I have had a few requests to do some more school and sixth form related posts, as I haven’t posted much studying content in ages. However, now exam season is quickly approaching I have planned in a couple of studying posts to help people study effectively during the holidays, and although they are pretty A level specific they could work for anyone doing exams (all the way from GCSE to degree level) and are wanting to utilise their time and study effectively in this super stressful time. Easter is a good time to really increase your revision and begin to dedicate your life to it as the run up to exams becomes even more imminent. If there is one thing I am good at it is time management and organisation so I’m hoping that I can pass some tips and tricks onto you!
These photos are definitely not me showing you how to study effectively… instead doing the complete opposite at The Botanist last month!
Make a plan (and stick to it!)-
If you aren’t going to do it now you will never do it, so spend an hour or so at the beginning of the holiday actually planning out your time and you will naturally become more productive because you know what you need to do. I made a huge list divided into the amount of days I had to revise, and then I wrote down very specifically (e.g: each topic) what I wanted to get done each day. It worked really well as I am the kind of person that woke up and wouldn’t stop working until everything on the list was done. Some people make a timetable but they just don’t work for me and actually stress me out more than they motivate me, but you need to find the best method for you. Hopefully you will have found out what works best and makes you study effectively by now!
You need to limit as many distractions as you can so that you have as much time to do focused revision and therefore study effectively as possible. Here are a few of the main ones:
- Explain to your family the situation and the fact that you need to spend a lot of time revising, and if you talk to them about it then they will understand that revision is your priority for this holiday.
- Put your phone on do not disturb! I used to put it on do not disturb and then check it on the hour, so I had something to look forward to for a break. The nature of my life with my blog (and now my business) means that I can’t just lock my phone away in a cupboard for a whole day, but making a time where I can check it meant that I wasn’t just being distracted. If you can be without your phone, do it. It makes you so much more productive if its not going off all of the time! If you find it hard not going on your phone, I would recommend watching a real time study with me (such as this one) to help you study effectively… as then you can’t go on your phone as you will be watching a video on it!
- Get all your food and drinks before you sit down and start. This is because it is very easy to resemble a yo-yo as you go to and from the fridge to procrastinate and actually get no work done for the whole day. I have been guilty of that before!
Prioritise the harder work-
Don’t spend your days going through easy things, as although it might make you feel better about the whole situation, these things will come naturally to you in the exam. Whilst you have around 2 weeks solely dedicated to revision, make it your mission to learn how to pick up marks in the areas that you have no idea on. Take time to watch youtube videos on the topic, read up around the area and make notes. It is best to struggle now and find your weaknesses so that you can ask your teachers for help before the exams, rather than struggle and get yourself worked up the night before. It might be hard to learn the hardest topics and you might be frustrated, but just think of the satisfaction when you know that you have smashed the hardest topic in the exam.
As much as going into school/college in the holidays is nobody’s idea of fun, it needs to be done and I promise that it will really help you. Not everyone will go, so there are less students to the teacher so it is an amazing time to really get some tailored tuition on the harder topics. It definitely helped me last year and I wouldn’t have got the grade I did if I hadn’t had attended them all, especially for economics. A lot of the time schools and colleges are open right the way through the holidays, so check and utilise this if you need to. Last year I went to the sixth form library a lot because it was quiet, and it became quite a social atmosphere after a while because a few people came into work each day and we ended up having our breaks together. One of the best revision days I have ever had was actually in the library, with 4 of my geography friends. We all just sat down and went through the whole spec cover to cover, helping each other out and then in our breaks we had a laugh and had lunch together. It made it a lot more fun than being sat on our own and we all bounced off each other, and motivated each other to study effectively (well most of the time!).
Utilise your teachers-
This leads on from the last point, but please utilise your teachers as that is what they are there for. Last year at A level I spent so much time emailing teachers back and forth and every day I ended up going to their office to fire questions at them. I even got them to mark all of my past papers, so that I could have as much feedback as possible. They must have genuinely hated me! They have the knowledge that you need, so use them whilst you can. I find that talking through things also helps me a lot, so I think they got very bored of me rocking up to their office and asking hundreds of questions daily. Its their job to help so utilise them all to their full potential, as they know the content much better than you do.
Use the two part rule to study effectively-
I do this all year round on studying days, but I thought to include this in this post in case you have never heard of this tip before. I would definitely recommend it! If you divide your day up into 3 sections (morning, afternoon and evening) then you have to make yourself work for 2 of the 3 sections. I prefer to work in the morning but that is definitely personal preference, so this allows you to have some flexibility but still get everything you need to do done. One of my friends even adds night into that section because she will study effectively when it is the middle of the night (literally she gets up at 2:30am to work… she is crazy) but if that works for you then do it. Definitely not my idea of fun though, I need a goods night sleep!
I really hope that these tips were useful, they are all tried and tested by me and they work well but I hope they work well for you too. I will be so happy if you try them and they make you more motivated to study effectively, please let me know if you try any of them out! The fact that you are reading this right now means that you want to do well, and I am sure that you are going to smash it. Work hard, keep pushing forward even harder and you will get everything that you want. Stamina is difficult but sleep as much as possible, keep summer and all of your fun plans in mind and just do it. It is the last push right now and you will thank yourself for it when you get your results back!