Studying for your exams can be a very hectic time. And the closer you get to the date of the exam, the more chaotic it will become. It is very beneficial to make out a study timetable and set goals for yourself during this stressful time.
Reasons to make a timetable:
Organisation is vital when you are studying. If you are not organised you will spend lots of unnecessary time thinking of what to study every evening and how much study you should be doing, and this can result in huge amounts of stress. However, if you have a well thought of timetable then you will save yourself a lot of time, and during the months coming up to the Junior Cert time is precious. If you have a timetable and you know exactly what you plan to study each evening then you can maximise your time as well as productivity and you can cut out all the avoidable time wasting and stress of frantically deciding what and when to study.
- You won’t forget anything:
As you know, there is a huge amount of work to revise for the junior cert. It is very easy to forget to go over certain topics or spend too little or even too much time revising others. Making a timetable will ensure that you revise everything on the curriculum and that you spend the right amount of time on each subject/topic. You don’t need to spend the same amount of time on every subject, spend more time studying the more difficult subjects with large courses, and less time studying the smaller ones (but all subjects are important and don’t leave any out). You should decide how much of your time you want to spend on each subject and then divide your time out suitably each week.
- Encourage you to study more:
You may think that you can leave it until a few weeks before the Junior Cert to start studying, but believe me this is not the case if you want to reach your full potential. Making out timetables a few months prior to the Junior Cert will allow you to see how much work there is to do and how much hours you will need to put in, and I would hope that this realisation would encourage you to get studying earlier. A timetable will also push yourself to study more on a daily basis. You know that you have a certain amount of study to do every day and this will stop you from taking unplanned days off because you will then feel that you are behind on your work and that can come quite stressful.
Setting goals and making timetables is extremely important in making you feel like you have achieved something. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you can mark off on your timetable the hour of maths study that you did or the 40 mins you spent revising a chapter in history. This pushes you to get things done on time and lets you see for yourself the progress you are making. Without a timetable people can feel like they are not really achieving much and it can be hard for them to see that the work they are doing is paying off, resulting in a lack of inspiration and determination.
Tips on making a timetable:
- You should have a rough plan of what you have to do up until a few weeks before the Junior Cert (in which you cover all topics) but I recommend dividing it into blocks of a week. It may seem very daunting looking at all the work that you have to do before the end of the year, but if you divide it up into weekly timetables it becomes much easier. Take your studying week by week, you have your plan for the year done out and you know that if you can complete your timetable each week then you will have everything revised before June. It is a lot easier and less stressful if you only worry about what you need to do on a weekly basis.
- Instead of planning to do “Geography” from 5pm-6pm on a certain night, plan to study something more specific like “Rivers”. This will make sure you get every chapter/topic covered because you can mark it off when you have it completed. If you study “Geography” on the other hand you cannot mark this off after an hour as it is an extremely broad topic and this doesn’t allow you to see your progress.
- Be realistic. Don’t plan to do too much study every week.
- If you miss a few days of your timetable because you are sick etc, don’t let this throw you off completely. Get back on track and start from where you left off. You may need to rearrange your timetable or study more on certain days. But don’t be worried, you will probably find that some things may not be taking as long as you thought they would and you will fit in a bit of extra time somewhere along the way.
- Revise your timetable every few weeks based on what you have done so far and see how you are getting on, you may need to rearrange your timetable and add in more time for some subjects that you may be struggling with in the place of other subjects that you are well on top of.
- It is very important to take breaks sometimes and continue with your social life. A night/day out with your friends once a week won’t do any harm as long as you are getting all your work done, don’t plan to study every single day and night. It is good for you to clear your head of studying every once in awhile.
- NB: Every two weeks or so you should go over and revise again everything you have done up to that point. As you need to make sure you keep on top of and don’t forget anything that you have learned.