So sadly, exam season is about to start and if you haven’t started already then you’re probably thinking about beginning some revision. I’ve been there, done that and got that stressful t-shirt, so I’m going to spill the beans with my ten top tips to survive revision and get the most out of it.
I got pretty average grades in my GCSEs because quite frankly, I didn’t start really revising until about 48 hours before my first exam – which in hindsight, was stupid. Luckily, I still did okay. But by the time I got to A-Levels, which are about a billion times harder than GCSEs, I knew I needed to get my act together. So, these are the things that I learned worked really well for me and helped me get my A-Level grades. Something I did must’ve worked because by some miracle I managed an A* in A-Level English Lit (which i still can’t believe – I think my examiner must’ve been drunk.)
- The first thing I’d suggest is about three months before your first exam, you should make a revision timetable. I totally underestimated the importance of a good revision timetable in my first year of A-Levels, which is probably why I didn’t do very well in my first year. However, I did great in my second year, and I put a lot of that down to a revision timetable. I found that it just made my life feel a bit more organised in a time of absolute chaos and stress. It sounds silly, but because it was written down and set out for me it made me stick to it and I did a lot less procrastinating because of it. Also, because I incorporated breaks into my timetable it meant I was looking forward to my scheduled break as I revised. Basically, it does you a lot of psychological favours. Plus, you can make it look all pretty and colourful, which is always fun.
- Carrying on from what I said about breaks; breaks are very important, make sure you allow yourself them. Breaks can be really motivating, if you’re struggling to get through an hour of maths, knowing you can have twenty minutes at the end to watch some Youtube might just pull you through it. Not only that, but your brain needs a break, you’ll over do it and just frazzle your brain if you don’t allow yourself breaks, and then the whole day will have been pointless. I know Sophie from school said she did nine hours straight without a single break and she always gets A*s but Sophie is a weirdo, you don’t have to try and do what Sophie does. Download yourself a pomodoro timer, which times your revision periods and breaks and allows you to set the length of time for each. It is a really useful app, I found it really motivating.
- Use your breaks as opportunities to drink lots and lots of water. It’s a well known fact that lack of water leads to dehydration, which affects concentration and absorption of information, so down that water. I always aimed to drink a good 1.5-2L of water a day when I was revising, and I always found it kept those nasty revision headaches at away and it made me feel a lot less tired too. Don’t underestimate the importance of something as simple as water, drink it, and lots of it.
- This one might be a myth, a lot of people at the time laughed at me for this one but in all honesty I think it might have made a difference. There is a theory that listening to videos about whatever it is you’re learning/revising and falling asleep with them playing allows your brain to absorb the information more while you’re sleeping. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But, I was beyond desperate by my second year of A-Levels and willing to try anything. So, every night I’d make a Youtube playlist and set it going before I fell asleep and then leave it going all night. I have no idea whether it worked, in all honesty, but if you’re desperate like I was.. might be worth a shot?
- About those Youtube videos, if you’re a kinaesthetic learner like me then videos can be really really helpful. For example, John Green does a bunch of videos summarising and analysing books, which was SO helpful. A lot of videos use cool cartoons to show you what goes on, and that really helped me remember things. So if you like seeing things, or would rather be told things rather than reading them, then try Youtube – you’d be really surprised what’s out there, no matter how weird your revision topic, there’s probably a few videos on it.
- Sleep. Just like water, sleep is so so so important. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain isn’t going to be working to it’s full potential, and when you’re revising, you need every last bit of that potential, trust me. Get yourself into a really good routine, as painful as it is, I used to go to sleep at 10pm every night and wake up around 7/7:30 every morning at the weekends. It meat that I got a good nine hours, and I quickly adjusted to the time and I’d be sat working by eight in the morning and would stop at about eight in the evening. The routine just helped me keep my shit together that little bit. Like keeping a timetable, it just gives you a bit of order and control over all the chaos. Plus it gives you more day time to revise – if you’re like me and your brain just stops working around 5pm, then this is perfect. I’m definitely someone who’s brain works better in the morning, so this was what i needed. However, I know a lot of people who used to sleep all day and revise all night because their brain worked better at night, so just do what works for you – just as long as you’re getting a good nine hours.
