Revising can be tough at the best of times, let alone when it’s the school holidays and all you want to do is chill.
Keeping yourself inspired, motivated and focused can be a task in itself, and for most people will require some conscious effort. Here are our top five tips for keeping your head in the game during the second week of the holidays, so that you give yourself the best possible chance of nailing those exams.
1. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture
It can be difficult, when you’re reading about the Weimar Republic, balancing equations or memorising biological processes for the umpteenth time, to remember what it’s all for. Why do you even care? What’s even the point? When are you ever going to use this knowledge?
The point is, the commitment and focus required to revise properly and excel in the summer demonstrates lots of impressive skills, which will set you up amazingly well for later life.
Universities and employers will be impressed by the dedication and diligence that consistent good grades demonstrate, and this is why it’s important to do your best.
Rather than getting really bog down in the nitty gritty and thinking it’s all pointless, remind yourself of the bigger goals you’re working towards, and try and view these exams as one small stepping stone in your path to future success. Your older self, supported by impressive grades and the confidence that accompanies those, will seriously thank you for your hard work.
2. Take it a day at a time
If thinking about the many days of revision and lessons that lay ahead puts your head in a spin, the solution is simple. Don’t think that far ahead! The important thing is to be as efficient and productive as you can every time you sit down to do some revision. So rather than wasting time getting yourself in a tizz, just focus on what you want to do that day and get it done.
Then, in the evening, reflect on what you achieved and feel proud of yourself! That’s one more day down, and you’re one day closer to nailing your exams and enjoying the summer.
Refer back to your revision timetables to maintain your structure and ensure you’re leaving enough time to cover everything, but don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed by the days and weeks to come. If you take things a day at a time over the revision period and break your revision down into manageable, day-sized chunks, it will be done and dusted in no time!
3. Mix up your techniques
If you’re getting bored and distracted by this stage in the holidays, it’s time to change up your revision techniques. Chat to friends to find out how they revise and get some tips, and use our resources to give you something new to look at.
Sit in a different room or in a different seat around the table; go to the library; try making mind maps rather than writing pages and pages of notes; try some past papers; make flashcards and test yourself; get creative! Think of your memory as a muscle that gets stronger the more you push it and test it. Therefore, the more ways you can revise a certain thing, the easier it’ll be to remember.
Variety is the spice of life, and the same certainly applies to your revision methods.
4. Remember, you're not alone!
When you’re feeling as though everybody else is out enjoying the holidays whilst you’re stuck indoors revising just remember that, well, that’s totally not true. Thousands of GCSE and A-Level students across the country are doing the exact same thing, so you’re all in it together!
Try and get excited by the unique opportunity you now have to prove how capable you are to yourself, as well as your teachers, family members, universities and future employers. Think about all of your peers, working hard across the UK to get their grades and go onto achieve great things. You’re all opening doors for yourself, so make the most of it and don’t let yourself get left behind!
5. Don't put too much pressure on yourself
We all have days when we it’s just not happening. The inspiration runs dry, we’re tired, we’re distracted, we’re not firing on all cylinders; for whatever reason, it’s just not our day.
If you’re genuinely having ‘one of those days’ (and know when this is genuine, rather than just an excuse), don’t beat yourself up about it. Do what revision you can, maybe save that super tough past paper for tomorrow, and just accept that today isn’t your day but that tomorrow just well might be.
There’s nothing more demotivating than self-criticism, so cut that out and just move on. Give yourself a break to do something you enjoy such as watching an episode of your favourite show, exercising, baking or whatever it might be. Chill out and be ready to start afresh when you’re feeling better. You’re only human after all!
And, if things get really bad, here's a picture of a really cute puppy for you to look at for a few minutes.