Exam tips

Hey guys, I hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter and are feeling well rested!

As the Easter holidays come to a close, I’m sure you’ll all be gearing up for your assessments and exams. Some of you might be freaking out, but don’t worry, they’re a lot less dreadful than they seem beforehand! The key to success in the exam period is to make sure you have a good routine for studying, and in between your revision to look after your wellbeing. Below, to help you through this period, I thought I’d list some tips and tricks that help me:

  • Plan out your time- it seems like the most basic one that your teachers/parents/websites will tell you works, and some of you might roll your eyes at the idea of a study timetable, but it really does help! It helps you to keep an eye on your progress and get everything you want to do that day done without you having to go back over things and question what you’ve studied and what you haven’t. It also makes sure you leave time for breaks. Speaking of…
  • Take regular breaks- you need to allow yourself time to relax. A lot of people think that if you don’t take breaks and you power on through you’ll get more done, which, by logistics, is true… however, the stuff that you revise without breaking won’t sink in as well as if you were to take breaks as your brain will be stressed and won’t have had time to take in what you do study. Breaks also give you a chance to eat a snack to keep your body fuelled.
  • Snacking and water- make sure you have some snacks to keep yourself from being distracted by hunger, and also drink lots of water whilst studying to make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Make your studying work for you- I’m sure you’ve heard about the different types of learning before; Visual (Spatial), Aural (Auditory-Musical), Verbal (Linguistic) and Physical (Kinesthetic). Some ways of studying work better for some people for others, for example, I’m quite a visual learner, so if I can find any videos or make flowcharts etc. to help me study I benefit from it a lot, but I personally can’t read blocks and blocks of text, so I take a more visual approach to studying. More visual ways to help yourself study include using different colours and keys, pictures and charts, some aural ways to study include listening to learning podcasts or videos, and coming up with rhymes or songs to help you remember things, some verbal ways are to also use rhymes or songs to speak out loud whilst studying, and some kinesthetic ways are to combine studying with an activity or to use flashcards.

These are just a few of the tips that help me, and I hope they help you too. If you have any questions or have your own tips and tricks that you’d like to share with anyone reading this post, then feel free to comment below!

Top tips for studying

Whether you’re studying for exams or writing coursework right now, it’s likely that you’re going to be spending a lot of time working. This is true of university life, and unfortunately, you don’t have someone standing behind you encouraging you to do it all the time, like you do at school. This means that it is important to get into good study habits now, to prepare you for university. Here are my top tips…

  1. Find an environment away from where you eat and sleep. At the start of this year, I lived in a house where I ate, slept and studied all in the same room. It got incredibly monitonous staring at the same four walls, yet the library just wasn’t cutting it for me. I finally managed to work out a timetable with my friend so that I could work at hers, in her living room, away from where I spent the rest of my time.
  2. which brings me to my next point… Find a time to study that is suitable for you. I work best in the mornings, or after I’ve had a seminar, even though I don’t like getting up early. I find that I can’t work after a long day in uni. This means that I have to set an alarm in the morning so that I can make the most out of my day. Other people work best at night. Whatever works for you, make sure you allocate time to studying or writing assignments.
  3. Take appropriate breaks, whether that means you’re going to stop after you’ve read or written 100 words, or you’re going to take a 15 minute break every two hours. Knowing you have some downtime can really motivate you to work in that time you have allocated.
  4. Reward yourself appropriately. I have friends that award themselves a sweet each time they’ve written 50 words, whilst I have others that will allow themselves to order a takeaway once they’ve finished an assignment. I like giving myself a day off after I’ve written myself an assignment, which could include going out for lunch with friends, or curling up with a Disney movie and having a pyjama day.

Hopefully these four tips will help you become more productive, and help you begin to motivate yourself, ready for starting university.

Good luck!

Studying over Christmas

Creative Edge in the snow

Whether you’re a student at university, or a student in sixth form or college, you most likely have some work you should be doing right now: essays, assignments, coursework, reports, or the dreaded revision. But let’s be honest, with Christmas fast approaching and winter beginning in earnest on the 21st (the winter solstice), work is probably the last thing you want to be doing.

Now don’t fret, I’m not going to tell you that you’ve got to forgo the festivities to stay on top of your work load. My main piece of advice is to plan your distractions. What I mean is that you’re going to to be busy over the holidays with things unrelated to your studies: quality time with friends from home, family, last minute shopping, and possibly eating copious amounts of food. What I find helpful is to take note of when you think you’ll be likely to be doing all this socialising and plan your work around it. Slot in little revision sessions, or dedicated working periods, every other day when you know you’ll be relatively free from distractions. This will help you stay on track for January exams or deadlines without missing out on any of the fun.

Sometimes you need to be a bit selfish in that your work comes first. If you have work you know needs doing, you may have to turn down social activities to get it all done, even if it is your family – you’re allowed to say no! Ideally, you won’t have to, as long as you plan ahead. If you’re having trouble pinning down the exact timings of your social events, then scheduling a short half an hour study session on an uncertain day will guarantee you get something done. If even that is too much and you feel you need to revise, then carrying around flashcards on a busy day will ensure you’ll have something to feast your brain on. Otherwise, set time aside when you know you won’t be busy, and get working.

I myself have a written report due in January for Molecular Biology, and a closed book exam for both Molecular Biology and Life On The Edge. So I’m going to have to follow my own advice this holiday season!

