Staying Accountable to Your Studies During Isolation (Covid 19)
For those of you currently in full time education we've recently all been told that our schools, colleges and universities are closed for the foreseeable future due to Covid 19. I can imagine we were all in a similar state of shock and confusion about the future of our exams, how we would continue to learn and study and even thoughts about what our next steps would be once this all blows over.
In light of all of this I want to talk to you about how, despite the things that are out of our control, you can still be accountable to your studies at home and achieve good grades. I currently live in the "study room" of my mum's house since coming back from university, I don't have a desk and sometimes it's difficult to concentrate downstairs at the kitchen table in a family of four. So I'll be the first to put my hands up and say it's not easy but what I do know, is that I never want to be the person at the end of an exam who says "I could have done more." So today I'm going to talk about how I am keeping myself accountable and how I am staying on track with my studies during isolation and how you can too!
My exam checklist was the first thing I did to keep myself accountable. I included it as a cover sheet in my exam folder and made tick boxes for every step I have done in preparation for my exams from essay plans, to essays, mind maps and revision cards. The aim is to have every box ticked a month before my exams (so by the end of April) so I can focus the following month on really getting to know the information I have and figure out if I need to research and include anything else.
I like to have all of my notes printed out because viewing them all in a million tabs on my computer doesn't work for me. This exam folder is then a condensed version of all of the material I have used over the year. It is set out in the order of which my exams are and I keep each sub topic I will be doing for the exam in seperate plastic sleeves. Then when I do my revision for a certain sub topic, I just need that plastic sleeve of information and I can add to it as I go.
Creating a daily timetable will also really help you visualise where to distribute your time and how much of it is going on certain tasks. My days do not strictly follow this to the hour but I try and make sure I'm ticking the majority of these off each day to achieve something in both my studies and my passions. It should also help you with procrastinating less as you have a list in front of you telling you what to dedicate your time to.
Revision Topic Checklist
I started putting my revision topic checklist sheets together in January and they have really helped me to see everything I need to do for each sub topic. Here is an exam of one I have prepared for Ethics. I have recently started going through the sub topics and creating a traffic light system of what I do and do not understand and what I'm okay with but not particularly confident in answering a question on. This is a really useful tool in seeing what you need to focus your research and how much information you have for each topic. I use this in every revision session I do to make sure I have research on every point stated in each box.
Annotate your Essays
Writing essays is a great form of revision but it's only 50% of the job. The other 50% comes from annotating what you've written and being very critical about the points you have made and the answer you have given to reflect on how you can make it better. If you can get your lecturer to read you essay and give you feedback that's great and if you have access to past answers that is also a fantastic tool to use. By critically analysing someone else's work, it allows you to think about what you could have added to your own answer or what you know you shouldn't be doing. Sometimes it is hard to be critical of your own work as what you have written is to the best of your ability. However, I still find it useful to print out what I have and add notes on what I can improve on.
I also find checking in with friends to see what they are currently studying or working on to be effective at keeping myself in check too. By asking your friend what they're currently working on may give you an idea on what to do next, it may spark your memory on something else you wanted to research or just by simply hearing that other people are working will motivate you to also do so.
I hope these tips help and offer you some form of structure that you can implement into your own revision at home! Whilst this is a difficult time to go through, we have been offered something that we don't usually have, time. Use it wisely.