The new school year is here! You’re familiar with your timetable, your new teachers and your new colleagues. The back-to-school blues have disappeared and you’ve made your “new year’s resolutions”: now, what advice can we offer to help you achieve them? The Enko blog has interviewed some students to ask them for some top tips and recommendations:
Set your objectives!
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable,” said Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher. What are your objectives for the year, the term, the month, the week? Write them down on paper, in a notebook, and look at them from time to time to check how close you are to achieving them.
Make a weekly plan, including your timetable, and set aside room for leisure time, extra-curricular activities and revision goals for each of your school subjects. Draw up a table with different colours for each lesson period or time of day, and stick it above your desk.
Find a regular revision buddy.
Revision is more fun with a friend! When there are two of you, if you’ve set a meeting time for your revision, it’s easier to motivate yourself to actually do it. It’s also easier to pinpoint the areas that you haven’t understood so well. Plus, you can ask questions, and verify what you already know, what you’ve learned, and what you need to spend more time on. Your revision buddy doesn’t necessarily need to be your best friend, but they should be someone you trust and who will encourage you (and who you can encourage too).
Set up a good filing system.
The amount of knowledge you will have to acquire over the course of a school year is huge. If you are entering an exam year, it is even more important to plan ahead and prepare for the end-of-year revision. A proper filing system will enable you to go back and find a specific lesson quickly, so you can go over the essential points again without ploughing through the whole chapter of the textbook. Files are usually organised by points to remember, exercises, or FAQs and top tips, such as key highlights on each lesson, or pitfalls to avoid.
Ask questions in class.
This is always a delicate point. Some students hesitate to ask questions in class because they are worried about seeming stupid or “sucking up” to the teacher. But, if you ask a question it means you have already started to learn something, because this shows that you have identified a possible problem. It also allows your brain to organise its knowledge better. Unless you’re constantly asking question, after question, after question – no teacher wants that!
Do your own research.
The lessons taught by the teachers or that appear in your class textbooks are set out according to the teachers’ preferences or those of the publishers. They are not necessarily set out in the best way for you. Look for information in encyclopaedias and publications, and online, to help you understand the subject better. There are many tutorials available by other teachers, which may help you. The only warning point: don’t spend too much time on this – keep to your time plan and write notes on an index card or in a file, summarising what you’ve found (if you don’t do this, you’ll have forgotten it all in two days).
Don’t hesitate to do additional exercises in maths and physics.
Some subjects can only be understood better with more practice. It’s fine to do just the homework set by your teachers, but sometimes you’ll need to do more, to understand the techniques you need. Particularly in the scientific subjects, look for additional exercises in your textbooks or online. This can also help you to understand different formulae for solving problems (which is always useful on exam day).
Train yourself to find answers on your own.
On the Internet, you can find the answer to any question almost immediately. But the idea of school is to teach you to think for yourself and resolve problems. Try not to always go for a ready-made solution, but to think about finding a solution yourself.
Turn off your mobile phone when you’re working.
You were born into a “connected” generation. You can immediately Google the answer to any question that comes to mind. This is a good idea, but it can be damaging to your concentration levels (yes, really!) The golden rule is, during your working time turn off your mobile phone, or keep it as far away as possible from your workstation, so that you avoid temptation!
Give your brain a break!
Of course, you know that education is the key to your future and that you must take advantage of the opportunity offered to you. But it’s all a question of balance. Don’t hesitate to plan some “down time” into your timetable: time to read, take a walk, play football, go to the pool, play a musical instrument, go to the theatre, or just talk with friends, etc.
Happy new school year from the whole Enko team!
Do you have any top tips for starting the year off on the right foot? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! If you have any questions about Enko schools, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.