Everyone has a different approach to schoolwork and very few people are completely organised all the time. But you’ll make your life easier if you:
- Make the most of your time in class. You have to be there anyway; and the more work you do during school time, the less you’ll have to do in your own time.
- Make sure you know what homework you have to do and when you have to hand it in. Many schools have online homework systems which remind you, or you can set up your own system.
- Don’t let homework pile up. Ideally, do homework the day that it is set, so you don’t have a backlog. Backlogs can quickly become stressful.
- Don’t get into the habit of missing homework deadlines. This will soon make you feel out of control.
- Do your best, but don’t strive for the perfect essay or the perfect piece of art etc. There’s no such thing, and you’ll only put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
- Do the harder homework when you are feeling most alert. You can do easier things like copying or filing when you are more tired.
- For bigger pieces of homework, like essays or projects, which normally have longer deadlines, make your initial plan or notes as soon as you can; this helps to get your ideas started, and you may well find yourself thinking about it subconsciously when you are doing other things over the next few days.
- Use all the resources available at your school – computers, libraries, members of staff, homework clubs.
Preparing for exams
Your school will normally give you lots of help in preparing for exams, especially major public exams such as GCSEs, highers or A-levels. The main things you need to do are:
- Know exactly what is expected of you in the exams; you can find out the exam specifications online (make sure you know exactly which board and which exams you’re doing)
- Know when every element of the exam is happening (including eg oral or practical elements)
- Work out what you need to do in order to meet the exam specifications by the relevant date
- Make a realistic timetable which:
– sets out all the specific tasks and topics you need to cover in order to meet the exam specifications
– varies the tasks and subjects so you will be more effective
– allows plenty of time for rest and relaxation
- Find the revision techniques which work for you
- Stick as far as you can to the revision timetable
- revise actively rather than just read through notes. Making your own revision cards, mind maps, going over past papers and test questions etc and reorganising the work into your own words will make sure you do know and understand it;
- use a variety of techniques to retain your interest – some written, some oral, some on your own, some with friends;
- don’t try to do too much in any one session
If you like watching YouTube, try Eve Bennett’s revision channel – lots of useful tips from someone who did GCSEs (very successfully!) in 2016 and is currently studying for A-levels. Eve also lists other recommended revision resources.
The exam period often lasts for several weeks, so it’s very important to pace yourself. Don’t exhaust yourself in the first couple of days, and look after yourself as well as you can. Everyone has their own exam strategies, so do what works for you; but try to:
Cut down the things to worry about on exam days: take some time the night before to get everything ready, and double-check that you know exactly where and when you have to be waiting before each exam.
Have a look at these other agnes pages: