It’s the beginning of another year, and everyone seems to be putting together a long list of new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, they don’t always go according to plan, and people often give up after a couple of weeks. As students, however, we can’t let that happen! We need to try and stick to our study-related resolutions as much as we can, but how can we go about it?

  1. Getting into the Right Mind-set

It is tremendously difficult to force yourself to revise, especially when the people around you aren’t revising too.  The best way to motivate yourself during this tough time is to think about the results you’ll get from it. Yes, watching TV does sound like a good way to relax but it isn’t going to help you get any qualifications. Think of results day in August, when you will nervously turn up to school, sleepless as you were in anticipation of your results all night, and open your envelope slowly only to see ten 8s and 9s on your paper! When you get your results, all the hard work you put in will be worth it and what’s even greater is that you’ll get an extra-long summer to make up for the time you spent revising!

As well as motivating yourself with the time off you will have later, you must think of how significant your mock exams are. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that mocks are merely tests that the school use; they’re not official exams. This is true but these exams are a lot more important than you think. Mocks give you a clear idea of what level you’re working at now and what level you might get when it comes to the real exams. Therefore, it is incredibly important to revise for your mocks in the same way that you would revise for a public exam to get a clear idea of where you’re working and what you need to do to improve. Also, in extreme circumstances, mocks can have an impact on the actual grade you get. We need to prepare for the worst and, you never know, you could be ill on your exam day and this will significantly impact your performance, in fact, you might not even be able to sit the exam at all! In this situation, your school could apply for special conditions where the exam board take your mock and predicted grades into consideration to decide on your final grade. Reminding yourself of why these exams are so important will help to motivate you to revise.

      2. Making a Revision Timetable

So, you’re in the correct mind-set and ready to revise but there is one problem: where do you start? It can be quite overwhelming, looking at your abundant pile of textbooks, handouts and class notes without a clue about where to begin. The best way to start is to make a list of

all the things you have to revise for under sub-headings for each subject. This could be topics, like Trigonometry or Circle Theorems for Maths, or texts for English like Macbeth or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Then rank the topics from easiest to hardest so you know what areas you need to spend more time on.

Example revision time table during the holiday:

Example revision time table during term time:

You should revise for at least 3 hours on weekdays and 5 to 6 hours on weekends and your timetable should tailor to this. Decide on when you want to revise: do you feel more focussed early in the morning or are you more productive after school? Set your revision time accordingly giving yourself breaks often; some people like to revise for three hours then have an hour break, others prefer to study for 45 minutes then take a 5-minute break. It’s totally up to you and how you work but ensure that you are never too lenient on yourself and try your best to stick to your revision timetable. If something comes up and you can’t revise, add it onto another date, if you accidentally sleep in, do your revision in the evening. This type of discipline will put you into a familiar routine and ensure that you are able to focus your revision on the areas you need to.

These are the first steps to success; you need to get into the mind-set and plan your revision. In our next post, we’ll discuss how we you can revise and stick to your revision timetable instead of giving up as we often do with all our other new year’s resolutions!

School is finally finished for the summer holidays! After all the early mornings, mocks exams and copious amounts of homework, you are finally free! Of course, when you are relieved of all your school related stress, the last thing you want to be doing is revision, but if you’re in Year 10, Year 12 or you’re sitting your 11+ exams in September, the summer holidays are the last chance to catch up on work and up your revision game!

How to plan revision time

      When you’re on holiday, especially when it’s six-weeks long, it’s easy to procrastinate and delay your revision and homework to a later time. It becomes incredibly difficult to motivate yourself; when you could sit and watch Netflix all day or go out and enjoy the sun why would you want to sit at your desk and revise? The only way to combat this sluggishness is to plan your time well. Make a revision timetable and schedule in time each week to spend on revision and revision only. Don’t overload yourself; these are your holidays so don’t drown yourself in work by working for five hours a day. Perhaps you can do an hour each day, or two hours and then not work over weekends? The only way you’ll have a productive summer is to ensure that you plan your time wisely so you can have a healthy balance between revision and relaxation.

Organise your work!

     A tidy desk = a tidy mind. You can’t work if all your worksheets are scattered around your desk, or your bag is a chaotic mess! You need to make sure you have separate folders for each subject. Having everything in the correct space will make life so much easier when you go to revise as you’ll know exactly where everything is. When you’re disorganised, you could spend more time looking around for the right worksheet instead of revising so avoid wasting valuable time in advance by ensuring that you stay organised.

Start revising!

     You’ve just completed an entire academic year and taken in a lot of information. From Maths formulae to an endless list of poems in English, it can be overwhelming to start revision and you just won’t know where to begin. Your teachers will have probably given you an abundant amount of homework, so this is probably the best place to kick off. Once this is done, you should make your revision notes. Go through specifications for each subject and record the information in as few words as possible to help you remember. For example, you could split your Science revision into the three branches (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and then go through the specifications for each sub-topic (e.g.: B1, C1, P1). If you don’t understand something, it may be useful to ask a friend or put a question mark next to it to ask your teacher when you go back to school. Once you’ve made your notes, you’ll already be step ahead of everyone else in September and you’ll really thank yourself for it when it comes to exam season!

What else can I do?

     As well as revision, you could get stuck into some super-curricular activities. Summer Schools are an excellent way to begin; many universities offer them free of charge and they allow you to get a taste of what it might be like to study there. Also, work experience a great way to gain insight into potential future careers and will be an asset for your CV or Personal Statement!

If you’re stuck at home, or even by the beach on holiday, you could always get stuck into a good novel! In fact, at our centre, we’re running our own Reading Marathon encouraging students to read as many books as they can over the summer with prizes at the end. Reading can really help improve your spelling and grammar as well as expanding your creativity and it is nowhere near as demanding as revising. Try to find a book that you really enjoy to get into the habit of reading and borrow books from your local library for free entertainment throughout your summer break!