Setting up study goals
Study goals, or revision goals or a great way to ensure you are working towards what you need to pass your GCSE exams. You should set up study goals for each subject, and ideally, have more than one for each subject and have them featured at different points of your revision schedule. They can motivate you to study, which can be difficult to stick with, especially if you have study leave from your school. It is normal to feel demotivated during GCSE revision, especially as you are trying to revise for several subjects and with feel stressed and anxious about the upcoming GCSE exams. Therefore, setting goals for yourself will help you make sense of your workload, maintain focus which will help with dealing with your GCSE exam stress. It will help understand where you are at the moment and how far you have left to go to achieving that study goal.
Ensure you are positively reinforcing yourself when you achieve that study goal, i.e. if you want to remember all the major composers, instruments, and note sequences of the classical period, allow yourself to watch a movie that night, or stay at a friend’s house as a small reward for achieving this. It could be that you treat yourself with a take-away or a meal, or even a snack to fuel your GCSE revision to keep you going! However, don’t overdo it as you may find yourself rewarding yourself constantly and not studying most of the time! Only you can understand how much you need to learn, and how much of an achievement it is when you complete it!
The best type of study goals are specific, so don’t reward yourself with a night off of studying if your study goal is ‘to revise’! Instead of choosing a vague area, try to be more precise, another example is, ‘to complete three homework pieces for biology: diseases’, or ‘to create 5 spider diagrams for geography rock formations’. This way you know what you need to do as part of your revision timetable, but also what is on your to-do list, what subjects need the most work, and what you need to do to reach the goal.
The study goals that you create need to make you feel encouraged and motivated to studying. If one of your study goals is to read the Macbeth play you are studying by the end of the week, you know that there is an end point and can see it within the near future, as well as understand how much effort the activity is. If you set up a really large goal, such as learn the entire CGP Statistics study book, you won’t feel motivated to complete it as it is such a big and unforgiving task! It’s key to get the most out of your GCSE study leave and to stop procrastinating during revision, you want to stay on topic and motivated.
It is also a great way to trick your mind into completing something when you realise that there is an end in sight, and more likely to finish the tasks. You are able to get into the right frame of mind to complete the goals, and it will take a big chunk off of your to-do list, which feels good on its own anyway! Furthermore, it will give yourself some positive reinforcement as you achieve the goal it will feel like a minor but important achievement! Well done!
Make your goals achievable
It can be too easy to set up unrealistic study goals, that you find when you try to complete them, are literally impossible, such as memorising the entire Oxford English Dictionary! Make sure your personal study goals are realistic, and also, beneficial to your revision! Your goals are for you, and don’t feel the need to copy your friend’s goals – even if they are studying the same subject as you! Each student has their strengths and weaknesses and their own revision timetable, and the same should be said for your study goals.
Your study goals need to be relevant
Another thing to consider, is how relevant your study goals are to your subjects, and overall revision timetable. Prioritise your weakest subjects first as these are the ones that need the most attention and progress through the entire revision sessions. It’s great to use past GCSE exams to revise, you can time these like it would be in the exam. Additionally, if you have more work to complete for a subject, you can create more study goals – if they need it – which will form as stepping stones as you work through that subject.
Also, another tactic is to get the subjects that you like the least out of the way first as they may seem the hardest to feel motivated about. That way, when it comes to studying for the 11th subject, you won’t feel so stressed out that you don’t work on revising for that subject at all! If you get the worst ones out the way first you can begin to enjoy revising the closer it gets to the exams, and feel less anxious about the whole thing. It’s worth mentioning if there are particular subject that you will are likely to study at A level or is likely to link to an apprenticeship – if you’re looking to study a PJEA apprenticeship, then GCSE’s in Business studies and Maths would benefit – then these subjects may want some extra attention.
Create deadlines for your study goals
When you set up your study goals, work out deadlines for each one that are doable and realistic. It will be pointless to create a study goal where you have only given yourself a couple of days to complete, or not having a deadline on it at all – as these will definitely not be helpful to your revision! When looking at your revision timetable, work out how much time you can allocate to this study goal, and realistically how long it will take – putting into perspective when your exams and other commitments are too. If you are working, it’s important to manage working and studying, finding the right balance is key! Then set a deadline and work on completing it.
Setting up deadlines is a great tool to allow yourself to practice working towards a set date, and feeling prepared for when that time comes. If, at the beginning of your revision you set up deadlines throughout, you will feel less anxious about the big deadline of the exam, and understand how to use your time effectively. It is also great practice for other exams, such as A-Levels and degrees, and for work experience as you will will see deadlines through all of these areas.