- Fill your bedroom walls with key words and short quotes or equations etc that you need to remember. In January (my exams were in May and June) I put all my English, History and Sociology quotes up around my room. I shortened them first, and then put different subjects on different colour pieces of paper, and different themes or topics were highlighted in different colours and placed in different areas of my room. Therefore, I’d get up in the morning and see Professor John Smith talking about Charles I and how he was responsible for the civil war over by my book shelf in pink, and slowly all these different quotes became associated with different parts of my room. By the time my exams came around I could think of an area of my room and visualise the majority of the quotes and knew what topic they were from the colour. It really worked. In fact, a lot more came back to me than I thought it would during the exams. I’d definitely swear by this one, especially if you’re someone who can’t just learn things over night, like me, and need a good few months.
- Turn your revision into games. I don’t know about anyone else but just sitting and writing things out over and over just doesn’t do it for me. So, I used to turn my revision into games. Google it, there are lots of ideas out there so find what works for you – there’s bound to be something. I remember for my Sociology revision, I’d put different questions on posters around the house and I’d have all my revision cards with loads of quotes on and I’d give myself three minutes to run around the house matching the quotes to the questions. It really helped those quotes stick in my mind and at the same time made revising fun and made me exercise – something else which is good for revision.
- Say things out loud. I always found that saying things out loud as opposed to just reading them made a big difference. It’s easy to just read something but not really read it, if you know what I mean? But saying it out loud makes sure that you really have read it. I was forever stood in my room just having a conversation with myself. My history teacher knew this, he used to get out class to do little radio interviews to get us saying the things out loud. I used to then come home and do this for myself. Sure, I looked crazy talking to myself but if it works, who cares?
- Lastly, remember, summer is coming and these exams will be over soon and then you can spend weeks doing nothing and relaxing. Spend a couple of months getting up super early and working hard and then in July you can sleep until the middle of the day and lie in bed all afternoon if you like. I always found that when I was struggling and lacking motivation, I’d remind myself that summer was coming and treated summer like my reward for working hard. It’s great self-motivation. Also remember that exams aren’t everything and it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t do well – so don’t get too stressed or overwhelmed by it all, because that’s not going to help either.
If you have GCSEs or A-Levels coming up, or whatever the equivalents are in other countries, then good luck and I really hope that some of these tips help you. Let me know if you try any of these and if they do help – I’d love to know. Also, if you’re doing any of the subjects I did then feel free to get in touch with me, I’d be more than happy to help! You can tweet me or message me on Instagram, or even snapchat me – my username is emmachxrlotte. If you have any great tips for revision then leave them in the comments, they might help someone out who’s reading this post!
Thank you for reading and make sure you give my blog a follow to catch my DIY post coming tomorrow – it’s a good’un!
With exam season fast approaching (I’m so sorry if that just made you cry a little) and the most depressing part of the year in full swing, I figured it might be helpful to share my tips on how I get motivated. Don’t get me wrong I’m not some kind of freak that’s positive and motivated 24/7 but from past experience I’ve found that some of these things can really help me to turn my mood around – so why not give them a go.
- Setting the right atmosphere. I personally find that for getting work done (be it uni work, school work, work-work or even blogging) I am ten times more productive if I have the right kind of atmosphere – too picky? Sure, maybe. But I find that if I have some music playing and my favourite candle burning and I’m sat to my desk and not slumped in bed, then I’m a heck of a lot more likely to get stuff done. When I did my AS level exams I used to work in bed all of the time and I was so convinced that it was working out for me, but in reality it seriously wasn’t. So, one of the first things I did this year was order myself a cute little Micke Ikea desk and Tobias chair so that I could get all productive. So far, it’s proving to be a winner – I’m sat to the desk right now with my cherry vanilla Yankee candle lit and I’ve got Ed Sheeran playing and I’m actually looking for things to do, I want to work. Another tip, especially for this time of the year when it’s so depressing outside, get a continuous fire place video up. I have an Amazon Fire TV stick and you can get apps with fireplaces and fish tanks that just play continuously with sound effects. I also know they’re available on Youtube, so if you’re someone that can’t work with music playing then try a fire place. I find it so relaxing and cozy, and that makes me super productive.
