How students can get the most of their GCSE study leave
Study leave is when schools and sixth forms allow students to study and revise for their GCSE exams in the comfort of their own homes to the lead up of GCSE exam season. Students are not expected or forced to go into school during study leave; however, most institutions do provide study lessons during this time, so that if students did still want to be in school to study, they can. However, the majority of students choose to stay at home for GCSE study leave.
The advantages of GCSE study leave
Study leave allows students to learn everything they need to for the GCSE exam in their own time, how they want, and what speed. It allows students to set study goals themselves, alowing to arrange their own times of study. Sometimes study revision lessons set up by your school will either focus on certain topics or do a crash course of the subject where everything is only briefly revisited. This means you may not be able to visit an area that you need a lot of work on, or that the lessons are too brief for your studies, whereas at home you can focus on your weaknesses. Working at home may help you to deal with GCSE exam stress, as everything is completed in your own time, allowing you to work around your plans. It allows student more free time, which could be spent getting a job while completing GCSE’s which is great for the bank but can hinder revision time, being able to balance working and studying is key to success.
Furthermore, GCSE study leave is a great practice run for studying A-Levels, BTECs and university degrees as the higher the education the level, the higher amount of independent study is required of the students. Students should use this time effectively to gain insight into how college and university will feel – with less lesson and contact time, and more independent study time. It also gives students an idea of their own ability and where and how they study effectively.
The disadvantages of GCSE study leave
Although study leave is very much on a student’s own terms, it can be just as easy to take advantage of the time at home. Some students may find less motivated to work at home, as they are used to studying at school and relaxing at home. Students should try to ensure they use every day productively to become prepared for their GCSE exams. It is easy to procrastinate at home, especially with so many distractions around – televisions, game consoles, laptops, and music, etc. – as these distractions are not found typically at school each day, so adapting and learning how to stop procastinating during GCSE revison is vital.
Additionally, it is also very easy to feel stressed and end up overworking and burning out, which happens when an individual works too hard that they either feel run down, or that they cannot complete any more work. This is not a good way to spend your GCSE study leave, as it is most likely that you will stay feeling demotivated for the rest of the duration.
Choosing where to revise at home
Once you are confident and up to date with GCSE revision tips, it’s time to start choosing the location on your revision. There are many different places to revise at home; some students prefer their bedrooms as this is their safe place and most of their belongings situate there, while others like to revise in a room that is less familiar to them, such as the living room, dining room or unused room within the house. Students need to work out the best room for them, and it may include studying in all available areas until they find the one that suits them best.
Revising outside of the home
Some individuals may feel that they revise better at the library or at school, as the brain feels that this is the best atmosphere for them to study – that is okay too. Be sure to pack snacks to fuel revision, trying to study with an empty stomach can be difficult. While other students like to open their textbooks in their back garden, especially if the weather is nice! Again each student needs to work out the best atmosphere for them.
Revising with your friends during study leave
Students should be aware that revising with certain friends will either help or hurt their revision during study leave. Some friends may distract you or have a different mind-set to you, and if you feel that you are not completing enough, or an effective amount of work when they study within a group should then either work through this or choose to study alone. Your friends won’t be annoyed at you for wanting to study alone, or want to succeed at your exams so don’t feel bad for not seeing them as much during study leave. Also, you could always study alone each day but see them in the evening as more of a social event, as it can feel strange to not see your friends as often especially as you are used to seeing them every day!
Look after number one
It is just as important to take care of yourself during GCSE study leave as it is to work through your study goals. Your mind and body need sufficient amount of fuel and nutrients to work at its best, from drinking enough water, having lots of fruit and veg and getting enough sleep. Students should also try to incorporate exercise during study leave to keep their body active and to help destress during a very anxious time.
How to stay motivated during GCSE study leave
It can be tough for students to stay motivated when studying at home or feeling stressed about their upcoming GCSE exams. Students can create a list of things they want to do when their GCSE exams are over, or a bucket list for the summer, or plan a summer holiday with friends, or even plan a gap year, setting goals can help you focus! These positive things will help keep you motivated during an anxious time and remind you that there is, in fact, a life after the exams!
How to revise effectively
Students can make a study plan, a revision timetable and a study goal list to allow them to see progress within their studies. These plans will showcase what areas that students need to work on, and concentrate on areas of weakness in certain subjects. It will also show how well their studies are doing when they see how much they have completed and how far they have to go. If students are unsure what areas they need to focus on, or where to start with their revision, they can speak to their teachers who will also know how well they can perform – it’s very typical to revise with past GCSE exam papers.
Students can prioritise their weakest subjects first as these subjects seek the most improvement, as well as focusing on their least liked subjects – as these will be hardest to be motivated to study. Write down the exam dates of each subject on the timetable to ensure you are revising the right subjects and corresponding revision with their exam dates, so that you feel prepared for each GCSE exam date.
Set up a regular revision routine
Breaks away from revision is vital for your brain to store the information you have studied, and will also keep you sane during study leave! Using what you learnt in the exam revision tips nd putting them into practise is important for your revision. Your body and mind will need a break, fresh air and time away from the textbooks to be able to effectively study each and every day. Once you finish a subject and move on to a different one to study, students should then revisit that first subject prior to the exam to ensure they remember the information and feel confident when walking into the exam.
How to stay positive
Each study session will differ from the next, especially as students begin to work on subjects that they find difficult, or that they don’t enjoy, or that they feel most stressed about. Therefore, students should not feel discouraged if they feel their study days concerning their ‘bad’ subjects are not as effective as their ‘good’ subjects. The amount of work that needs to be done for each GCSE subject will be different to the next, meaning the study session will to. Don’t feel bad if you only get through one past exam paper for Maths but complete three for English!
It’s important to mention to stay calm at all times, after GCSE results day, if needed, students are allowed to retake GCSE exams and there are always career options after taking GCSE’s, as long as students work hard, there should be no problem!