How to make the most of your study leave!

My study leave for my A-levels started Monday, and as usual, I made a pretty clear idea of what I want to do between now and when my exams end. Here are a few tips how to profit best from these stressful weeks to come.

  1. Come up with a plan for what you want to do in a day. You don’t have to write it down, and you can make it as vague as you want, but it’s a good idea to know when you wake up in the┬ámorning what you’re going to do in a day, including free-time, eating lunch and what revision at what time.
  2. Don’t stay in bed too late! At this point, you will start to appreciate how much during school time you really get done during the day. For example, if you’re getting up after 10, it will be 11 after you’ve showered, got dressed and had a cup of tea before you start your studying, and then you’ll barely get started before it’s lunchtime! I like to get up between 8 and 9, so I can get up slowly and get things done in the morning.
  3. Pace yourself. Don’t do too much revision at once! Free-time is important, as it will make you feel good. Doing straight revision for several hours will make you extremely bored, and you’ll end up not concentrating, and therefore wasteyour time.
  4. Exercise is important. It increase air flow to your brain and helps you to think clearer and feel good. You only have to do something for 20 minutes, so you won’t get distracted for too long.
  5. Be sociable. I don’t mean spending the whole day with your friends or family, but talking to people for several minutes at a time will increase your articulacy, and the ability to quickly phrase words on paper as well.
  6. Tone down the social life. If you’re stopping out until late and drinking, you won’t be as switched on the next day, and you will definitely be tired! Also, alcohol aids memory loss, so you might want to tone that down, too. But don’t become a recluse, either. You’ll drive yourself mad!
  7. Keep fueled. Having snacks can work as a good incentive for studying, as you can tell yourself that you can have your next one after you’ve completed a certain section of work, or after you’ve learnt a certain amount of key terms off by heart. For a healthy option, try some plain popcorn or some grapes. For a naughty treat, try some Maltesers or Doritos.

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What to do with your exam results

Today, I got my AS results. They were okay – not brilliant – but okay nonetheless. I had set myself up to fail, so it was a pleasant surprise when I opened up my letter to find that I had not failed a single class, including maths, which I had freaked out about.

The chances are, you have done exactly as expected: received the grades you were predicted, and are looking forward to pursuing the next part of your life, which you have spent the last year or two mapping out. However, there are two other ways your grades could have gone; better than expected, or worse.

If your exams had gone better than expected, congratulations! But what had you planned on doing now? If you’ve got a university acceptance already, that’s great, but is there a possibility that you could end up at an even better establishment? In the UK, UCAS run an “Extra” programme, which shows you all the places that are available in your area of study and match your results. If your GCSEs are better than expected, it’s really easy to get into a college of further education. You just have to act fast. As soon as you get your results, ring up all the local colleges and I’m sure there will be one that is right for you. Did you know that as long as your grades are the minimum requirement, they are not allowed to turn you way?

If your exam results weren’t quite as spectacular as you hoped they would be, don’t panic! Believe me, I’ve been there! What was your plan? Can it be altered? UCAS’ “Extra” programme can also help students look for places in universities with lower grade requirements than the ones you may have initially chosen. If university or college is no longer an option, maybe you could try a gap year. You could have so much fun travelling, or you could get a job and attempt to retake some of your classes from the previous year. You never know, having some extra life skills could enhance your CV or resume, and may even get you accepted a year later to university. There are also foundation degrees, which are year-long qualifications at university which could help you decide if university is really the right path for you. If it is, you can continue straight away onto the undergraduate course. After your GCSEs, you could take the level below in your choice qualification. For example, instead of doing a B-tec level 3 you could do a level 2 or 1 instead. Although it adds another year onto your study, it’s worth it to get exactly where you want to go.

I hope this has been useful to you. If you need some more advice, don’t forget to e-mail me. I love receiving your messages!

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