- Diaries, journals and weekly planners. For just general life motivation I find it really helpful to use a weekly planner. When I was doing my A levels and for the few months that I was at uni, I found it so unbelievably helpful to have my little A4 planner up on the wall with everything plain and simple, day by day, for me to follow. It kept me super organised and meant that I was always totally on top of assignments. Not only that but it’s great for if you workout so you can keep to a regular schedule, or for if you have appointments or are meeting friends. I would totally recommend them. I’m also really trying to keep a journal this year. I started one last year but never really kept it up, but this year I’m going in. One of my best friends bought me a beautiful motivational journal (it was from TK Maxx if you wanna grab yourself one) and it’s such a lovely journal that I find I’m always desperate to just write something in it and use it. Keeping the journal so far has definitely helped with stress, as I use it to vent, and has also helped me to be more positive and motivated and I try to write down at least one positive thing that i’ve done every day. Consequently, every day I’m thinking “lets do something amazing today so I can record it in my journal”, it’s really keeping me motivated.
- Keep your room and work space tidy and organised. Over christmas I was completely avoiding my bedroom because it was such a tip. I’d literally got piles of books in the corner of my room as I’d ran out of shelves for them and it was just generally a cluttered mess. So I’ve made it my mission to have a serious clear out in my bedroom and treated myself to some gorgeous new shelves to showcase my books and my room is looking fantastic. With everything tidy and organised and nice, my room feels like a really positive space and I honestly feel like it’s the reason I’ve been sleeping so much better this past week. Equally I’ve got myself some nice little desk tidies to keep my work space clear and clutter-free and consequently my mind feels clutter-free.
- Be kind to yourself. Yeah okay so life is busy and there’s always things to be done but you’re not a robot and you deserve a break every now and then – don’t be so hard on yourself. Every evening at 8pm I leave my phone in my room and clear my mind of anything that’s stressing me out and I go downstairs and spend time with my family. We usually sit in the living room and watch our favourite TV shows like Midsomer Murders and Endeavour (we all love a good murder), but it’s just a couple of hours where I’m in this nice little bubble that’s totally stress free and all that’s running through my mind is who’s the murderer. Taking time for yourself to just chill and let give your blood pressure a break is so damn important and it really just helps me to go to bed feeling clear-minded and ready for some actual sleep, not just 8 hours of tossing and turning while stressing about everything I can possibly think of.
- Eat lots and drink lots. I cannot express how important it is to fuel your body to keep it running. Before Christmas when things were pretty crap and I was feeling low and ill, I was barely eating and drinking. It’s just basic common sense that if you don’t fuel your body then it just isn’t going to run properly. So because I wasn’t eating and drinking properly I was feeling even lower and tireder and crapper (are those words?). I got myself into the mindset that I was just totally broken and there was no hope (drama queen, I know), but luckily my Mom was there to give me a good talking to and a good kick up the arse. After a few weeks of eating lots and drinking loads of water, I’ve got my energy back, I’m thinking straight again and feeling all motivated and productive. It really does go to show that if you live off two packets of crisps and two slices of toast a day then you will just lie in bed in the dark and get nowhere. However, with cereal and crumpets and stir fries and fruit and yoghurts and pasta and lots and lots of water, you can do anything – even become president, as good old Donald has proven that anything is possible. So if you want to work to your maximum ability, get yourself some cheeky brain food.
Let me know if you have any tips for getting motivated because you can never have too much help when it comes to getting motivated. Also let me know if you try any of these and they make a difference for you. I hope this post can be of some use, it definitely would’ve been to me a couple of years ago – if I’d have known these things all along then GCSEs and A levels could have been a lot less stressful for me. So, thanks for reading and I’ll see you again on Thursday when I’ll be posting a stationery haul!
In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of watching TV – I don’t like all the typical shows like Big Brother, Pretty Little Liars or Love Island. Instead, I’m more of a crime/drama lover. Reality TV just isn’t my thing at all (with the exception of I’m a Celebrity obviously), not that there’s anything wrong with reality, but I just prefer watching something that really gets your brain going and blows your mind. I’m a huge fan of good old ‘who done it’ shows, like Midsomer Murders, because the whole time you’re watching everything so closely and scrutinising everything, constantly trying to play the detective and figure it out. However, that being said, I absolutely love a good comedy and a relatable family drama.
