It’s a truth universally acknowledged that exams are the worst thing ever invented in the history of education. Oh, you have deadlines? Have some exams to go with them! Holidays coming up? Nothing kills the Christmas spirit better than a good dose of exam panic. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for that last spurt of exams, TedX offers some great talks on education, learning and university life – here are a few that may just help you through exam week.

4 reasons to learn a new language

Linguist and Columbia professor John McWhorter

Nothing speaks ‘employability’ more than knowing a few languages. If you’re looking for reasons to learn a new language, you have them now. Yes, English is a versatile and fast-growing language, and it may seem like a bother to delve into less popular languages, but they are valuable and needed. And they surely make you stand out from the crowd.

What’s so sexy about math?

Mathematician Cédric Villani

Hate math? Get in line. Or watch this talk and let it change your mind. Math is complicated, but math is also beautiful. The very essence of your computer/laptop/tablet/smartphone is math. Geometry and trigonometry exists in nature, our love of biological symmetry is embedded in our psychology. So why not embrace what is already there?

Let’s teach for mastery – not test scores

Educator Sal Khan

Aside from giving you validation that exams are an invention of convenience not brilliance, this talk will definitely shine some light on a different perspective of education. Building a firm foundation is important in all areas of life, be it relationships, buildings, your bank balance or the road to a healthy lifestyle, but why do we so often skip over knowledge and education?

10 myths about psychology, debunked

Psychologist Ben Ambridge

For all you fellow psychology students, I’ve got you covered. Psychology is a relatively new field of science, and only recently has achieved a true structure. It is ever expanding, and seems to be almost self-aware. Because of this, and also due to media influence, there is a shroud of myths surrounding psychology, and this talk addresses just that. So don’t stay in the dark (not with the psychology exams approaching), educate yourself!

The power of believing that you can improve

Psychologist Carol Dweck

When motivation to go on lies low, there’s nothing better than words of inspiration and empowerment. You think your brain can’t handle any more? You feel overloaded and the problems seem too big? In this talk, Carol Dweck embarks on a journey to put that stress to rest and show you that you are capable of way more than you think you are.

How to learn from mistakes

Educator Diana Laufenberg

Perfection isn’t everything. Your degree classification isn’t everything. Students usually fear making mistakes – thinking that they are signs of a crisis – and not a developing personality or a creation of refined knowledge. All successes are built on mistakes, and they are just as, or even more important than your good grades. Therefore, you are warmly invited to make some more, but watch this talk first. ☺


Think of these talks being as important as studying, or as a very productive procrastination session. Exams will soon be over and done with, you can do it!

– Gabriele Misgirdaite, Student Assistant