Eight ways to make the most of your exam study leave

Student on study leave

Finally, some time for revising at your own pace. But how should you use it?

“It was the chance to learn everything required for the exam in my own time, exactly how I wanted to do it, at what speed I wanted to do it,” says Nirgilis.

Study leave is like the first taste of university, but you need to know how to use the time productively. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of procrastination or burnout. Neither of these is a great way to spend study leave and they’ll both leave you feeling stressed out and demotivated. 

There’s no need to worry though – here's some simple advice from the TSR community on how to make the most of this independence and get your grades.

1. Find the best place to revise

Finding the ideal environment that helps you study best is important. This might be at home, at the library or at school. 

Staying at home isn’t necessarily your best bet. “I know I'd procrastinate all day,” says Kangie.

While EraseMeElysion says: “I definitely feel more productive at college!”

On the other hand, college might also be distracting, so experiment and identify the right study space for you.

You might even feel like the library is the best bet one day, and a coffee shop the next. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing; be honest with yourself and work where you’re going to be most productive. 

2. Choose your friends wisely

During study leave, make sure you’re surrounded by people who are there to support you. Don’t get drawn in by the panickers or the braggers who will drain your energy and demotivate you. 

It’s also good not to compare with your friends where you are with your revision. “It often ends up in comparing how much people have done and that's just unnecessary stress!” says Peaches and Cream.

Everyone is at different stages, so use this to your advantage and make study groups with your friends to revise together and help each other out.

If you want to talk about specific exams, you can find TSR discussion threads here for GCSEs and here for A-levels.

3. Look after yourself

It’s really important that you take good care of yourself during study leave. This means eating healthily, getting enough sleep and generally taking care of your wellbeing. Don’t let your revision take over your whole life as you’ll burn out.

“Make a list of all the things you want to do, and then look forward to doing them over the summer.” advises lizmoo0721.

This tactic should help keep you motivated and remind you that there is life after exams.

Here are nine brain food snacks to supercharge your study and five ways to relax in the run up to exams.

4. Make a plan

Make sure you’ve either got a plan or a revision checklist so that you know exactly what you need to revise. If you just dive in you might find that you’ve forgotten something important and it’ll be too late to revise it properly. 

If you’re not sure about what you should revise ask your teacher and they’ll be able to give you a revision list.

Use the TSR Study Planner to make a revision schedule.

5. Prioritise your weakest subjects

It’s really important that you get out of your comfort zone when revising. Got one particular subject which is really challenging? Swallow the frog and get it out of the way first thing.

Not only will you be making sure that you’ve worked on that area, but if you get it done then the rest of the day will be a breeze in comparison. 

6. Leave time to recap before the exam

For each subject, you should aim to have completed your revision a week before the exam. This lets you to take a break and allows your mind to commit your revision to memory.

Revisit the material you’ve already done and carefully go over everything, making sure you’ve understood. That way you’ll be well prepared for the exam, rather than cramming everything the night before. 

Read these 12 revision tips everyone can learn from the very best students.

7. Take regular breaks

Make sure you take regular breaks during your revision – get up, have a cup of tea, go outside or go to the gym. Don’t set yourself the task of revising non-stop for eight hours a day.

For most people this just isn’t realistic and you’ll only end up stressed out and demotivated. 

Read our guide to handling revision and exam stress.

8. Don’t get discouraged

Not all study sessions go to plan and that’s okay. Dust yourself off and try again. If you’re really struggling to focus or keep getting distracted then take a break for 10 minutes.

Go outside for a walk or do some press-ups. The exercise will help clear your mind and let you focus.

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