How to Start Smart





Whether you’re starting a Maths or English course or engaging in GCSE or more advanced studies such as A Levels, you might feel apprehensive about what lies ahead. There are several ways in which you can maximise your chances of success so that on results day you are feeling justifiably proud of yourself! A positive, proactive attitude is a great bonus, but if you find that hard to achieve, you can fake it by practising the advice below.


1. Get Organised

Don’t wait for teachers or tutors to tell you which books to get or which materials you need. Get online and find out! It’s useful to make sure you have a good supply of paper and pens as well as your laptop or PC. It also helps if you allocate yourself a study area that includes a desk or table. Make or buy yourself a large wall planner, and pin it about your desk. Fill it with important dates such as coursework submission deadlines and exam papers. This will help you find the information you need at a glance, and to feel more in control over your programme of study.

2. Project your future success

Close your eyes and imagine the day you receive the results of your course of study. Imagine you’ve passed with flying colours and feel great. Picture yourself celebrating with family and friends. Spend time adding details and developing the picture until it becomes as real as possible. Then set an alarm on your phone to remind you to do this exercise at least once a week throughout your course of study. This technique will help you to develop and maintain the positive attitude that will be instrumental in your success.

3. Set Goals

Don’t just resolve to ‘pass’ your course. If you aim high, your chances of success will be much greater. Set yourself the goal of getting a certain grade or percentage in your first assignment. Then break down your goal into a series of actionable tasks. For example, you could decide that to get a good grade in your English Literature
assignment, you’d need to:

a) Read and re-read the novel.
b) Read and annotate your notes.
c) Read books around the novel/ writer/ era.
d) Plan, write and draft the essay.

Each term, you can readjust your goals to reflect your progress, aiming higher each time.

4. Establish a Healthy Routine

A good night’s sleep, combined with healthy home cooked food and daily exercise, is not be underestimated. Go for a walk every day; get at least eight hours sleep every night; lay off the junk food. These three can transform you from a so-so student into a grade A wonder!

See more by

I'm a former English teacher and private tutor who is passionate about education. I've been writing professionally for the past three years and have written educational worksheets for use in schools as well as contributing to an educational journal. I've also written on every other topic under the sun!

Connect with Oxford Home Schooling