OK, so here we are, Easter holidays again. How did that happen so fast? One minute it's January and the next thing, it is the Easter holidays, which means that the next big one is the month of June. Yikes, that means that we have only just over nine weeks to the dreaded first day of exams. Before the panic and feeling of overwhelm starts to hit, let’s figure out how to manage it. The good news is, that with a little bit of planning and some clear thinking, you can make the next nine weeks run so much more smoothly.
Divide the amount of revision (chapters/topics) you have left to do in each subject by the number of weeks and then divide this by the number of days, this way you know exactly what is ahead of you and you will be able to manage it. Put this into your study planner with the intention of studying for from 2 to 4 hours each evening from Monday to Thursday, in 30 minute blocks with 5 minute breaks in between; homework only on Friday (you need a break) and Maths exam questions (minimum of two) on a Saturday morning. Sunday should be all about review and planning for the week ahead (just 30 minutes needed for this). You can do more study on a Sunday after that but please remember, this schedule is just the core work, or to put it another way, the minimum you need to do at this stage. Of course, if you are aiming for the best Leaving Cert possible, you will need to do more than the core amount, but your own common sense will tell you that.
Whatever amount of time you put in and commit to, remember it is always about quality more than quantity. Two hours of head down, topic driven, goal orientated short bursts of study is always going to be more effective, then four hours of sitting in a room staring out a window because you feel trapped and have no clear direction. If you are a Junior Cert student, study and put in the time but also balance it, this is the Junior Cert not the Leaving Cert so study appropriately, in other words don’t overdo it and possibly half the recommended Leaving Cert study time.
Organize your notes now, to match the weeks you have planned out, for when you go back to school. This way you can easily and simply find what you need when you sit down to study your topics. You also won’t drive yourself crazy, trying to find everything, when you are tired after a long day at school. The adage about Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail is as tried and true as ever. Why, because it makes sense. A few hours of dedicated organization time now, is going to pay dividends in the weeks ahead. Put your notes in the order of your topics on your study planner and then they will be to hand and easy to find.
Ensure you have built some downtime into the Easter Holidays, so that you can go back refreshed into the new term. The fact is, that the most productive study is not about long hours slaving over the books, it is about focused, specific, goal driven study. At this stage, it should be about topics and exam questions. It is also about being at your optimum best because you have used your downtime wisely, so that you have the energy to use your study time well. The study training you have been doing for the last few months is now about to be ramped up. As you face into the final stretch like any s easoned marathon runner knows, you pace yourself and ensure that your training has a goal and a apurpose. You need to avoid the danger of peaking too soon and burning out, so plan for these next few hectic weeks now and feel the benefit as the dreaded date in June looms.