So, you’ve been learning new things all year and about to enter the time of exams – now what?
This time leading up to exams is hectic and can feel overwhelming. How do you physically fit in all the preparation you need into your day? How do others manage it? Don’t worry, it’s normal to feel this way.
Here are some simple tips to organising your time and lowering your stress levels.
- Write a list: Include everything you have to do in that week, homework, study, preparations, work, chores, exercise and don’t forget fun!
- Create a timetable: The oldest trick in the book, but the best. A weekly planner divided into one hour blocks will help you to stick to the allocated time. If you are a visual person, have the planner on your desk. Otherwise, there are many apps and calendars on smartphones available. Write in all the non-negotiable tasks such as school and work. Scheduling exercise and hobbies is vital as they give you energy and a clear head, even if they are just 10 minutes between your other activities.
- Know when you are most productive: Everyone’s productivity is different during different parts of the day. I am an early bird and like to get things done early, before lunchtime. That is the time when I concentrate the best and that is when I would choose to tackle my more difficult tasks. If you are not a morning person, best to leave the more challenging or demanding tasks till later. Once you figure out how you work best, use that as a basis to fill in the rest of your timetable.
- Be realistic: Will you actually be able to stick to your schedule? Plan about 8-10 hours a day for school, work, study, free time etc. Don’t forget that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, something might take longer than you expected, so have a little bit of wiggle room in your schedule.
- Change your surroundings: Study somewhere new. Sit outside, even a different room can do wonders for your concentration.
- Create your own study oasis: Minimise distractions. If something is taking your attention away from what you need to do, you stop being productive. Frequently, it’s things like hunger, boredom or tiredness that distract the most. Have snacks nearby and keep your phone/tablet in another room.
- Do a little every day: Don’t leave things to the last second. That is when unnecessary pressure can hit you like a ton of bricks. You don’t want to end up with a mountain of work to catch up on. Studying on most days of the week, even 1-2 hours, helps keep on top of it.
- Don’t be scared to change your plan: Don’t be surprised if you might need to go back and revise your timetable. Things will change over your term or semester and you might find that a particular subject requires more time than others. Your study time might also increase the closer you get to assessments or exams.