An Extensive List of Songs That Will Keep You Sane This Revision Season

While the Easter vacation in America has connotations of partying, intoxication and relief from any academic worries (aka.the notorious Spring Break), at Oxford it’s a different story.

If you have exams in the summer, the joy of reunions with friends, family and most importantly your bed is outweighed by the relentless need to revise. Like most high-stress situations, people react in different ways, from floods of tears to outbursts of anger and everything in between. But regardless of which category you fall into, I have collated a sure-fire set of tunes to alleviate the madness associated with revision and keep you somewhat sane during this emotional period of time.

The Wallower

These people’s preferred course of treatment is one which is completely illogical; when they are in a difficult situation, they embrace their discontent with open arms and listen to downbeat, dreary songs in order to relish in it. They listen to these songs and enter an alternate reality whereby their entire life is a Gossip Girl-like teen drama. These play during a scene where the camera slowly zooms in on them looking out of a window as the raindrops beat against it… if they haven’t been used for this purpose already.

  • Berlin – RY X

  • Thirteen – Elliott Smith

  • Angels – The xx

  • Fade into You – Mazzy Star

  • Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez

  • Mama You’ve Been on My Mind – Jeff Buckley

  • Shiver – Lucy Rose

The Resilient

These are the people we all aspire to be: the ones who tackle struggles head-on. When the going gets tough, this contingent put on ambient jams - sometimes lacking in lyrical content - and venture into a state of increased focus. These songs, however, are not necessarily fully melancholic in nature, they just inspire a more relaxed mindset to allow for rising above the stress and powering though.

  • Friends Cleanse – dné

  • Dawn – RY X

  • This Old Dog – Mac DeMarco

  • Thinking of a Place – The War on Drugs

  • Yes I’m Changing – Tame Impala


  • When Everything Was New - Flume

The Short-Tempered

The most natural response to extreme academic pressure is fury. When you read things that seem as if they will never make sense to you, it is understandable to place fault on the content itself. These songs are best accompanied by a session of throwing objects at walls and breaking pencils in half.

  • Yuk Foo – Wolf Alice

  • Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett

  • No Waves – FIDLAR

  • What Went Down – Foals

  • DNA – Kendrick Lamar

  • Fell in Love with A Girl – The White Stripes

The Inspired

When stress hits us like a ton of bricks, our musical heroes can provide us with a sense of motivation. These people play timeless, ground-breaking tunes and recite every word without fail. They draw on their idols’ major success through hardship and are, in turn, gifted with a much-needed confidence boost. Self-mediated pep talks such as “If Adele can win 6 Grammys in one year, then I can ace my exams” come to mind.

  • Irreplaceable – Beyoncé

  • Rolling in the Deep – Adele

  • I’d Rather Go Blind – Etta James

  • King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar

  • Ordinary People – John Legend

  • Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac

  • Green Light – Lorde

The Dancer

Often the party animals of their friendship groups, these people think forward to the post-exam boogies that await them. When these people grow tiresome of the mental hole that revision stress has dug for them, they dance their way out of it (usually with the help of caffeine). The motivation behind getting through this time for them is seeing the flashing club lights at the end of the tunnel.


  • Daffodils – Mark Ronson ft. Kevin Parker

  • Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem

  • Perfect Places – Lorde

  • Nuggets – Mura Masa ft. Bonzai

  • On Top – Flume ft. T-Shirt

  • Eeehhh – SOPHIE

Of course, these categories are not mutually exclusive - some people’s listening habits may overlap with all five groups. Nevertheless, with any luck these song recommendations will provide you with ways to overcome the ceaseless monster that is revision. If they don’t help, at the very least, you may have found some new hot tracks to add to  your existing playlists.


MusicOllie WebbComment