Study leave, contrary to popular belief is not an excuse to stay in your pyjamas all day, watch day time TV and have a lie in. Rather, it is as an invaluable time to revise and polish your exam technique and must be used as productively as possible.
However, it’s also incredibly important to not let revision get you down, for it to not become like ground hog day and crucially; to not get overwhelmed and to let this have a negative effect on your learning.
Often, when nearing the end of a revision session, I’d find my self doing absolutely nothing for the last twenty minutes. Instead, I’d make my notes look pretty waiting for the clock to reach the hour just so I could give myself a pat on the back for reaching the end of the session. Yet, what I should have done is recognise that I had reached saturation point and taken an early, but vital, break from my studies. Because you NEED regular breaks. It is an absolute must. How else will you return to your revision with fresh eyes and solve that head-scratcher you’ve been constantly going over?
During this well deserved time off, I’d whole heartedly recommend you get moving and get some fresh air. Do some exercise, try out some baking, walk the dog, listen to a podcast or put some music on, meet up with your friends – give yourself treats to look forward to and goals to achieve. Take up juggling (a great brain work out and a good party trick!), knitting, sudoku, reading – anything to break up the day that doesn’t involve you slumping on the sofa in front of the TV. Speak to your family and friends, find out what’s going on in the world, vent to them about your revision woes and queries, spark a discussion or debate about a topic you’re interested in and see how well you can explain it to someone else. You never know, you might surprise yourself about how much has actually gone in to that head of yours or what golden nuggets of information you might learn from listening to others.
So treat your brain as an athlete would their muscles – stretch, work and flex it but also rest, relax and recuperate. Stressing out at your desk for hours upon hours is not going to get you that A* grade you’re hankering after but effective time management coupled with some necessary time off, will.