all use to make our revision term an enjoyable one! Ok, that may be a bit ambitious, but at least to make it a less stressful one.

Plan, plan, plan

Advertising agency Account Planners are the masters of organisation (clue is in the name). They outline clear timelines of their projects in order to make sure they are working according to schedule and also to ensure that their clients are aware of the deadlines of the project. One of my tasks during my work experience week involved typing up a handwritten timeline into a calendar that would span an entire wall so that the Account Planners could clearly see what they needed to do and when. Seriously, these people love their timelines! Make sure to use this in your own revision: create a timetable to ensure that you give yourself enough time to cover all topics confidently and in detail before the exam.

Use a range of techniques

One of the things that is never in short supply in an advertising agency is stationary. I witnessed people from all departments use whiteboards, sticky notes, posters and more to explain their ideas both to their colleagues and to their clients. Ideas were transformed from simple brainstorms on a piece of paper to full-blown PowerPoint presentations. When revising for exams, try different revision techniques to find out what works best for you. Using a range of techniques will encourage your brain to think about the information in a different way and may increase your chances of remembering it. Don’t be afraid to pick up those post-it notes!

Take breaks

Advertising agencies often have a coffee area where employees will go to have a drink or snack and chat with a fellow colleague in order to take a short break from their work duties. I was lucky enough to work in an agency that had a staffed coffee bar that served fresh coffee and tea everyday. The point of the story (apart from coffee = life) is that breaks are not only acceptable, but they are also necessary. Make sure to schedule regular breaks during your revision periods in order to maximise the effectiveness of your studying.

Ask for help

The agency I worked in had a chat option available where every employee could contact any other employee in the company to ask for help, suggestions, advice or simply for a chat over coffee. When doing your own revision, don’t be afraid to get in touch with people you know and ask for help if you are struggling with a certain topic. Try making a revision group chat with some tripos friends to exchange notes and advice and schedule some much deserved coffee breaks!

Mila Mundrova

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