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Exams can be tough, so why not put together a thoughtful exam care package for your loved ones? At a time of year when sleep becomes sacred, showers become scarce and all-nighters are a lifestyle choice, college students may require a bit of a pick me-up to pull through. To help a loved one ace their exams, provide them with that extra bit of motivation they need with these thoughtful gift ideas.
An exam care package is a sort of treasure chest full of bits and pieces, some practical and some entertaining, intended to make exam preparation more comfortable. If you’re in need of some giftspiration, read on for ideas on what to include in a care package.
1. Ballpoint pens
The last thing a person needs while scribbling furiously through their exam paper is for their trusty pen to run out of ink halfway through. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you can supply your loved one with a pack of ballpoint pens that will get them through the exam season (if not the whole year!).
Meanwhile, if they also enjoy color-coding their notes, you could also include a pack of color gel pens [paid link], too!
2. Stress ball
Studying for an upcoming test or a final exam can be quite stressful, especially when you’re a college student. Many have found that having a sensory toy at hand can aid them with emotional stress relief, so including a colorful stress ball in your exam package is definitely a must, especially if your loved one tends to get anxious during exam season!
While it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet throughout the year, and especially during exam season, most students resort to fast and pre-made meals during finals. Some multivitamins, then, will definitely come in handy to keep their energy, immune system and metabolism in check as they attempt to learn a semester’s worth of knowledge over a fortnight!
4. Photo album
A great sentimental touch to your exam care package would be a photo album filled with pictures. While this might be a little more time-consuming to put together, it’s a great way to remind your loved one of some good times and that there is life beyond the walls of the library, where they’re probably spending all of their days at the moment!
5. Digital pen scanner
This gadget allows you to easily scan printed text into a Word document with a quick swiping motion. This is great for students, as it saves them valuable time when making notes. All you have to do is connect the pen scanner to your laptop or phone via Bluetooth and start making notes on the go!
6. Travel coffee press
For the coffee lover that is always rushing to get out the door first thing in the morning, this is a pretty sweet gadget. Bodum’s insulated travel press enables you to brew your favorite coffee or tea on the go — without wasting any time!
7. Instant food dishes
When you return home from a 12-hour shift at the library and there’s barely any time to cook dinner, these instant meals can be a lifesaver. However, unlike other heavily refined microwavable dishes, Annie Chun’s noodle bowls offer a much healthier twist. You could also include some breakfast items like Quaker’s instant oatmeal express cups [paid link].
8. Smart notebook
This smart notebook allows you to write, scan and transfer your notes on your devices. Its specialized pages can be written on, scanned, wiped clean and reused, making it a truly useful student gadget. So, instead of drowning in a sea of notes after every exam and test, your loved one can keep everything organized in digital folders.
9. Sticky notes set
A must-have item for every organisation enthusiast is a set of colorful sticky notes. Whether they’re for color-coordinating notes, sticking reminders around the house or scribbling notes and observations, sticky notes are always good to have around during exams.
Stationery is always a safe choice when assembling an exam care package. These pastel-colored highlighters won’t only be useful but also aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
11. Collapsible travel cup
If your loved one loves their take-out coffee, this collapsible cup is great to have stashed inside their bag. Plus, it’s an eco-friendly choice!
12. Instant coffee packets
These individual instant coffee packets are great to have around when the caffeine buzz starts to wear off halfway through a study session. These will also pair nicely with the collapsible coffee cup.
13. Tea assortment
If the person you’re creating the care package for isn’t much of a coffee drinker, you could opt to include an assortment of tea bags instead! A nice cup of tea is a great way to unwind after a long day of studying.
14. Collapsible water bottle
This collapsible water bottle certainly has an advantage over other reusable bottles, as it is both compact and light to carry around. Not only is it convenient but also an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bottles.
15. White noise machine
Sleep has been found to play a key role in exam success, but lots of students struggle to get some shuteye during revision and before big tests. This white noise machine can not only improve sleep quality but also lead to better focus and concentration.
16. Clean energy drinks
While energy drinks aren’t the healthiest thing, they are a staple in most students’ diet. When you’re running on four-hour sleep and have a deadline due the next day, you need something to keep you going. So, why not opt for a healthier option? The Pureboost clean energy drink mix is not only sugar- and preservative-free but is also packed with vitamins, electrolytes, minerals and amino acids.
No care package is complete without some chocolate! Indeed, if there is one time to indulge, it’s during the exam period! This variety pack comes in fun-sized portions which are easier to carry around in a rucksack or a coat pocket.
18. Fidget cube
When you’re spending hours on end studying, you begin to get a little restless and agitated, especially if you’re a hyperactive individual or have trouble concentrating. A great way to deal with this is having a compact fidget cube in close range. Not only can it reduce anxiety but also help students who develop nervous habits like nail biting and hair pulling when under pressure. So, this will be a good addition to any exam care ensemble.
