Lockdown restrictions are easing and the summer holidays are finally approaching. This year, though, things might seem slightly different: are you worried about the impact of school closures on your final exams? Are you impatiently waiting for that unconditional offer from your dream university? Or maybe you are planning to re-sit your GCSE and A-Levels.
Whatever your reasons, you might consider brushing off some of your favourite – or most hated – subjects in preparation for the new academic year. We know, the idea of getting back to your books and mock tests just now that you can start seeing your family and friends again is not immediately appealing. But upon returning to school in September, you might find the jump a little harder than in previous years and you may start feeling the effects of all those extra months off school. Some gentle revision during the summer holidays is a fantastic way to get you back into your academic routine in preparation for September. This guide will provide you with some suggestions on how to reconnect with your inner-student over the summer.
PLAN YOUR DAY IN ADVANCE
Choose which subjects you are going to revise for each day of the week: Monday is for History, Tuesday for Maths, Friday for English and so on. If possible, try to study in the morning, as your mind will be freshly rested from a good night sleep. You don’t have to spend the whole day revising; a couple of hours a day will be enough. Try to study every day at the same time, in order to create a routine and get used to school and university rhythm again.
KEEP YOUR STUDY SPACE TIDY
Ideally you should have a study space in your bedroom or in your house. If this is not possible, you should try and keep all of your studying material in a place where you can easily access it: in a drawer, on a shelf, or even in a box. In this way you will have all your materials available when needed and you will not lose precious time trying to find your books or homework pages. When studying, try to sit in a comfortable position to avoid back pain.
WORK, REST, REPEAT
Use a timer to break down your revision sessions in short time slots: 25 minutes work - 5 minutes rest, followed by another 25 minutes of work and so on. This is what academics call ‘The Pomodoro Technique’’, from the method invented by Francesco Cirillo back in the 1980’s, which has proved to be one of the most effective time management techniques for studying and focussed work. The short working sessions will make your schedule look less overwhelming and will allow you to focus completely on your task, knowing that a relaxing break will come soon. You can use your break to stretch and have a drink, but during the working sessions you should keep focussed and concentrated, which means no phones, computers or distractions.
USE DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES
Everyone has a different study method, and every approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. That’s why you need to vary your revision techniques, using different methods according to each task you need to complete. Read your notes out loud, write down post-its, become a diagram master. Try also to repeat everything you know about a topic out loud, and without looking at your notes. Ask one of your family members or friends to listen to you as you repeat everything you know about the Great Fire of London or the First Law of Motion (they might even find it funny!). Repeating things out loud might sound silly at the beginning, but is indeed one of the best exercises for your memory, and will prove to be invaluable for the future, when exams are back! Remember to always test your knowledge: nowadays you can easily find past exams papers online, or you can ask your teacher and tutors to provide you with a sample from your own exam’s board.
ORGANISE A REVISION-RETREAT
Schedule one day in your diary for an intense revision session. Get online with your friends using platforms like Google Meet, Zoom or Skype and try to apply the ‘Pomodoro Technique’ with them: knowing that everyone is working on the same task at the same time will improve your concentration and boost your enthusiasm even more. At the end of the revision session you can pep things up by setting different teams and test each other’s knowledge with a ‘quiz-style’ questionnaire (that you can prepare in advance).
THINK ABOUT HIRING A TUTOR
Hiring a tutor is definitely one of the best options to improve your grades and academic performance quickly and effectively. Even one hour of high quality private tuition can be highly beneficial for your studies. Tutors will help you tailor your studying and revision according to your own learning styles, will set achievable goals and will use proven techniques and methods to improve your results. Tutoring will boost your self-confidence and will equip you with the skills to be an effective and successful student. Make sure, however, to always hire tutors from a reputable agency: at We Make Academics we have a large team of exceptional tutors, with years of experience across different subjects, ready to help you and answer any question you might have.
MOST OF ALL, BE GENTLE TO YOURSELF
These are exceptional times and we should all be kind to others and ourselves, as we try to navigate this new normality. Remember to eat healthily, sleep regularly and to take good care of your body by keeping as active as possible. Go for a walk once a day and leave your phone or any electronic devices aside for some time. Disconnecting from social-media will help in managing anxiety and re-connecting with your own thoughts. Seeking out some charity or volunteering work will help you find purpose as well as providing valuable contributions to your community. Schedule something fun to do and share an experience with the people you love: a walk, a sports session, a movie or a pizza together. Keep a positive attitude but, if you find yourself struggling, never be afraid to ask for help - both with your health and with your education!
Do you need assistance with planning your lockdown revision? Click here to find out how we can help you.