Getting back into the swing of studying, especially after the Christmas break, can be hard for everybody – students, teachers and parents alike! It’s something to do with the anti-climax of real life after the magic of Christmas – the darkness after the fairy lights – and the realisation that the sparkling New Year is going to require some of the same-old same-old work…
But the arrival of the new year can be used as a force for good. We all know our own weaknesses, both in terms of our subject knowledge and in terms of our studying routine, but during the busyness of normal life we tend not to admit to them, much less act to change them. Now, however, is the perfect time of year to do just that – to act on these flaws and make sure we remove them. In this way, New Year’s Resolutions can be a very useful educational tool.
The trick is to be very specific regarding what you want to change. Simply stating that you will work ‘harder’ or ‘more’, or that your essays will be ‘better’, isn’t going to be much good. To make a New Year’s Resolution that will really have a positive impact on your studying, you need to know exactly what it is you want to change. This requires a bit of honesty on your part, and probably some trawling through of old TMAs to find all the targets that your tutor has written for you – especially useful if you find the same target cropping up again and again!
If you’re studying for an examination this summer, this is the perfect opportunity to get organised. The first step is to sit down with a calendar and your study file (and, if you’re a stationery kind of person, with a few highlighters and pens of different colours). Work out how many TMAs you have left to get through, and the date by which you should be finished (This might not be the same as your exam date! Talk to your tutor – they might want you to finish 4-6 weeks before the exam in order to get some serious revision done). Also, schedule a chat with your tutor and find out if there are any areas that they think would be worth revisiting before the examination. Armed with all this knowledge, you’ll be able to plan your studying timetable effectively. You’ll know exactly how many weeks you can dedicate to each module / TMA and you’ll feel completely in control of your own studying. If that’s not a good feeling to start the New Year with, I don’t know what is.