The festive holidays are a great time to unwind from a busy term. So, when you find out you have to revise for exams in the new year it can become a challenge trying to give yourself a well-earned rest and keep on top of your work at the same time.
We spoke to Katie Thorpe, a 21-year-old who is in her third year studying History at Exeter University. She shares her top tips on how to balance revision and fun over the holidays.
My first piece of advice is to make sure you are organised. At first, the amount of work you have to do can be very overwhelming but getting up early and splitting your revision will help break it up. Make a realistic timetable to ensure you don’t need to cram any last-minute revision. If you start revision early, you will reduce stress and improve your chances for your exams.
Plan your revision around Christmas activities by being sensible and realistic about how many social activities you want to go to. During the festive holiday, plans can change so remember to be flexible with your revision but also be strict enough to make sure you finish everything that needs to be done.
Create a quiet study area as this means you’re less likely to be disturbed and you can avoid distractions. It’s a good idea to leave your phone somewhere outside of your study area as having time off your phone will help you be more productive in the long-term.
When planning your revision, make sure you have short revision sessions with regular breaks and are constantly eating and drinking water as this will help you concentrate. Implementing a reward session such as treating yourself to a biscuit or some chocolate at the end of each topic will keep you going.
Prioritise and spend longer on things you don’t understand. If you’re struggling with a topic, then vary your revision techniques – try mind-maps and using past paper questions.
It’s important to maintain a good work-life balance but that will only happen if you are organised and have mapped out a schedule. Knowing that you are out with friends in the evening should be motivation to get what you need done during the day.
Busy people get a lot done so stay motivated and pace yourself for the long haul. Give yourself targets to help you avoid doing all-nighters. If you work hard, it will pay off.
Take care of yourself
Get out of the house and have some fresh air. Simple things like going for a walk can help release stress and give you a clear head. It’s important to remember to rest, don’t overdo the revision or you risk wearing yourself out. If you’re feeling stuck, have a change of scenery, for example revising in a coffee shop or a library, as this can help boost your motivation, productivity and wellbeing.
Remember to have fun
Finally, don’t feel guilty! If you have a positive attitude throughout the holidays, including while doing your revision, it will help to make it more enjoyable.
You can also make your revision more fun by involving your friends or family e.g. using flashcards. Everyone around you wants you to do the best you can do, so don’t feel guilty asking for help.
The exam season doesn’t last long, and when it is finished, normal life can quickly resume.
Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!