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The KnowHow student team have created a series of blogs to help you prepare for the upcoming assessment period. The first blog is by Colette, a fourth year geology student at the University of Liverpool.
As a fourth-year student, I am aware of the typical advice that we are given by members of staff, family, and friends. Members of staff stress the importance of not forgetting everything learnt in semester one, family stress the importance of taking a break and friends vary from those who study the whole time and those who slack off over the holidays. But who’s right?
Well, there is no right way to prepare for semester two. Everyone is different; in this blog I will tell you what works best for me, and you may find some similarities/useful tips, or you may find that you work in a completely different way, either way I hope that you find the contents of this blog to be useful to you.
Obviously, no one expects you to work the entire holiday, especially with the break between semester one and semester two being the Christmas holidays. This makes it especially difficult as you want to enjoy the festivities and your time at home to its fullest. So, I propose that you take that break and enjoy yourself! You will also have plenty of time to revise, keep up to date with assignments, and consolidate anything learnt in semester one.
I find that what works best for me is to create a timetable detailing what I will do each day. This is especially important for when I have exams as I can split my days up into different modules.
However, I do not work all day, I do what works best for me which is working in the morning. This allows me to have the afternoons to enjoy my free time. It may be that afternoons work better for you, or it may be that you want to work all day to have free days between. I’m not going to lie, finding what works best can often be a case of trial and error and has taken time for me to perfect.
It is also important to keep consolidating your learning. It is not as simple as doing a module, getting a good grade, and then forgetting everything you know about it. A lot of modules apply to future modules and lecturers will expect you to have background knowledge that can be built on.
Take breaks when you are working. This can involve taking a walk, reading a book, baking cookies or anything that appeals to you. This avoids you becoming overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out.
Also, personally for me, I have four siblings and as a result my house can be loud and not the best place to study. I also still share a room so sometimes it becomes difficult to even have a place to study. Therefore, if I find myself struggling, I return to campus earlier in order to be able to focus properly. You can find the library opening times on the library website. If you are unable to come back but are struggling to focus, then try talking to your family members and maybe find a time to study that works the best.
It is also important to set realistic expectations. If you set too much to do in one day and do not end up getting it all done, you end up feeling disappointed and let down with yourself. It is important to be realistic - you should break your work up into manageable chunks and follow the plan you’ve made.
Make sure you have all the necessary equipment. This is different for every faculty. For me, as a geology student, it can also mean getting equipment for labs/field work in semester two such as waterproofs, walking boots, and a suitable backpack.
I’d also like to stress to not throw out your old notes! They may seem like they no longer matter and that they’re taking up space, but I promise you, you will regret it. Too many times, I have thrown away notes and been frantically searching for them the next semester.
I hope you found this blog helpful, and I wish you all the best of luck in your preparation for semester two.