21 July 2017

How to make a GCSE revision timetable + free timetable template

Make sure you check out part 2 for a more flexible timetable guide
Hello again! This may seem like a strange time to post about revision timetables to you as this is the last day of school for most of you out there and you're probably thinking "no, no way, I'm not thinking about school for another six weeks!", and while this is a lovely idea, for those of you who've just left year 10, this is about to get really tough. Sorry to dampen the mood my friends, I know I'm just such a bundle of fun!

To brighten the sudden cloud of grief that has just began to loom over your head, I thought I would share some advice from a very organised, disciplined student. I may be the only one in existence, so listen close!

How to split up your subjects into a two week timetable:

I started thinking about revision very early, I started just before the year 10 mocks, obviously for the year 10 mocks, but after that I developed a very well thought out revision timetable. My actual timetable was not electronic, but I have decided to translate it onto excel in a way you can understand it, other than my quick scrawl on a notepad!

Step 1) Decide which  subjects are a priority for you
It's very easy without a timetable to fall into the trap of just doing the subjects you enjoy or don't feel quite so painful to study. However; what you should be doing is prioritising subjects either where there is lots to learn, like history or geography for example, or a subject that you struggle with, which was science for me.

Step 2) How many times in two weeks?
You now need to split up your subjects into levels of priority, this will determine how many times in two weeks you should be studying that subject, for example, this was how I split up my subjects:

Maths: 6 times
English Literature: 6 times
History: 6 times
Business: 5 times
Biology: 5 times
Physics: 5 times
Chemistry: 5 times
French: 4 times
Music: 4 times
English Language: 3 times

Step 3) How many times in one week?
The reason we start with two weeks is because it can be tricky doing as much as you want to do in a week, in a week. Let me explain: in the perfect world, we would do three business studies sessions and three biology sessions every single week for example, but in reality you just can't fit that much in and you begin to set unattainable goals, meaning the system breaks down and nothing gets done. The two week system allows a little leeway because you're not studying as much of one subject as you would with a one week timetable. But don't panic about that, you will definitely revise more than enough for each subject this way, it just makes it easier to handle!

Step 4) Where to slot each subject
Use your school timetable for guidance. Revising subjects you've already sat through in the day makes it a lot easier to make yourself revise as you feel more familiar with the subject, rather than starting from scratch.

Take the subjects you've done that day, if you go to a state school you probably have five subjects a day or around that. You shouldn't revise all five subjects obviously or you would tire yourself out, so what you need to is pick four of those subjects and slot them into your timetable. It works pretty much like trial and error as you have to get the right amount of that subject in per week, so just count as you go along for each subject and make sure you've got the right amount of each subject at the end of the fortnight. There may be a couple of times during the week where you have to have a priority subject on a day where you haven't studied it that day, such as english. Obviously you have to be flexible to make the timetable work for you!

How long should I revise for?

I revised for approximately 2-3 hours every night as I approached my final exams. For mocks before this, you do not need to revise that much. I shall do a blog post later about how much to revise for mocks, please comment below if you would find this useful!

In the timetable template, I revise for two hours with a dinner break in the middle, split into four half an hour study sections. Forty-five minute time periods are good, although I often changed this to an hour if doing a past paper or essays. I also often revised for much longer on weekends too as I literally had more time to fill up.

Having quite short bursts of revision means your brain stays active longer, meaning you stay more focused and get more done than long two hour periods of revision of the same subject. It is important to stay interested and awake, or the information will not go in, making the whole exercise a very boring waste of time!

The important thing to remember is that your plan should be flexible to how you feel and to your life, and although you should stick to your timetable, you should allow yourself to be in control of your decisions and your time.

Opt in for FREE timetable template

I hope you all do well in your upcoming exams, whatever they may be. If there's anything else you'd like me to add here e.g. A-level timetables or GCSE timetables with more subjects options, please let me know in the comments!

// Jeani

17 July 2017

4 Crucial Planning Resources Every Blogger Needs // advice

Hey everyone! Welcome back if you've been here before , and if not, welcome to my blog!  Today I am one of those returning to my writing as I realised yesterday that I have not posted since March due to my extensive revision schedule I set myself over the months that came after, in preparation for my GCSEs. After a month of taking my exams, prior to a month travelling the world, I am finally back in a position where I can begin writing again.

Blowholes in Savai'i, Samoa

During my time away, I found myself with a lot of spare thinking time that I hadn't had for a long time, which led to lots of planning for my return to this blog. If you do happen to be a frequent visitor, you may have noticed that Jeani Thoughts has had a makeover (featuring many aesthetic photos from my holiday - you gotta utilise your resources!), which is my way of symbolising my fresh start now that high school is over.  This extra time for mind-mapping, thinking, writing, noting, listing, designing and planning showed me how important it is to plan and how, if at home, I may have jumped straight into blogging this summer as I would have the resources, like wifi and a laptop, to do so.

So, now we get to the point at hand: what are the best resources for planning? Often we find ourselves with so many thoughts whizzing around our brain that we just want to get them out, but struggle to choose the best way to do so; you don't want to risk misplacing your ideas, you want to quickly access the resource before you forget your ideas and you want them to be permanent. So, here is my list of resources (for dummies):

1) A3 paper and coloured pens - for creating visual plans
Blog plan mindmap

Above is a photo of a mind-map I put together in a maximum of ten minutes for my blog plan. Paper is definitely the best resource when trying to quickly jot down ideas as they easily flow from your brain and you have something you can see and visualise afterwards. I keep a stack of A3 paper by my desk and I used this a lot when revising. The use of colours means a) it looks pretty and b) it looks pretty, which tricks my brain into enjoying the process of planning and jotting down those ideas, or revising. The pro of paper is you can stick or pin your plan up where you can see it

2) Notes (on apple products) - for ideas

Blog plan mindmap draft
This app as upped its game recently; I love the fact that you can now draw on it (I don't actually know how new that feature is as I'm always five updates behind as my storage is always full, but it's new to me!). Anyway, this appears to be the only useful app that apple forces you to have on your phone, as you constantly have a notepad with you, presuming you always have your phone on you, which is good for sudden ideas, for writing casual lists of things to do and now jotting down images!

3) Pages/Word - for planning blog design

On a tablet, or even a laptop, despite being word processing equipment, I've found these very useful for designing, including my plan for a future home when I was seven - in hindsight, it probably wouldn't qualify for planning permission.
During my holiday, I discovered that pages was particularly useful for plan of a blog as it is equipped with shapes, ability to insert photos, and obviously text. I ended up creating a simple, yet effective, plan of what I wanted my blog to look like. Compare the image above with my blog now ( if you're not reading this in five years of course) and see for yourself.

4) Pinterest - for collecting ideas

When I first downloaded pinterest, I struggled to understand the buzz over this app which was seemingly pointless to a thirteen year old girl who used pinboards for displaying photos of her family - you can understand the confusion. But three years later, I am addicted and have pinned over twenty five thousand photos to over 65 different pinboards. Woah, I didn't even realise!

This clever app helps you to formulate an image or aesthetic by collecting images together in one place, allowing you to then click on the board and see a summary of your idea. For example:

A book I was gonna write

Future wedding plans (don't run from me boyfriend, I'm not crazy)

Style plans

Or collecting images around a specific theme so you can come back to it later either to read or pick from the ideas, for example:

Selection of tumblr posts surrounding feminism
Compilation of motivational quotes

So, there you go, my top four resources! Make sure you come back and read some more posts; as you can see on my mind-maps, I've got lots of good stuff coming up!

// Jeani