New Year, New You
Here at Tutor House, we take the concept of ‘new year, new you’ very seriously. If you’ve had a less than productive start to the year, you might feel like you’ve missed your chance to turn your grades around. Allow us to respectfully demonstrate just how wrong you are with six steps to guarantee a stronger academic performance in the months to come.
Out with the old, in with the new; it’s an expression that tends to do the rounds this time of year. Like all new year's resolutions, strong study goals begin with a long, hard look at what has passed. What were some effective work habits you picked up last year? And which are you hoping to leave in 2021 where they belong?
Having a good old brainstorm about what might have gone wrong in days gone by is the first step towards making sure you do better this year. An essential ingredient here is honesty; lay it all out on the table and don’t skip any of the gory details. Face up to all possible mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones again.
2. Get organised
Before your grand project of study improvement can begin, you’ll need to get all your ducks in a row. Order your notes from last term and go over exactly what you’ve covered in class up to this point.
Then comes the fun part: stocking up. Folders, ring binders, an endless supply of highlighters - go wild! Even if you’ve never set foot in a stationery shop in your life, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that, after a few weeks of pretending to be a super organised person, lo and behold, you actually succeed in becoming a super organised person. Putting in place simple organisational rituals will get you in the mindset for note taking and help you become a more effective learner.
3. Establish your own learning style
Following on from this mise en place of the necessary tools and accompaniments, another vital step in paving the way for effective study involves a spot of self-analysis. As we discussed in a previous blog, everyone learns in different ways. Perhaps you absorb information best visually, or maybe you’re someone who prefers a hands-on approach and needs to prioritise ‘doing’ in order to fully grasp a concept. However your brain is wired, knowing the kind of learner you are and how best to harness that in your pursuit of productive study is crucial if you’re aiming for the best results.
4. Structure your studies
If you’re familiar with the Tutor House blog, you’ll be well aware of what can only be described as our obsession with revision timetables. If you’ve been holding off until now, let this be the year you finally introduce a timetable into your working routine.
With a whole day stretching out in front of you, it’s easy to think you’ve got plenty of time and approach work with a casual, even lethargic, mentality. But the time flies and before you know it, it’s 4pm and you’ve barely covered one chapter. Organising your day into chunks will help you create realistic expectations of what you can get done into a day and ensure you’re working at your most productive. Check out our previous blog to read more about the benefits of revision timetables and start assembling one of your own.
5. Start building a stronger working relationship with your teachers
As tough as it may be for some students to swallow, teachers are your most valuable allies in the push for those top grades. So, establishing mutual trust and respect is vitally important if you want to get the most out of teaching time. This comes in various different forms, from your general attitude to your behaviour in class.
It may be tempting to make a beeline for the back of the classroom and spend an hour whispering with friends, but being attentive and receptive during lessons will make the run up to exam season far easier for both you and your teacher. Having the confidence and respect to approach your teacher with questions or requests for advice on how to improve your performance will help you immeasurably in the long run.
6. Be kind to yourself
It’s no secret that school can be immensely stressful at times, particularly if you’re in the middle of those peak work years (namely Year 11, 12 or 13). Though this period requires you to keep your eye firmly on the ball, making sure you factor in time for yourself is non-negotiable.
Not only will it substantially improve your mental health, it’s guaranteed to make your remaining study time more productive. Our brains need rest and you’ll never be able to carry out your best, most thoughtful work if you’re permanently skirting the edge of burnout. So don’t neglect the me-time you need this year.
Go forth and thrive!
As 2021 fades from view, embrace the air of renewal that exists around this time. Flush out the old and get excited about all you can achieve this year with a shiny new mindset. Tutor House will be with you every step of the way.
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