19. Aromatherapy balm stick
Here’s another great idea for your exam care package. This portable aromatherapy balm stick can boost concentration and focus while studying or during an exam. Scentered also offers aromatherapy sticks that can relieve stress, promote happiness or better sleep.
20. Bath bomb set
Who doesn’t love a bubble bath? A bath bomb set is an excellent way to have a pampering session and destress after a long and tiring day.
21. Sheet masks
The student lifestyle is rarely a glamorous one but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Pair these cute masks with a bath bomb set and your loved one can have their very own DIY spa experience.
22. Scented candles
This lavender and coconut candle won’t only make a room smell fantastic but also put a smile on your loved one’s face every time they light it up.
Student halls tend to be loud throughout the year — and even more so during exam season. Having some earplugs lying around, then, is a pretty wise move.
24. Hot cocoa mix
You really can’t go wrong with hot chocolate — who doesn’t want a hug in a mug? Plus, cocoa powder has also been proven to improve mental performance among other things!
25. Inspirational pop-open cards
Sometimes, you just need some words of encouragement to get you through the day. This box filled with inspirational quotes and messages will brighten up your loved one’s day!
26. Cozy wearable blanket
Exam season can mean no time for getting dressed in the morning. For students who plonk themselves down at the desk in their pajamas, a cozy, wearable blanket like this one could be an ideal gift that brings joy.
27. House slippers
It’s a fact: exam season can transform college students into temporary recluses. For their solitary trips between the desk, the kitchen and the bathroom, memory foam slippers can provide extra comfort and warmth.
28. Desk organizer
Ever seen the desk of an anxious student? It’s a mess of Post-its, highlighter pens, and half-eaten snacks. As a tidy workspace translates into less time spent looking for things, a desk organizer like this could help your loved one stay focused for longer.
29. Indoor gardening kit
Plants offer us multiple health benefits, including reduced stress levels and heightened concentration. A DIY or grow-your-own kit like this can help students unwind after a long study session and add a bit of greenery to their workspace.
30. Laptop stand
Bad posture can lead to poor blood flow, neck pain, and decreased energy levels. An adjustable laptop stand could help your loved one safeguard both their health and productivity, by ensuring their screen is at eye level at all times.
31. 60-minute timer
A particularly useful gadget for students, the 60-minute timer helps improve time management and concentration. With it, students can practice solving past exam papers within a time limit. Alternatively, they can set an alarm for every hour of studying, as even short breaks can boost productivity.
32. Fidget pen
Fidget pens can transform nervous energy into small movements, to keep the endless foot tapping and nail biting to a minimum. If your loved one is particularly prone to anxiety, a simple fidget toy like this could make their study sessions a little more bearable.
33. Backpack with USB charging port
This water-resistant, durable backpack with a dedicated laptop compartment can keep students’ devices safe. With it, your loved one would also be able to keep a portable charger inside the backpack and thread a cable through to the outside, so they can continue using their phone on the go.
34. Guided breathing gadget
Have you heard of the benefits of intentional breathwork? Inhaling, holding your breath, and exhaling for a specific number of seconds each time is a great way to reduce stress and improve well-being. This gadget guides users through the process with its changing lights.
35. Coloring book for adults
Screen fatigue can be a real problem, especially during exam season. An adults’ coloring book can help your loved one rest their eyes and distract from the nervousness that precedes upcoming exams, all the while nourishing their imagination.
36. Charging station
Imagine getting to the library only to realize that your tablet is on 3%. That’s enough to ruin your day when you have a big test coming up! This charging station supports cables for multiple devices, so that all electronics are charged simultaneously. Plugging them all in at nighttime ensures a stress-free start next morning.
37. Mini blender
Berries, leafy greens, seeds… All of these foods are packed with nutrients that can do wonders for our health and brainpower. Buying a portable blender for your loved one will simplify the process of preparing vitamin-loaded smoothies at a period when saving time is vital.
38. Textured screen protector
If the college student in your life prefers a tablet for reading or taking notes, they’ll be grateful to receive a matte screen protector. These screen protectors are anti-glare and feel like paper to touch, which makes writing stuff down a lot easier compared to glossy screens.
39. Ergonomic computer mouse
For students who spend a lot of time using PCs, such as computer science undergrads, an ergonomic workstation is key in preventing repetitive strain injury. This ergonomic, wireless computer mouse is perhaps the ultimate gift in this case, as it keeps the hand in a more natural position during use.
40. Noise-canceling headphones
While some people concentrate better in silence, others seem to benefit from listening to some sort of background sound, like a music playlist or TV show. A pair of over-ear, noise-canceling headphones will cut out the noise for those who need it, or provide crisp-sounding tracks to those who don’t.
The recipe to a perfect exam care package is a combination of practical things, sentimental mementos and tasty snacks. Personalizing the contents is also key, so make sure to include their favorite treats within the ensemble!
That said, regardless of what you include in the parcel, this is a thoughtful gesture which shows how much you care, and which will surely be appreciated and will definitely jumpstart the exam season on a positive note!
What else would you include in an exam care package? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published 22 November 2020. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.