After a chaotic school year dominated by remote learning, reverting to full-time, in-person education might either seem like a relief or a daunting task. However you feel about the year ahead, we’d like to share some hints that will help you feel prepared for September. We hope our advice gives you the brain boost you need to go back to school feeling motivated and organised.
We can think about how you might get ready in three different ways:
Let’s start off with some tips about getting back into the nitty gritty of the maths curriculum.
Revise the last year’s maths notes and content to be ready to jump back in. Note down any content from last year that you think could require further revision. Declutter what you don´t need and back up key documents in your laptop or in the cloud. Have maths formulas you might need at hand when you need them.
Start looking through the 2021/2022 curriculum and familiarize yourself with the content of the course you are taking. A basic working knowledge of the topics you’ll encounter will help you engage more with the material and get the most from your classes.
Set up your academic planer. First, start putting your key dates in your calendar, such as term-times, half-terms, and the holiday breaks. Second, note down your mid-term and final term exam dates. Third, get into a routine as soon as the course starts by adding your homework and daily assignments deadlines. Ensure you’ve set some time aside to complete your homework every day.
Most people find that the best way to retain information is to study a little every day and do your homework while it’s still fresh in your mind. Look over your notes each night to help retain what you’ve learned. Fill in details, edit the parts that don’t make sense, and star or highlight the parts that you know are most important in terms of coming back to revise later. Lastly, add your extracurricular activities, work, and social commitments to your calendar too.
Set up S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. Plan how you can actually achieve them. Specific and small goals will keep you motivated, for example, do 5 algebra problems from your problem set at a time, and then take a break. Measurable goals could be your teacher’s grades, or yourself marking your assignments. When you’re looking at the homework you have to get done tonight, be realistic about how long things actually take. Ensure your actions are attainable, realistic, and time-bounded.
Make a list of the things you want to do and achieve at the end of the term. This is a great way to keep you motivated and inspired. Check back every week or so to make sure you are working towards your goals.
Use class time wisely by asking your teacher about concepts that were fuzzy or unclear the first time around. Actively participate the lessons and work in pairs or small groups.
Don’t let a bad grade keep you down. Instead, take proactive steps to improve by getting a tutor to support and guide you in your learning. You can also use workbooks, textbooks or maths websites to help with your independent revision.
Keeping yourself organised is crucial to success. Here are a few ways you can ensure you have everything in order.
Make sure you have the key essentials for maths, which are a pencil, rubber, ruler, triangle, sharpener, pens in different colors, a pencil case, a compass, graphing paper, a Scientific calculator (for GCSE or higher level), digital pen to write on your iPad (or graphic tablet which includes the pen), and any maths textbook or workbook recommended for your course.
Get rid of pens that are not working anymore and note down any stationary you might need to get at the beginning of your term.
A well-stocked desk in a quiet place at home is key. So, make sure you declutter your room, clean it, and disinfect it, because this too will help you approach your work with a fresh mindset. Sometimes studying in the library – or even up the kitchen table – will give you a change of scenery which can prompt your brain to retain information better.
Learn how to create a distraction-free zone by turning off your phone notifications or blocking Twitter (temporarily) on your computer so you can concentrate on the homework tasks at hand.
Perform a digital declutter by clearing up your computer/tablet and ensuring your antivirus software is up to date before your course starts.
Set up workbooks and notebooks. Do you keep one big binder for all your classes with color-coded tabs? Or do you prefer to keep separate notebooks and a folder for handouts? Keep the system simple — if it’s too fancy or complicated, you are less likely to keep it up every day.
Create a study playlist on YouTube or Spotify, as well as a motivational playlist with upbeat songs to get your energy up.
Strong academic performance starts with a healthy body and mind. Do yourself justice by making sure you stick to positive habits.
Stay well nourish, hydrated, and practice some physical activity which will help you to focus and be motivated.
Have restful nights. Sleeping well helps to retain relevant information and discard anything irrelevant. Healthy sleeping helps to store information in your long-term memory.
Take regular 5-10 minutes breaks while you’re doing your revision and have a healthy snack when you need to.
Make quality time for your friends and family, especially during holiday periods. Take and keep photos of the good times and have them near your study area to cheer you up when things are busy.
Spend time practicing your hobbies and taking it easy before the course starts and during holidays
Learn relaxation techniques, especially for stressful exam weeks.
The start of a new school year is always a challenge, but September 2021 will be a readjustment like no other. We hope that we get through the next 12 months without the disruptions that have dogged the last two academic years, and we hope that these tips will stand you in good stead.
If you want to get a real academic advantage this year, TuitionWorks has a team of qualified teachers on hand to deliver a course of personalized, one-on-one maths lessons that will supercharge your maths skills. Get started →