There are so many new and returning series that I’m so looking forward to watching this year and I thought I’d write a post about it both to organise my life a little, so that I know what I want to watch and when, but also as it might be useful to any fellow murder mystery lovers or drama obsessed people out there. So I’m going to stop rambling and get right to the point with my list of shows!
- Number one has to be Sherlock, of course! Which if you didn’t know, has already started! Sunday evening on BBC One is the place to be, guys.
- Broadchurch! I absolutely loved series one and two of Broadchurch and can’t wait to see how they wrap up the programme in the final series. Series three is due to start on ITV in February – and I can’t bloody wait!
- The Durrells is coming back! I can’t find an actual date, but the Durrells family will be back on our screens this spring and I’m so excited! This was a new series that started last Spring and I honestly loved it. It was such a light hearted, entertaining programme – very different to everything else around at the moment, and I can’t wait to watch it again this spring!
- Orange is the New Black. Need I say anymore? Oh my I still have sleepless nights where I wonder about that God damn cliff hanger. I need to know what the hell happened okay, and I need to know now. I can barely wait until the new season is on Netflix this June!
- Doctor Foster. You remember Doctor Foster right? That mind blowing series from 2015 that left us all on the edge of our seats after Suranne Jones slayed the scorned woman role. Well apparently series two is coming in 2017. I can’t find any dates anywhere – and trust me I’ve tried. But, it is coming back to BBC and I will be there waiting.
That is all I’ve got for now but I am positive that my list will grow as the year goes on and news emerges of more great TV, so no doubt I’ll be back in the summer with more shows – so look out for that! Until then, why not let me know what shows you’re looking forward to seeing back on our screens this year! Who doesn’t love fingerling over a good show ay? So drop me a comment if you fancy it! Until next time, thanks for reading!
Just a few pretty pictures from Devon!
Sorry for such a simple post but I just so desperately wanted to share these pictures as they’re just so gorgeous. However, if you do occasionally like posts like this then please let me know as I do love taking scenic pictures like this and have loads I could share from a variety of trips like Disney World, South France, Blackpool etc. So if this is the sort of thing you’re into then please let me know! Thanks for reading ♥
Last year I attempted to read 52 books in a year, which at the time I thought would be easy as I can get through a good book in a day with no trouble. However, it seems I was a bit ambitious to assume I could read so many books alongside doing my last year of A-Levels and doing a semester at Uni. Now I’ve left Uni though, and am officially on a gap year (or should I say gap nine months), I am ready to nail a list of 52 books in 2017! So, for any fellow book worms out there who might be doing the same or just for anyone looking for a book to read, this is what I’ve got so far on my list. Of course my list will grow as the year goes on, so I’ll keep updating this post when I add new books to my list. I will literally just give you my list, but every book on this list (say list one more time lmao) is a book that someone has either recommended to me or I’ve looked into and have decided I really need to read. Also, as I go through the year I plan to post ‘Weekly Reads’ posts about what I’ve read that week from my list and I’ll rate and review the books for you, so make sure you follow my blog to hear more about these books!
- The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
- Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven
- We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
- Landline – Rainbow Rowell
- A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray
- Ten Thousand Skies Above You – Claudia Gray
- A Million Worlds With You – Claudia Gray
- Girl Online: Going Solo – Zoe Sugg
- Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
- Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
- Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins
- Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
- The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson
- The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
- Ketchup Clouds – Annabel Pitcher
- My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher
- Silence is Goldfish – Annabel Pitcher
- We Are All Made of Molecules – Susin Nielsen
- The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williams
- Faceless – Alyssa sheinmel
- Extraordinary Means – Robyn Schneider
- My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga
- The Problem With Forever – Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne
- How Hard Can Love Be? – Holly Bourne
- What’s A Girl Gotta Do? – Holly Bourne
- …And A Happy New year? – Holly Bourne
- Beautiful Disaster- Jamie McGuire
- Walking Disaster – Jamie McGuire
- Heidi – Johanna Spyri
So, that’s the 30 books I have on my list so far! If you have any suggestions/reccomendations that I could add to my list then please let me know in the comments. If anyone would be interested in seeing a list of what I read this year then let me know and I could put a post together on that too!