GCSE, A level or Degree the season is enclosing upon us all. It is that dreaded time of year for most people aged between 14-24 where we start working out how hard we are going to have to work to make up for our Netflix habit over the last the year. The stationary comes out, facebook blocks go on and we develop a caffeine problem that shouldn’t reach us until much later in our lives. Exam season is close, but worse still revision season is fully upon us.
For me, the revision period is so much worse than the exams themselves, stress, pressure and no closure. At least in the weeks of the exams, we come home knowing we have one less 3-hour paper to sit before the sweet release of summer. Revision season is Sleep, Eat, Revise, (cry), repeat. But here are some tips that I have found most useful in how to stay sane and productive during the period….
- Schedule your time
This is essential for prolonged productivity. Not only can you make sure every subject area gets the necessary coverage but you also avoid a lot of wasted time at the start of the day where you sit there and wonder hmmmm what will I learn today. While rigid scheduling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea it helps to provide structure to otherwise very loose time. You should try and stick to this routine if its long study periods and 1 long break or intermittent periods of study and breaks (1hr on 10 minutes off etc.). Find what works for you and try and stick to it. This helps improve productivity but also this time management will mean that all your classes get the attention they require.
2. Know how you learn best
There are a million different ways to revise depending on the type of exam but also you as a person. While it might seem silly to people around you if it is helping you learn then keep doing it.I start my revision with making neat and colourful notes in a dedicated book for each of my classes, even when it feels like copying things down the repetition helps me process information better. Then later I use these notes to help me as I go through past questions and mock exams. Some people learn through audio, with visual aids or just through reading. It doesn’t matter how you learn but establishing it early on will benefit you hugely. Try a few different techniques and see what works best for you.
3. Schedule your breaks too
Free time is often as important as the time spent learning, a tired brain isn’t going to function as effectively. Make sure you are taking regular breaks where you can guilt freely remove yourself from your books. Have a snack or a drink, quick exercise, read a fun book or watch a quick episode of something light. Also here know the extent of your procrastination problem, if you are allowing yourself a 30-minute break don’t watch something where the episodes are 44-minutes because you know you won’t stop watching. Also make sure you are looking after yourself properly in these breaks, proper diet, hygiene and sleep are important during study days, your body can’t function if it’s not being looked after.
4. Create separate space for work and breaks
Even if you’re just working in your bedroom or kitchen I have found that I am most productive when I have a dedicated workspace where I don’t do anything else. As soon as the timer for my break goes off, I get up and move away from my books, pens and laptop. I might only go across the room to sit on the sofa but I have left that space. This helps create boundaries and should help to make your breaks more relaxing but also your work more productive. Especially when revising on a laptop it can be really tempting to go ohh I’ll just check facebook or there was one thing I wanted from amazon. I know that as soon as I sit down at my makeshift desk area its business and as soon as I stand up I can breathe and relax.
5. Stay hydrated
I’ve blogged before about the ridiculous boost that staying properly hydrated has given me. But even more so during revision periods when so many of us are reliant on coffee and other caffeine filled drinks to keep us going, it is so important to keep drinking water. Too much caffeine can have the opposite than desired effect, making you jittery and removing focus. Keep drinking water and you’ll stay healthy and attentive during revision.
Just remember that this too shall pass.
Good luck with all of your exams and I hope you get the results you’ve worked for. Keep looking after yourself and remember that summer is coming.