6 Things To Do Before You Go Back To School for a New Term

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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.

Going back to school after a new term can be sad, but you should try to feel excited, too. With a new term at school comes new goals, new challenges, and new successes. You’re going to learn a lot and take another significant step towards your future, be that getting your GCSEs, sitting your A Levels, applying to university or setting yourself up to start a job.

In order to give yourself the best chance of success this year, there are a few things you should think about before your first day back that will help you ensure that you get off on the right foot.

1. Did you have any homework?

No matter what you got up to over the holidays, it was probably difficult to keep your head in the ‘school’ zone once that final bell rang to say that school was out for a few weeks. With that in mind, was there any homework set that might have slipped through the cracks while you were off relaxing? Did you get any emails from teachers this summer with tasks you need to complete before you go back?

If there was, don’t stress! Just find out what you need to do and set aside some time this week to get it done. The sooner, the better! Leaving things until the night before is never a good idea, and will just put you on the back foot before you’ve even started the term.

If you’re finding the work difficult, ask a friend, parent or sibling to help. And if you’re really stuck, make a point of finding the teacher who set the work as soon as you get back, and ask them for some assistance.

2. Did you have any set reading?

Teachers will often set some reading for you to do over the holidays, designed to introduce you to a topic that you’ll be studying this term, or to ensure you’ve read a text that you’re going to be learning about. If this applies to you, have you done it?

If an entire book was set, it’s probably fair to say that if you haven’t started it yet, it won’t be finished in a week’s time. However, that’s not to say that it isn’t worth reading as much as you can before you go to your first lesson. The reading is set for a reason, so you should make a concerted effort to complete the task set.

Don’t assume that, just because you won’t finish a text in time, it isn’t worth making a start. Reading a few chapters to give yourself an understanding of what the book and topic is about, and to give your lessons some context, is extremely worth your while. And you never know, you might really enjoy it!

3. Do you need any new stationary?

One of the best things about a new term is the opportunity to buy new stationery, right? Right. So what is it that you’ll need this term?

Do you need some new notebooks, pens or pencils? A pencil sharpener and eraser? Some highlighters?

Are you doing any subjects that require specialist equipment? If you’re taking Art you may well need a sketch pad, pencils, acrylics and other materials; similarly, Maths students are often required to get protractors, set squares, rulers, and a smart calculator.

Think about your subjects and what you might need. Also, check your emails to ensure you haven’t missed any equipment lists that might have been sent through. Set yourself up with all the tools you need to succeed this term (and let’s be honest, stationery shopping is just plain fun, anyway). It’s all about preparing yourself as best you can for what’s ahead.

4. What are your goals for this term?

Is there anything you particularly want to achieve between now and Christmas, either academically or otherwise? Now is a brilliant time to set yourself some goals so that you can start working towards them as soon as term starts.

Whether you want to achieve a certain grade, join a sports team, start a blog or take up a new hobby in your spare time, think about these things before you go back to school so that you can work them into your routine from the very beginning. Getting a good routine going means you’re far more likely to stick to (and achieve) those goals.

Writing goals down is always a good idea too, as you’re far more likely to follow through with something if you’re constantly reminding yourself that it’s there. Stick them on a post-it note on your wall, or even in the notes on your phone; just make sure it’s somewhere where you’ll be reminded of them regularly!

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5. What are your goals for this year?

Thinking slightly longer term: what would you like to achieve this year? It’s still very early days, but thinking about what you’d like to have achieved by the end of the year will only be a good thing.

If you’re taking your GCSEs, what results would you like to see when you open that envelope next August? And if you’re taking your A Levels or applying to university, where would you like to go and what would you like to study? What grades will you need to get there?

Planning ahead by thinking about what needs to be done this year to get where you want to be will give you the motivation to work hard from your first day back. It’s well within your power to smash both your short and long term academic and personal goals, but you can only smash them if you know what they are first!

6. Is there anything you’re particularly worried about?

When you think about going back to school and embarking on your GCSEs, A-Levels or the process of applying to university, are there any niggling worries that you just can’t shake? What are you most concerned about?

It’s important to address any worries early on – holding onto them will only make them worse. Whether there’s a particular subject, teacher, topic or piece of coursework that’s concerning you, acknowledge what it is and then find someone you can talk to about it, either for reassurance, advice, or just to get it off your chest.

This can be a parent, teacher, friend, tutor, anyone! But a problem shared is a problem halved, so voice any concerns you have about the term ahead to somebody you trust. As soon as you get to school and start working you might find that the things you were worried about are actually totally fine, and that there was no need to be concerned! But if not, you’ll find it reassuring to know that somebody understands where you’re coming from and is there to support you this year.

It’s important to remember that all of your teachers have your best interests at heart, and want to help you succeed this term. Don’t be afraid to talk to them if you’re worried or struggling. They’re the pros, and will be able to help you achieve what you want to this year.

Best of luck!

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