To be honest, Christmas, when you’ve got exams, can be a bit bittersweet – on the one hand, it’s really nice to have a break from lessons where the teachers are going at full speed to get through the syllabus before Easter, but the flip side of that is that you know that when you go back to school you’ll have one/two weeks of back to back exams. Is there a way to strike a balance? Can you have fun and be productive? The answer is yes! Obviously, you’re going to have to do some work, so it’s not going to be as much fun as usual, but don’t let exams get in the way of some downtime – you need to recharge so you can hit those mocks with the full force of your intellect. So, here are my top tips for a productive AND relaxing Christmas holiday.
- Plan your time! If you’ve actually worked out when you’re going to be working, you can use the rest of your time to meet up with people, watch cheesy films, or just sit and read, without feeling guilty for not working.
- Stick a limit on the number of hours you are going to work a day – I didn’t do this in year 11 and it was such an error. If you let yourself work until 11pm, you’re much more likely to procrastinate. But if you’ve told yourself to stop at 6:30pm, your time suddenly becomes much more valuable and you’re less likely to waste it.
- Large group revision sessions don’t always work. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you invite ten of your friends over to go over cell structures, the likelihood is that between you, you’ll find at least five other more interesting things to talk about. Save meeting up with your friends when you can relax! Maybe all go out in the evening to watch a film or go ice-skating, whatever floats your boat.
- Move your phone far away, because although you may have planned to work from 2-4pm, your friend might not have done, and it’s all too easy to get distracted by messages. If you like listening to music, maybe consider using your laptop, or at least put your phone on aeroplane mode. Forest is a good app too, as long as you’re invested in growing your trees (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, download the app and find out)
- Don’t just do the easy things – if you love English, the chances are you’ll be tempted to just analyse the same 15 poems over and over again because it makes you feel smart and productive. Trust me though, the reality will set in at 9pm the night before your maths exam when you realise you have no idea how triangles work (I don’t do maths, but you know what I mean). Make sure that in your productive time, you’re actually being productive- you’ll feel much better for it in the long run, I promise!
- You cannot watch Netflix and work at the same time. Everyone’s been there, but even if you feel like you’re working, I can guarantee you’d be more productive if you weren’t trying to follow the storyline of whatever sitcom you’re watching. Plus, it’s really important to separate your ‘downtime’ and ‘work time’, so when you’re relaxing you can properly distance yourself from your work.
I hope anyone with exams has a restful holiday, with some productive revision sprinkled into the mix! Good luck!