For teenagers, school takes up what seems like every waking second of everyday. Even in the school holidays and vacations, there’s the overhanging feeling of the undone homework and unfinished revision that awaits you. I, for example, have a two week Easter Holiday coming up and I know I can’t do anything major in that fortnight because I also have GCSE’s and I know I won’t enjoy much if I’m not revising.
With that said, it is still extremely important that you split your time evenly and balance everything in your life as well as you can. Teenagers have millions of things going on - school work, exams, college/sixth form applications, keeping up with friends, doing extracurricular stuff and out of school clubs. It seems like there’s not enough hours in the day to fit everything in sometimes.
We’re told to prioritise school and make sure it’s out #1 concern. But what about other stuff - getting enough sleep, spending time with our friends? We’re expected to get eight to ten hours of sleep a night, but research has shown that only 15% of teenagers actually do so.
So - how are we meant to do it?
I can’t give you a flat out answer or method, because I myself am still not exactly sure how one is meant juggle everything and still have time to get ten hours of sleep and the appropriate amount of time outside - but I have a couple things that certainly help.
The first important thing is to work out how many hours should be spent doing what on a schoolday. Work out what time you need to wake up, and from that figure out the appropriate time to go to sleep. From there, you can work out how much time you have between getting home from school and going to bed, and can fit in your tasks accordingly. For example, I sometimes get in from school at 5PM, and I need to sleep at around 11PM - so, I can split the five remaining hours between revising, TWE work and having time to relax.
Next up is weekend hours - try and do the same thing, but bear in mind that it’s vital to take a breaks on these days, so include the relaxing stuff too. Ie, I include lie ins and Netflix marathons on my weekend plans, as well as revision and homework.
Another really helpful method is to combine activities. If you want to see your friends and revise, why not have a group study session? You could all go to a local park or cafe or to somebody’s house and bring your books/laptops. Or if there’s an episode of a TV show or a new album you wanna listen to, why not do them at the same time? It might seem like you’ll get distracted, but if you just want a day of laidback revision then it can work out really well.
Forcing yourself to revise can be unhealthy too. If you can feel your brain just blanking, it usually means you may be too tired, or haven’t eaten or drunk enough. I usually feel after an hour or so or revising, so I stop for half an hour (give or take) and have a drink and watch some YouTube videos. There’s no point trying to force yourself to learn something or do something when you’re tired because this effect your mood.
And possibly most importantly - be sensible. Don’t do a week straight of revising and take a whole week off. Don’t sacrifice your sleep to revise or spend time with people. Don’t skip meals or forget to drink because you’re taking on too much. Focus on your health as much as you are your exams.
Last, but not least - it’s quality, not quantity. Five hours of half hearted revision can be less helpful than an hour of full concentration revision. Four hours with your friends can be fun, as opposed to taking a whole or day two with them and letting your revision falter.
Remember, this stress and pressure isn’t permanent. In three months (as of April 2017), you’ll be done with school, and it’ll all be over. It’ll be worth it.