As March comes around, you’ll have started to get into the swing of things at school. Summer’s over, the days are starting to get shorter, and you’re ready for a big year of hard work.
Especially after a long summer break, it’s easy to get caught up in the illusion of motivation: “This year’s going to be the year I stay on top of my classes!”
But, as experienced students will know, this is easier said than done. If you don’t approach the year with well-considered strategies for managing your workload, chances are you’ll start to fall behind as workload ramps up.
So what can you do to truly make this year different? We’ve collected our top five tips for staying on top of your work. Read on!
Keep a diary or calendar
In order to stay on top of things during the year, a diary or personal calendar is crucial. Especially if you’ve got a lot going on outside of school, you don’t want to be using valuable headspace trying to keep track of all your commitments in your mind!
You can use this diary to record things such as appointments or extracurricular activities, as well as any homework or extra study you’ve got scheduled in, to ensure these activities don’t get forgotten amongst everything else.
Depending on what you prefer, you can use a physical diary, a calendar app on your phone, or anything in between. The key part is that you have a single source of truth, and that you keep it on you at all times. That way, you’ll never miss another appointment again!
Catch things you don’t understand early
In most subjects, the content you learn in class is iterative – that is to say, the things you learn will build off topics from earlier in the year.
This is well and good if you’re keeping on top of everything, as it means you can start to draw links between different areas of a subject. However, if you don’t understand a concept you learn early in the year, you can put yourself at risk of falling behind in other topics, as you won’t have the foundational knowledge to really understand what’s going on (especially later in the year, when you’re more tired and less able to pick up new concepts quickly).
If you really don’t understand a topic, and you think this might put you at risk of falling behind, have a chat to your teacher – they are usually delighted to help out! Otherwise, this is where having regular tutoring during the year can be a serious advantage for your learning.
Have a weekly check-in with yourself
Once you’re in a rhythm at school, time can pass so quickly that you never get a chance to stop and reflect. This means that you’re missing out on opportunities to think about how you could be working better or more efficiently.
You can combat this by dedicating a short amount of time each week to a retrospective session, where you think about how things have gone during the week – what worked well, and what you can improve upon. Often, 10-15 minutes on a Sunday evening can be a good time to hold this, as you’re wrapping up your weekend and starting to think about the week ahead.
A check-in doesn’t have to be a long or arduous task; in fact, most people find they quite enjoy it once they get into the habit! Even if you’re able to find one thing to focus on for the upcoming week, and commit to this, you can bet that you’ll start to see improvements in the way you work and learn.
Dedicate time to making things stick
Have you ever got to exam time at the end of the year, and realised that you haven’t put as much work in during the year as you’d hoped? You’re not alone – but it does make things a lot harder!
While you don’t have to study for hours on end every day, research shows that taking even 15 minutes in the evening to review the notes you’ve made in class during the day can have an incredible impact on what you’re able to retain in your memory.
With all the information that your brain has to process during the day, it’s very difficult to properly remember things unless you review them more than once. For maximum retention, the first time you review information should be less than 24 hours after you first learn it – so ‘little and often’ is certainly the way to go.
If you struggle with making a habit out of studying, read about our top tips on making it a part of your regular schedule here!
Keep a balanced schedule, and look after yourself
The school year is a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s critical that you take the time to look after yourself and your wellbeing.
Looking after yourself can involve things like taking a night off study to tidy your room if it’s getting too messy, or simply having an early night. Investing in yourself and your ability to work sustainably is important, and should never be left behind just because you want to work as hard as you can.
The simple things like getting enough exercise, drinking enough water, and hanging out with your friends are also critical, and you should always be mindful of incorporating these into a balanced schedule so you’re able to smash it all year round.
At EduExperts, our team of passionate teachers has years of experience helping students to reach their full potential through accelerating their education.
If you want to make this year the year that you stay on top of your work and ace your exams, get in touch with your local centre today to learn more!