Heading Back to School
With the ‘Back to School’ wave of notices and advertisements, it is difficult to ignore the start to a new academic year. It will be exciting to see friends again and have your favourite extracurricular activities kick start again. A new year means a whole new opportunity to push yourself in your schoolwork. Knowing that class content and assessments will still come and go, we might as well try our best to see how well we can perform.
Like your favourite musician or athlete needs to warm up before, rather than during a song or mid-game, it is important to start some healthy habits to get as ready as possible. Let’s look at some tips on putting your best foot forward.
Scheduling your Time
Timetabling allows for a clear presentation of your schedule and planning. Keeping a mental note of all the things you have to do can be tiring and confusing, making it very easy to lose track.
There are many ways to create a timetable. But from years of experimenting, I have narrowed it down to some techniques that work best for me. I start with a general timetable for the week.
It is important to schedule in homework, study and revision time, and spread them across the week. Avoid overloading yourself by doing only one subject or too many different subjects a day. It will also be exhausting to try to understand content and memorise, all on the same day. Breaking up a subject into different sessions ensures a complete review of the requirements in a tangible manner.
Homework time regards set questions to do for class and working on assignment tasks. Study time refers to making notes, whilst revision time involves reiterating the content to ensure you can understand and actively recall. Doing all these makes sure you are prepped for your exams, just doing the homework or making notes is not enough.
Tag Hard Concepts
Tag or mark difficult points to go over later. Come back with a fresh mind. Make sure you address these tags as soon as possible to prevent pile ups.
Use folders, colour coding, cloud back up services and a calendar
Things can come up randomly. Don’t be too worried if you have to shift your schedule around. Timetables are a guide, not a strict order
Divide and conquer
Setting Study Goals
As we all know, we can sometimes overestimate our abilities. There’s a popular quote that goes along the lines of:
To have a functional schedule requires the setting of attainable goals. Breaking down tasks into bite-size pieces ensures you don’t overwork yourself and manage realistic expectations. Focus on getting at least something done every day, regardless of how small it may seem.
The mobile and laptop app called Microsoft To-Do allows one to create a checklist of the tasks needed to be completed in a day. Having an online list provides the flexibility to view and edit it from any device. Here is a sample of how the app can be used:
It is highly recommended to allocate specific time slots to each task to be strict with yourself. Remember to put in regular breaks to rejuvenate yourself. You may like to try studying for 20 minutes then take a 10-minute break and do this for a 2-hour cycle.
The table of the week allows for a quick glance of my upcoming schedule, whilst my online checklist enables me to be specific with my daily tasks.
Write it Down
Avoid trying to remember all the things you need to do. Keep a list on your phone to keep track
Focus on your Weaknesses
Don’t dwell too long on easier concepts & content. Expose yourself to more questions and readings for harder topics
To really know your content:
- Read out loud without consulting notes
- Rewrite major content points without consulting notes
Knowing your Support
As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”, it is encouraged to ask for help and support. Your schoolteachers and staff, as well as your SSEDU tutor are keen to help you. Asking questions helps fill up gaps in your knowledge. Ask during class, email them or talk to them at the end of class time. It’s impossible to remember and understand every detail on what you learn from just hearing it once. It can take time, research, and plenty of question-asking to get a good grasp.
Furthermore, to form a solid understanding of a topic, test yourself by forming your own questions. If you are able to ask and answer questions using the keywords: What, why, when, where, who, and how, you have covered the core take-home points.
If you’re finding it difficult to ask questions, start practicing when you get home. Get a notebook out and list out some questions you would have asked but didn’t have the chance to or confidence and do your best to voice yourself when you have the next chance!
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