The Easter holidays marks one of the last long breaks students have before their summer or department exams.
So whether you’ve been hard at work all year, or are just starting now, getting the head down for some good study over these two weeks could really make an impression in your exam success!
And part of that exam success is being organised in how you study and arrage your time.
So put down the chocolate and step away from the television…it’s time to crack the “how to study” egg!
To help you organise your study during the Easter holidays, just think E-A-S-T-E-R!
There are lots of extra grinds and exam preparation courses available over these two weeks. If you feel you could do with some additional help for a subject or two, enrol in one of these courses. I did one for French, and it was a fantastic help. They really focus in fast on what you need to know. They can give you a great confidence boost.
They will give you a focus and a structure to your day that perhaps you might not have had if you were to study alone.
How are you feeling about the upcoming exams? Are you nervous but feel ok? Or are you totally panicing and completely overwhelmed at the prospect?
At this time of the year and coming closer to the exams, don’t keep your nerves and fears bottled up. If you need a hand, Ask!
Let your parents know how you’re feeling. Or maybe could you ask a teacher for extra help? Or a friend or relative? Maybe they mightn’t be able to help with everything, but sometimes just having someone to listen to us talk can make us feel better. Sometimes talking is the solution.
Remember, that at the end of the day, it’s only an exam. Some of the most successful people in the world didn’t do well in school and they got on just fine. There are always other options. It’s so important to talk and ask for help if you are panicing.
In school you have a timetable that tells you which class you have, when and for how long. When you are scheduling your exam study, you need to create a timetable such as this but adapt it for yourself and your life at home.
Start your day at 9am and work until 12 or 1pm as you would in school. Allow yourself an hour or an hour and a half for your lunch break and resume your afternoon study around 2pm. Structure your afternoon study from 2pm to 5pm and then break for dinner, sport, your favourite TV programme etc.
By breaking up your day of home study into segments similar to your school day (morning study/ pre-lunch study/ post-lunch study), you will get a lot done in a structure that you’re familiar with already.
If you would like or need to study in the evening, start again around 7pm and work for an hour or two until 9pm. Stop then and give yourself time to unwind before going to bed.
By organising your time like this, you are maintaining the routine that school has established. A day like this will give you between 6 and 9 hours of study.
Repeat this structure from Monday to Friday as you would do in school.
Once you have broken down your day into segments, just like your school timetable, you need to assign a subject to a block of time. This is the last piece of the puzzle when creating a study schedule.
When allocating time to your study remember:
- Give your weakest subjects most of your time:
Whether it’s your weakest subject or the one you hate the most, it’s important to do a little bit of this subject every day. I’m sure you really don’t want to do that as it’s your worst subject, but by ticking away at it, you might actually get used to the subject and you will stay on top of it and advance your knowledge of it.
- Allocate time to test yourself:
Exam boards and teachers are testing you on what you know. However, exams test many other skills that we can bring with us through life. They’re testing your ability to work under pressure and your time management. Both skills are very important later for university and future employment.
So use some of your study time to test yourself and get used to writing under time pressure. You could do this daily by taking a segment of an exam paper and testing yourself on it for an hour. Or you could test yourself once a week and give yourself a two or three hour time slot to try an entire paper.
It will show you where you run out of time and which pieces of the exam paper you are better at than others.
- Recognize when your best & worst times of day are:
Are you better in the morning or are you more of a night owl? We all have different times of the day when we feel good and then other times when we lag a bit. When you are deciding what times to study, go with the times you feel best. Put the subjects that need extra attention into your schedule at your peak time of day.
I know it’s so hard to pull yourself out and do some exercise when you don’t have exams to study for, so it’s even harder to do some when you’re up the walls with exam prep. You don’t have the time and you’re too tired.
But ya gotta do it!
It doesn’t have to be much. A simple twenty minute walk around the block every day will do. Just get outside, get some fresh air, experience a different environment around you and give your brain a chance to breath and compute everything it’s taking in. It could even be an excuse to meet up with a friend for a half hour.
Why not try some exercise if you are having a bit of an energy slump? Or if study is just not going well, leave it for a bit, take a walk and come back to it. There are loads of sport you could do in short bursts:
- Go for a cycle, a walk or a run
- Run up & down the stairs
- Jumping jacks
- Roller blading
- An exercise game on the Wii or other console
- Cut the grass for your mother!
…Etc etc…Whatever it is, get yourself up and about so that you’re not sitting down all day long. Give your brain a rest and give your heart a bit of a workout instead!
Just like with exercising, remember to take time out to rest. Everyone needs a break.
Take time out with friends, enjoy dinner with your family, sit and veg out in front of the TV. Do normal stuff away from the books.
And don’t forget to sleep! Of course, there’s going to be the odd night of cramming – we’ve all been there, done that. But don’t go nuts. Get to bed at a good hour most nights. Being fully asleep before midnight is the key to a good night’s rest. You’ll be able to get through a lot more work the next day if you do.
Allowing yourself some guilt-free relaxation will make your study time much more efficient, you’ll recall information better and you’ll work quicker if you give yourself good rest breaks.
So that’s it! A little E-A-S-T-E-R revision will really help. Give the exams your best shot. That’s all anyone can ever do with anything in life.