Countdown to Christmas

Hey guys!

So Christmas is right around the corner and we’re all on the big wind down now… or are we? I don’t know about you but I’m swamped in uni work and I’m doing nights in my retail work. So Christmas break should be fun fun fun for me,

Things I need to achieve this Christmas break:

-Dissertation work. I need to make waves on my work and write a fair amount to be honest.

-Assignments. These need doing for the 4th, so the clock is ticking… DON’T PANIC JEN.

-Placements? I need to start working out hat I’m doing after Uni, so looking for a career oppourtunity is high on my list.

-Exam prep. Yep, let’s not get into this.

CHRISTMAS ITSELF… As much as I have loads of things to do, I need to enjoy my spare time with friends and family. It’s often a good idea to make time for the things you love, or you’ll run yourself down and that is the opposite to what we want.

I hope you have a fabulous Christmas and get everything you want. Please remember that it’s not all about what’s under the tree and to spare a thought for the people who are less fortunate than ourselves. MERRY CHRISTMAS and have a well deserved rest just before exam season starts, yay.

Until next time…

Surviving Exams

With the exam period just about to hit, I’ve been watching the stress levels of friends at home who are sitting A Levels slowly rise and it’s pretty hard to watch. Preparing for exams is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done, and no matter what anyone says, it is not in any way even a slightly easy time.

When you’re buried in a huge pile of revision books, it can be hard to remember exactly what it is that you’re working for. I guess for everyone it is different, but for me there were two major things. Firstly, it was just to achieve the highest grades I was capable of to show myself that I could do it. When you see the results of working hard, it is always worth it and you forget all the rough times. And no matter what you plan to do next, you’ll be emerging from those exams with qualifications that might lead you to wherever it is you want to go in life.

My next major motivator was getting in to university. I fell in love with Edge Hill as soon as I first visited on an open day, and that gave me the determination to ensure that I got the necessary grades to secure my place here (In fact, I actually ended up surpassing the required grades!). And now, as a third  year student about to graduate, I can’t even tell you how much luck I wish those of you who have the same aspirations. I’ve had three of the best years of my life here, and I want the same for all of you. When revision is seeming endless, remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and for me, Edge Hill was absolutely, without a doubt, worth every second of hard work that I had to put in.

If you’re doing your A Levels right now, you have an amazing few years ahead of you at university to look forward to, and I hope that is motivation enough to get you through all the hard times.

Good luck to you all!

Preparing for Exams

I mentioned in my last blog that I thought it was a really good idea to use the Easter Holidays as an opportunity to get some revision in before the exam season properly begins, and so today I thought it might be beneficial to share some of my revision tips. By this point in your education you have probably sat tons of exams and it’s likely that you’ve developed your own revision technique. If you’ve found something that works for you, there’s absolutely no reason why you should stop – these are just things that I did when I was taking my exams.

Choosing where you study is so important. I always find that I work best away from the noise of other people and with a large desk or something that I can spread all my revision materials out over. I absolutely love working in complete silence, although I know other people like listening to music. If it helps you work then that’s fine, as long as it isn’t distracting. One of my friends likes to listen to instrumental and classical music so that he doesn’t get distracted by the words.

Pretty much every revision help list tells you the importance of taking breaks because it really is impossible to maintain concentration for extended amounts of time. I think they key here is that you have to work out how long you can pay attention for, and how long a break you need to regain that motivation. I used to work for about an hour and a half at a time, and then take a half an hour to forty five minute break. However I know that some people work for fifteen minutes at a time and then rest for the same amount of time. It’s all about finding what works for you.

One of the resources that I found most useful was past papers. These are great because they help you to get used to the style of the exam that you’re taking so hopefully you won’t be faced with the unexpected when you start the real thing. Also, if you do enough papers you can sometimes work out roughly which topics might come up in your exam if they haven’t come up in a while. However, you should never assume that you will be right as examiners sometimes like to throw things in to surprise you! It’s best just to revise everything.

Wrapping Up For Easter

This is the last week before the start of the Easter holidays so I’ve been attending a lot of summary lectures this week. It’s also at this point in the semester that  people start drifting off home for the holidays so my classes have been rather lacking students compared to normal!  As excited as I am to go home for a few weeks, the Easter holidays definitely do not signal the end of work for me as I have tons of essays to write over the next few weeks. As much as I’m not looking forward to writing them it’s kind of bitter sweet because they will be the last essays that I ever write for my degree! This definitely means it’s time to start focusing on what exactly it is that I’m going to do after I graduate but I’ll have to let you know what that is when I finally figure it out…

I know I’m definitely going to miss being in Ormskirk over Easter because my hometown does not provide me with the luxury of having everything I need right outside my front door like Ormskirk does – I’m forever thankful that I have a student house right next to the main high street!

For those of you taking A Levels or other exams in the next few months, the Easter holidays really do provide you with an excellent opportunity to knuckle down and get some hardcore revision in. It’s absolutely not too early to start revising and it’s best to come up with at least some kind of schedule to ensure you get to cover everything in the time you have. I know it really sucks having to give up your time off of Sixth Form or college in order to revise, but it is totally worth it once you get to your extra long summer and you don’t have to worry so much about results. At that point you can just look forward to starting university and all the amazing memories that you’re going to make!