Once students cross over from the December holiday into the New Year, many often turn to their studies in earnest. Yippee! But, as with so many, many adults each new year, those resolutions can sometimes run away from even the most well-intentioned and committed student…
So how do we keep on track?
The key is consistency not quantity or pace!
1. Sleep well. Develop a regular sleeping pattern to start off your days properly and wind down effectively on school nights (and, yes, this includes Sundays!)
Only you know what will work for you but developing a steady sleeping pattern could be the key to more energy throughout your days and better concentration during study sessions.
2. Schedule social time intentionally.
Get real quality time with friends, family and pets planned into your week. Don’t just leave it to the weekends to plan social time because making time in the week for social activities can really help focus you in your study time. Allow yourself to enjoy the process of social and study time.
3. Take it steady with revision.
It can be so easy to overdo schedules and revision in January, burn out quickly and watch the best laid plans crash and burn. Instead, work to simple and achievable deadlines and slowly build up the schedule as you go. Consistency between now and June is more important than cramming in April!
4. Reward yourself often!
Celebrate the revision you do achieve. Celebrate well. Revision isn’t just about a good grade in June. It can be so powerful for you to celebrate the small victories you achieve on the way too. Some of the little celebrations I use in my life are:
✔️ Tick boxes – a great visual exercise where you tell yourself ‘yes, I set this task today. I completed it.’ Small wins matter.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ days – I simply draw 5 stars on top of my diary on days where I feel I’ve smashed it. A FIVE STAR day.
🍬 Sugar kicks or music hits – some (responsible and very restrained) students find sweet treats a great incentive for consistent study, whether a sweet means 5 mins of writing, a completed 10-minute exercise, a whole essay or more! Or try your favourite album (with each song bookending a study block)?
⌛Timekeeping apps ⌛ – a pomodoro app (or a simple timer!) can be a great way to be blocking up your phone usage while you study. Some apps even give you digital incentives (Forest is one that I use for writing)!
🙋Study Buddy High Fives 🙋 – I meant it when I suggested you celebrate the little things. Friends who study together can be a game changer when it comes to effective revision. Help each other stay positive and motivated about tackling the more challenging tasks ahead.
What works for YOU?
The key thing is that, at this time of the year, work out what works and adjust as you go. If a technique starts to feel stale, switch it up again. Organising your revision doesn’t need to be complex, but here are a few options to consider…
· Paper schedules (printed weekly schedule, which shows your commitments for each day, exactly when they occur). These help you see exactly what your days and weeks actually look like,
· Monthly calendar (for those who just need a visual reminder than certain things need to happen on certain days),
· Phone reminders (these work well as you can completely personalise when you study and how you are reminded to get focusing),
· Habit trackers (excel sheet). For those who want to celebrate those little wins each and every time and see which tasks are falling by the wayside…
· Or even post-it-notes or a wipe board list on the fridge! Some people love screwing up paper post its or swiping off the tasks the moment they’ve been completed.
Happy planning! Sincerely, A Canto Cruncher