How to get the best from a week of precious revision and study time
There's no hiding place now; it's half term.
This is not the time for procrastination or for kidding yourself you can just sit back and everything will be fine.
Whether you’ve been revising since the start of term or chancing it with last-minute cramming, this half term is a big week leading up to the rest of your exams.
There’s probably no school or college, so it will be up to you to make the most of it.
Here's how to make this week your most effective study week yet.
1. Plan the week
Make a timetable for the week. Work out how much you need to revise for each exam and what topics you need to focus on.
Decide how long you want your revision sessions to be and whether you want to alternate subjects or revise in long blocks, and then slot the subjects and topics into the time available.
Set some time at the beginning and end of the week to spend looking at the whole subject, reviewing everything you’ve learned so far.
Don't forget to give yourself a bit of time off and build in some breaks to make sure all your revision has a chance to go in – it's best to take a five-minute break every 25 minutes. This is sometimes called the Pomodoro method.
2. Find out what you don't know... and learn it
Avoid that comfort zone of spending too much time on what you already feel confident about. Now's the last chance to face up to and brush up on your weakest topics.
Test yourself ruthlessly using flashcards, quizzes or just by hiding sections of your notes.
Getting together with friends and testing each other is a great way of doing some active learning.
Keep going over things until they’re stuck in your head. If this is really tough, try learning things in a different way, switching up your revision methods and focusing on past papers.
Here's how to cram for exams without losing your mind.
3. Go back to those past papers
Do loads and loads of practice questions in order to familiarise yourself with the structure of the paper and the exam experience.
Try to do whole papers under timed conditions so you can work on your time management, and use the mark schemes to check your answers. See where you lost marks and then try answering your weakest questions again.
Here's how to use past papers to ace your exams; you can find TSR's bank of past papers here.
4. Think about cutting down on social media
Get someone to hide your phone while you’re studying. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram will all still be there in a couple of hours. Maybe even stay off TSR if it's preventing you from knuckling down.
If you have to be on your computer, use your willpower or a browser extension to limit your time on distracting sites.
You can then use access to social media as a reward after a long revision session.
5. Don't become a hermit
You probably need to spend a lot of time on revision during half term, but make sure you keep some parts of your normal life going. It will help you stay healthy, body and mind.
Make time for some social activities, try to get some exercise too and if it all gets too much – well, that’s what family and friends are for.
You’re nearly at the end – one last push and you’ll get there.