4 Weeks out, how should I be managing my time?
As you get to the business end of the HSC, I’m sure many of you have spent a long time wondering, stressing over, and planning how you are going to spend your valuable study time. This is the age-old question of how to study the most efficiently for all your subjects whilst not burning out as you come down the home stretch.
The best advice that I can give is BALANCE. I know you have heard it all before, but it is true, maintaining a good balance is essential to nailing the next few weeks.
But what do I mean by balance?
1. Have a structure.
Having a planned timetable is the first and most important step of studying. Now you don’t have to spend half a day on a 4-week plan that is so unrealistic that you never stick to it. An approach like this is very hard to maintain long term. Instead, first thing in the morning, get a piece of paper and a pen and write down two things. A To Do List and Timetable. Doing this every morning will help you feel like you are in control of your day and ensure you maintain a good balance.
Your To Do List should be a complete list of everything you want to achieve that day, including things like; going on a run, catching up with a friend on the phone, through to all the work you want to get done.
To turn your to-do lost into a timetable, simply determine how long each task will take and when you want to do each one. Make sure you are scheduling in 5-15 minutes breaks every hour and at least 30 minutes for some sort of exercise. It doesn’t matter the type of exercise. Go for a walk with your dog, run around your block or do some star jumps. Getting moving at least once a day is important as it helps you be more productive and clears your mind.
2. Don’t forget to switch off
Now let’s pretend: you have just spent 9 hours studying, got through everything that you wanted to do, gone for a run, had a chat to a mate and its now 8pm. What should you do? Should you do more study? The answer is NO! Take a break!!!! Go read a book, watch a movie with your family or sit with your cat. Everyone needs a break and studying from 7am-11pm is neither healthy nor efficient. Taking breaks from the stress and pressure is important for your motivation, mental health and general wellbeing and should also be scheduled into your days.
Even better, schedule in rewards so that you have something to look forward to at the end of the day, something that will motivate you to put your head down and plough through the work. Planning to go to the library from 8am-6pm? Fantastic, schedule in a movie as well for after. That movie that you have being wanting to watch for ages. Not only will you have the motivation to get the work done that day, you’ll also find that you relax and recharge enough to go back and do it all again the next day.
Please, please, please, don’t forget to sleep. Getting between 8-10 hours of sleep is essential for long-term studying and for maintaining a good mindset. It will help you study better, remember more and work more efficiently. Don’t think that you need to be studying up to 12am and then waking up at 6am to jump right back into it. That strategy will only work short term and you will burn out before getting to the HSC. Give yourself time to rest, relax and re-energise.
4. Stay in contact with your friends.
Staying in contact with friends, especially in lockdown is essential to success. All of your mates are going through the exact same thing as you and understand all the issues that you are facing, so talk to them. Check in with people you haven’t heard from in while, even if it is just to ask a question about a subject. When libraries open, organise to spend the day working together with a couple of mates. These interactions will bolster your motivation and keep you in a healthy mindset. It will also let you ask any questions you have and help you learn off each other. The process of teaching a subject to someone else is one of the best ways to gain consolidate your understanding of the subject. Integrating social interaction and study is essentially killing two birds with one stone as it is an efficient and healthy way to study and prepare for your exams while maintain healthy mind set.