Updated: Aug 5
Want to learn the secrets behind having a productive and rewarding year of academic study? Daniela shares 8 tips to help you get off to a great start - listen up GCSE or A Level students!
Whenever a new school year was starting, I’d always tell myself: "This time I will thrive!". The enthusiasm would keep me going for several weeks, but somehow, along the way, I’d never seem to match that with the workload and busy schedule of the school days; somehow, everything ended up feeling overwhelming. Looking back, the wiser, older me would have a few tricks in the bag, but summing it up, I’d start with a plan.
It sounds very basic and easy enough, and yet plenty of students (and adults) skip a good amount of rest hours. Distractions surround you, but if you want to be at your most alert and awake, then you’ll have to give your body a proper amount of sleep hours. Establish good sleeping habits in order to build a healthy sleeping routine: going to bed at roughly the same hour every night, turning off electronic devices at least an hour before sleep, reading a few pages from a book, even that nice chamomile tea will contribute to you calming down for the day and getting some good rest.
In the short term, the sound of a sleep routine might not be the most exciting, but you’ll be grateful for it in the long run.
2. Don’t skip meals
Again, it sounds like common sense, but regular healthy meals will give you that much-needed energy throughout the school year. Start the day with a consistent breakfast, and if you’re not much of a morning eater, then grab a snack to keep you going until lunch time. Skip unhealthy options and choose food that has some good nutritional value. Good food = plenty of energy!
3. Organise your schedule
Classes, tests, hobbies, friends — the more organised you are, the better you will be able to make the most of each of these opportunities without feeling overwhelmed. There are so many ways in which you can organise your time in a fun way. Go digital, with plenty of apps for keeping track of school activities and upcoming deadlines. Make a colourful board and colour code your activities to track how your time is being spent. Get a diary and keep it with you, for when you need to have a quick look at your schedule. This is a great habit to get into and will help you when you need to make a revision timetable during exams.
4. Organise your classes
Keep your class info in order using colour binders for each subject. Use clear folders to store your notes or use apps that will help you keep track of things. It will all come in handy when you have to revise for tests or get hold of any information quickly.
5. Find a study buddy
Everyone needs motivation and help to stay on track. A work buddy will be there to offer support and will provide insights that you haven’t considered. Wherever you feel you have some gaps in your knowledge, or lack that extra push of determination, having someone else to study with can prove very helpful for when you’re navigating the load of the school year. If you find yourself distracted from meeting up in person, then do a Skype study session. You won’t have to dress up and go out, and it will keep away the temptation of chit chat and goofing around.
6. Build a good relationship with your teachers
For an extra dose of motivation, learn more about your teachers. Teachers are a great source of inspiration and assistance whenever you find yourself struggling. Be alert in class, prove your interest, take notes, and don’t be shy about voicing your opinions. This is particularly important during A Levels where class sizes are smaller and you'll need to be on the right side of your teachers to succeed!
7. Get involved
Apart from the set school schedule, find out what other extracurricular activities your school is offering. It is a great way of meeting people, discovering new hobbies or enjoying the ones you already love, and breaking the routine of school days.
8. Have a distraction free area
It’s not about how many hours you put into studying, but the focus that you allocate to it, and a distraction free area will help you do just that. Find a space in your house which is off limits to anyone but you during your allocated time for schoolwork. Limit social media and anything else that usually breaks your concentration. It may seem tough in the beginning, but if you manage to focus for a few hours, distraction free, you’ll gain more in terms of quality of work and overall free time.
What are your tips for a smooth and productive school year?
Blog Post Crafted by Daniela
Daniela holds a BA in Drama from the University of Bucharest. Fascinated by film, she moved to London in 2015 to study Acting for Screen at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Since graduating, she has been dividing her time between acting and tutoring. With a passion for languages, Daniela speaks Romanian, Dutch and English, and hopes to soon add Spanish and Italian to the list. Outside of work, Daniela can be found climbing, dancing, running, and (when she manages to stay still) at the cinema, devouring the latest movies — although she’s mainly there for the candy.