Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Unfortunately, like all good things, summer vacation is also coming to an end. The new academic term is approaching, along with its burdensome routine and workload. We need to accept that the holidays are about to be over and get ready for this shift.

Most of us, including me, are too lazy to make a comprehensive plan for the next term, how to deal with the subjects and the academic load that is waiting for us. But I am sure you know that the best ways to make the back-to-school time easier and less exhausting is through better planning and utilisation of time. If we do smart work during the start of the school year, we can settle down to our new schedule in an easier manner and enjoy school. Here are some of the things that will help.

Before the school stars

Arrange your books: The first thing you should do the moment you buy your new academic year books is to go through them and arrange them. Dedicate one or two shelves in your room or study area for your school resources.

Placing different subject books in different shelves will not only waste your time in fetching them, but there is also the risk of losing any important book increases. So always keep all the items that you take to school in one place.

Plastic coating: Plastic coating is a must for keeping books and notebook safe from external wear and tear. Many only do this when asked by the teacher, after the school opens, and then there is a lot of rush in the bookshops. The shopkeepers then ask you to leave your books so they can do plastic coating later in the day.

In my opinion, there are a lot of chances of the books going missing. So before the school starts, make sure you are done with the plastic coating.

Buy the stationery items: These days, a lot of fancy stationery items are available in the market. Although they look nice, it doesn’t mean they are reliable and effective. Most of the items are just so fancy that they don’t work at all or last for long.

So I think one should give more importance to the effectiveness and practicality than to looks. Buy only those which you have already used and had a good experience of.

When school starts

Write your notes clearly: One of the best resources students employ during exams is going through their own handwritten notes. From my personal experience, I can say that it becomes difficult to study if the notes are untidy and scattered.

For making notes at home, buy separate register for each subject. Do not use the register for tearing pages out of it and for other purposes, like writing answers to homework. Treat the registers as school notebooks. Write neatly in them.

Use different coloured-pens for headings, definitions, statistics, etc. If you are successful in keeping your notes neat and complete till the end of year, then hopefully, it will improve your performance in the exams.

Another sincere advice for my readers is that do not ‘copy paste’ the content in the book into your notes. Write the notes according to your understanding of the topic and what has been explained in the class. Only include important details.

Do your schoolwork on time!: It is a common practice among high-achievers that they always have their school classwork complete and do their homework before the deadlines. Although it seems quite difficult to exhibit this level of discipline, but it really helps during exams.

Classwork gives essential details about the course, whereas homework improves the student’s grip on the topic, as he/she does it by his/herself. If you complete both these tasks on time, then believe me friends, you won’t need extra work. You just need to revise your concepts during exam preparation and you will notice that you understand and remember most of the topics very clearly.

Avoid taking leaves from school: Taking leave from school due to illness or other acceptable reasons is perfectly alright. However, avoid missing school for silly reasons, such as headache or laziness, etc.

Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

If you miss a lecture, chances are that the concept will never be fully clear to you. I remember that in Class 9, I missed my physics lecture of 40 minutes. The concept was discussed in the class exclusively and we all know that in classes we have questions and answers sessions. So what happened later was that the topic was never cleared to me.

Clarify your concepts there and then: Oftentimes, there are a few theories and concepts that are not easily understandable to us. Many students face difficulty in understanding it the first time.

In such situations, don’t hesitate to contact your teacher or your parent. I personally underwent this condition and procrastination led to delay in clarifying the concept from the teacher. This is an unwanted approach. If you will not elucidate the topic, you might not understand the other lectures built on the same concept.

Even worse is that you might fail to ask the teacher for clarification until the exams approach, due to your laziness, resulting in poor academic performance.

Use sticky notes, pointers, highlighters etc.: I am sure you must be aware of these tools that can really help you, if used properly. Highlighting the important details written in the book speed up your revision time before exam day. Pasting sticky notes in your notebooks or books regarding some confusing or important notes also help to filter out all the significant concepts of a topic.

Similarly, use pointers to divide your notes into sub-topics in the syllabus is also a useful tip. This will help you to quickly take out the desired pages from a big register.

Have a proper routine: Last, but not the least, adopt a proper routine before the school year starts. Designate specific hours for studying and do not let your routine alter due to schoolwork burden. Do not lag behind and complete your tasks at the same pace as the topics are covered in school.

Do not waste too much time in playing video games when the schoolwork is less. Rather, use this time to go through some of the topics that are not yet covered in the class. This will give you an understanding of the topic and prevent confusion when the topic is taught at school.

These are just some of the utilisations of pre-exam time which can improve your school experience.

As I have personally experienced all the stages of school life and have now been promoted to college successfully, I have personally applied these tips on myself. I can tell you that they are really helpful for students who find difficulty in understanding and preparing for the topics throughout the year.

I also felt the need of these pre-requisites but till then, the time of exams had approached. Take benefit from my experience and boost your academic performance.

Good Luck for the new academic term!

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 30th, 2022

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