Ok, so we have had a couple weeks off… those among us that are dedicated and perhaps do not have unconditional offers into their first choice universities will hopefully have at least done some homework that was set during the Easter Break.
For those of you, however who have not, here are some tips for getting back into the study routine!
I am chronically ill which means I often have to take weeks and weeks out of school – not as fun as it sounds – the following tips may not work for you but they certainly do work for me.
- Clear / Clean Your Desk: (if you don’t have a desk GET ONE… if possible, or use the biggest table space in the house… or the floor… just. make. a. space. to. work.) This always works for me, “messy room, messy mind” a quote has never been so accurate to my life. If I don’t have a nice clean desk when I start my studying I am instantly thrown off, in fact, for me personally, my entire room has to be vacuumed tidy, bed made, you name it! If you are trying to work whilst moving things out of the way you are not giving your self the subconsciously clean surface and mind that you really need!
- Start of Nice and Easy / Fun: OK I’m not stupid, I know that homework isn’t ‘fun‘ but it doesn’t have to be super boring, if you haven’t been studying for a while it might be a good idea to start off with making a mind map, get all the notes that you have on a certain topic and start off by not even looking at them, try and fill the mind map with what you can remember off of the top of your head! Once you have thought of everything take to the notes! Fill in the gaps, recalling from your memory and then filling in the gaps is as close as you’re going to get to a lesson with just yourself, see if it works!
- Colours!: For starters, most exams will only accept Black Ink in on the paper itself but that doesn’t mean you have to write in black all the time! Research has shown that using Blue Ink helps a lot more when studying because of the contrast, reading something in black and white is boring, you’re not appealing to both sides of your brain, so wake up the creative side by using blue and remember things better too!
- Colours! Pt2: Remember how I said make a mind map? Yeah… colours are your friend, keep titles and notes and arrows a different colour! Again, you are now using both sides of your brain, its more interesting and you’re more likely to remember afterwards!
- Take notes later: Now, this one isn’t for everyone and even I only use it sometimes but hear me out. Sometimes in lesson your teacher will be flying through a presentation and then later say that they can’t print the presentation itself out for you… we’ve all had one teacher like that or at least a lesson like it! 😡 If your school lets you use your phone you can start off by recording a voice note of the lessons, this helps me because the questions I wouldn’t have thought of are often asked by somebody else and I can later write down that information that I wouldn’t perhaps have otherwise. Next and this is the bit that isn’t for everyone, if I know I have some free time right after the lesson or I know I am definitely going to take out my notes later I write everything down in short sweet bullet points, I don’t care about my hand writing – so long as I can read it – I just get. it. down! Then, later in the free tie that I have set aside, I go over those notes and elaborate on them, I take the bullet point of information and expand it into paragraphs remembering what the teacher said or anything else I read that I wanted to add. This definitely helps if you voice recorded the lesson – If you are the kind of person that can remember stuff short term really well but you’re rubbish at long term then this could be great for you! Plus, if you have had some time off, this will help because you have attended a lesson and have hopefully gotten back into the swing of things with your school / college routine which means you’re more likely to pull out the books later… especially if you don’t want to forget everything and look at those bullet points one day with the crushing feeling that had you just taken those notes you might find this topic easier… convinced yet?
- Read Around your Subject: One of the subjects I am taking at the moment is government and politics and one of the best things I have done for this subjects is do some wider reading! If you are already taking something like English Lit, this might be a little harder for you, you will already have a reading list the length of your arm – I know mine was! But if you are genuinely interested in the subject read around it! I got my teacher to suggest somethings for me and aside from the obvious – the News, which is actually extremely helpful when it comes to applying what you have learnt and giving examples – he also suggested 1984 by George Orwell, Animal Farm another George Orwell, Inspector Calls, J.B. Priestly and Lord Of The Flies by William Goulding. Due to the fact that I am very keen to learn government and politics these books are extremely interesting to me and I am constantly applying what I am learning in class as background knowledge to each book… which kind of flips the tables a bit… usually the book is a background to what you’re learning… it feels good! If you are off sick or have taken some time out this can help because it forces you to think back to your lessons as you read, if something is a little cloudy, you can go back to your notes and refresh!