Your Guide To A Happy And Productive Easter I Oxford Open Learning


    Your Guide To A Happy And Productive Easter

    Your Guide To A Productive And Restful Easter Break

    It’s March and we all know what that brings: Easter! A wonderful two-week break full of questionable weather and possibly one too many chocolate eggs. But this holiday is never quite as enjoyable as the others in your latter teenage years for one foreboding reason: the hallowed spectre of exams just over its shoulder. Yes, with the arrival of Easter, nerves may start to kick in as the realisation dawns that those dreaded tests are merely weeks away, and every now and then your thoughts will take a nagging drift toward one word: revision.

    However, that’s not what your Easter holidays should be all about. Far from it in fact. Sure enough, there should be some studying going on if you want to give yourselves the best possible chance of success when the time comes, but by no means should you spend every waking moment with your nose stuck in a textbook or covered in brightly coloured Post-It notes. It’s important to give yourself time to switch off and relax; do the things you love, see friends and just enjoy time away from learning for a bit. The last thing you need is to burn out now. So, here is your guide to get the best out of your Easter break and strike the perfect balance of work, rest and play.

    Plan Your Break

    When it comes to planning your studies, the first thing to note is that you should sort out your plan before Easter starts. That way, there’s no wasted time. Secondly, you need to decide how many hours you’re going to put into it a day. Here’s what to think about when getting your plan perfect for you. Not everybody works in the same way, after all.

    Time It Right

    There are plenty of different recommendations for this, some say it’s good to treat it like a school day and timetable it just like your school would, others like The Independent Schools Council argue you should be treating it like a job, studying from 9 am until 6 pm (with breaks, of course). That just doesn’t seem realistic or feasible. Remember, this is a break—you’ve already been putting the hard work in this year, and this is your last sizeable chance to recharge before the final battle, so to speak.

    Four hours a day would be ideal, starting early for two hours with a break for lunch and then another two hours in the afternoon. Feel free to stretch it a bit further to five, but four well-used hours of deep work will net you much more benefit than a day-long slog.

    What To Do and When

    Your two-hour blocks are up to you, whether you start early or a bit later, it doesn’t matter as long as you use them effectively. You know your strengths and weaknesses and can plan accordingly, but one recommendation would be to plan your week from hardest to easiest. There’s nothing worse than putting off the hard work because then you have several days’ worth of anxiety on top of what you’re doing. Plus, getting a big win in early will give you huge motivation to go on and storm through the subjects you’re more capable of.

    DAY                                                 BLOCK ONE      BREAK      BLOCK TWO
    MONDAY: Hardest Subject
    FRIDAY: Easiest Subject

    What Is Deep Work?

    Deep work is long periods of uninterrupted and distraction-free concentration which allows your brain to work at its maximum potential. So put the phone away, turn off the telly, and put on a playlist (Hans Zimmer is great for deep work, many say). If two hours like that sounds like it may be a bit too big of an ask at first, there is an alternative: the Pomodoro Technique.

    The Pomodoro Technique

    Developed in the 1980s by a University student who struggled to focus on his studies and assignments, the Pomodoro Technique is a strategy for doing work in short stretches. Twenty-five minutes of focus broken up by five-minute breaks, with a longer break of 15-30 minutes after every fourth stretch.

    What To Focus On

    As mentioned earlier, not everyone revises in the same way. Copying out notes might work for one but do nothing for another. If you haven’t quite worked out what works best for you yet, don’t worry, here are a few suggestions to try:

    Mind-Maps or Spider-Diagrams to break down complex topics
    Creating Essay plans for possible questions
    Flashcards for key dates, vocabulary and facts
    Get your friends or parents involved with quick quizzes and tests

    The most effective way of revising is often touted to be past papers. If you can get your hands on them, there’s no better way to revise; picking them apart not only helps jog your memory of the topics at hand but also clues you in on how to apply your knowledge and just what examiners are looking for in an answer.

    Get Your Eight Hours Too

    There’s always the temptation to have late nights in the holidays because there’s no need to set an alarm, but it’s important to keep up that routine of getting up early if only to preserve your sleep cycle. Sleep is hugely important for your concentration, energy levels and mood. Check out this article for more information on just how important it is.

    With these tips, you should find the perfect balance of getting that revision done and enjoying a nice break while also allowing time for some restful sleep. And once Easter is over, you’ll be in the best shape you can be going into the home stretch before exam season.
    Good luck!

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