Study Leave: How To Stay Focused

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Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.

Being a student during study leave is like being a long-distance athlete: you can’t let the focus drop as you enter the final lap. Months of hard work and sacrifice have gone into preparing for your exams, and it doesn’t matter what’s happened earlier on in the race – it’s all about keeping your energy and focus until the very moment you cross the finish line.

So how does this translate into keeping the focus up as you revise? Read on for our top tips on how to keep up your revision momentum and cross the finish line in style.

1. Stick to your revision timetable 

Sticking to a revision plan is just as important at the end of revision as at the beginning. Of course, you will need to factor in breaks for exams (and a little time to mentally recover!) but this structure is what will help you make it through to the end and keep on top of things.

This doesn’t mean you can’t refine or change your plan. The process of doing exams will let you know which topics you need to focus more on, and these might not be the ones you expect. You should adapt your studies to what your exams are telling you, and structure in more time for those challenging topics.

2. Remember that practice makes perfect

Just because you’ve started doing exams in some subjects, it doesn’t mean practice papers get any less important!

Using our model answers (found in the relevant section for each subject) will help you make the most of these past papers and also stop that pre-exam panic in its tracks. Our model answers are written by our subject experts and they show you the best way to answer an exam question. They have clear explanations, making it easy for you to correct your mistakes and understand where you went wrong in your answer.

3. Keep your summer rewards in mind

A great way of staying focused is to remind yourself of the light at the end of the exam tunnel. Are you going on holiday in the summer? Booked tickets to a concert? Finally watching that TV series you’ve been so good at resisting all study leave?

However big or small, giving yourself rewards for completing exams will give you that extra kick of motivation. If you don’t have any just yet – make some! Pinning up a list of your post-exam celebrations will help you power on through to the end.

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4. Don’t panic

You might think panic is a good study motivator, but fear destroys focus. If your brain is preoccupied with stressing over imagined outcomes, it can’t focus on the task in hand.

Read our this blog post on how to have a stressless revision period and how to keep your cool in the exam.

Although we all experience periods of stress, be aware that your mental and emotional state might indicate something more. High-pressure situations can highlight or exacerbate serious mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. If you feel there’s a bigger underlying problem, it’s important to see a medical professional who will be able to help.

5. Think of yourself as an athlete

The long-distance athlete analogy isn’t just a handy metaphor – it indicates how you should treat your body to give your best exam performance.

Just like a runner, you want to be at your healthiest, and that means getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food that will fuel your brain, and keeping your body active (even if that’s just going for a brisk walk). It also means taking short, well-timed breaks to ensure you’re as invigorated and energised as possible.

Good luck!

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