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Manchester High School for Girls

Revision and Free Time

Ben Eaton, Learning Support Coordinator, shares his top tips for ensuring that pupils stay calm during the pressure of an exam season.

One of the main questions I get asked is how to organise revision time, but what about free time? Something a lot of the girls here at MHSG (and a lot of the parents!) will have heard me say is that the amount of time you spend not doing something school related is as important as the amount of time you spend on your academic and extracurricular pursuits.

The most common phrases I hear are: “She puts so much pressure on herself” and “She’s always revising”.

Sometimes the thought of switching off and doing nothing is actually quite scary. We’ve all heard the discussions on the news about mental health, well-being and how busy the modern world is, but have you ever actively tried to switch off yourself? Ask yourself this question: “When I am doing my work, I am aiming for quality or quantity?”

More work does not mean better grades. A child doing regular short targeted bursts of revision and then having plenty of time to relax and switch off will do better than the child who tells their parents they’re revising for eight hours on a Saturday. The child who early on builds the habit of a little revision often will do better than the child who crams the whole subject the night before.

Video game designers understand this. Modern games give achievements or trophies for completing chunks of the story, or demonstrating certain skills, or finding secrets. They entice you to keep going, to get that next reward. Do the same thing with revision. Don’t look at the whole subject and wonder how many hours it will take – look at the chunk you want to do in the next twenty minutes, stick to that timing, and then when it’s done? Walk away and enjoy your free time. “Achievement Unlocked”.

Just don’t switch off to the point of doing nothing at all!