Monday 19 March 2018

Time Management... Students: be realistic and try not to procrastinate

Betty Mc Laughlin

The key to good time management is to have a realistic and workable plan, with a little extra wriggle-room built in for unforeseen events. It’s no different for the Leaving Certificate.

You are approaching the end of the term; and by now you will have at least the bones of a study plan in place. 

You will also have some idea of what subjects and topics will require the most study and the most revision time. While some of this advice has already been given elsewhere, it is really well worth repeating.

Here are some tips for managing your time effectively coming up to Leaving Cert:

* Firstly study your examination timetable. Make yourself aware of the sequence of exams, and how they are spread out. Make sure your family and those close to you are fully aware of these important dates too

* Make a study plan for the weeks leading up to the start of exams, and also for days between exams. The plan should be realistic and achievable. It is important that it should stretch you but not stress you

* Prioritise your subjects, and allocate time for revising each subject area

* Organise your notes, texts, essays and study resources before you get started. If you are missing any key notes or resources, make sure you get them from a teacher or class mate

* Plan your study location – where you can work best without distractions. Bring everything you need to this location, and nothing you don’t absolutely need

* Eliminate any unnecessary distractions – online or otherwise

*Establish a routine. Start at a fixed time each day, giving yourself 15 minutes or so to organise your thoughts and notes etc, before you begin

* Rotate the order of  the subjects you study each day

* Take short breaks (five minutes maximum) between subject areas studied

* Take at least 30 minutes exercise each day, a brisk walk, a swim or a short cycle. You will feel reinvigorated after it and it will help to relieve the clutter in the brain!

* If you have heavy sports or music commitments, work out a schedule with coaches or other interested parties where your preparation for the Leaving Certificate can take absolute priority for the duration of your revision and examination period

* Parents should check in with their children at this stressful time and a little TLC goes a long way to relieve stress. If you are concerned about how your young person is coping contact your GP or school/guidance counsellor

* Check the date and commencement of each examination you are undertaking. Tape your exam timetable somewhere prominent in the kitchen. (Mum/Dad/other family members – be aware of the dates and any other family or work events likely to occur during these weeks). It’s really worthwhile for families to spend an hour or so, going through the calendar to ensure that the period leading up to and during Leaving Cert exams runs as smoothly as possible without any unnecessary breaks or upheavals in family and household routine.

Key Tips for Procrastinators

* Start with a short,  easy topic and  complete that first

* Practice the Fifteen Minute Study rule. Acknowledge that in the first 15 minutes your concentration will be poor but agree with yourself to continue until you are more immersed in the task

* Take your study and revision one step at a time and make a quiet note of each step completed in your revision. Try not to think of everything you have to do all at once and tackle that mountain one step at a time

* Work alongside non-procrastinators and observe how they study

* Remember: A Goal without a Plan is just a wish (Saint Exupery).

Key tips for students who find it hard to switch off from work

* Take plenty of short breaks

* Apply daily leisure time to the physical activity that relaxes you the most – whether it’s walking, running or a game of tennis

* Stay sociable

* Make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep and focus on healthy eating wherever possible.

Betty Mc Laughlin, National President, Institute of Guidance Counsellors

Irish Independent

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