Don’t work harder, work smarter

It's the start of a new year and a new course, and with it comes many more opportunities. Many of you will have found yourselves writing New Year's resolutions and, for some, that may include the desire to "work harder" to achieve more. However, working longer does not necessarily equate to better results. It is about working smarter and more effectively.

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New year, new work habits. Here’s a few simple tips to help you learn more efficiently…

It’s the beginning of a new year and a new term, and with that comes many more opportunities. Many of you may have found yourselves writing new year’s resolutions, and for some of you, that may have included the desire to ‘work harder’ in order to achieve more. However, working for longer doesn’t necessarily equate to better results. It’s all about working intelligently, and working efficiently.

The key is to manage your time effectively, and know when is best for you to work. Some people work best in the mornings, others work well in the evenings. Be honest with yourselves, and if you know you work most efficiently in the mornings, set that alarm (or multiple!) and do your best to get up early. Then, instead of spending a whole day studying half-heartedly, you can spend a few hours in the morning getting done what you need to do, and then you can spend the rest of the day relaxing, doing something enjoyable.

Make sure that you know exactly what it is that you are supposed to be doing, whether that’s what you are supposed to be studying or an essay question that you are supposed to be writing. Most GCSE and A Level courses provide a specification of the course content, so ensure that you check this out. This makes a really handy revision checklist that you can work through, and helps you keep on track without you learning unnecessary information that’s probably not going to help you in the exam (although, with essay subjects, every little helps…). Once you’ve been through this, you hopefully won’t have any nasty surprises on the exam day.

I think we’re all inclined to spend more time on something that we enjoy or have a particular interest in or just find somewhat easier than other topics. So, it’s super important to make sure that you spend more time learning things you find harder so that you have more time to make sure you understand those topics. Try not to neglect things you don’t enjoy as much, and who knows, once you’ve spent the time learning something, you may even start to find it more interesting.

Balance is essential. As you approach an exam, or an essay deadline, you may find that you feel you should be spending all day everyday working, but most of the time, this won’t do you any good. If you have planned out what you need to do in advance, you can ensure that you don’t have that last minute panic. ‘Little and often’ is one of those phrases that will have been drilled into you by every music and language teacher since the beginning of time, but it really is true. If you do a little bit everyday over a long period of time, you’re definitely going to remember more than if you attempt to cram everything in the last few days.

Simple changes to your work habits can have massive impact on your learning. Sometimes, you don’t need to work for longer, you just need to work more efficiently.

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