Discussion

Reading and Revising: How I’m Balancing Both in Year 11

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Most people probably know, because I moan about it enough on this blog and social media – I’m in year eleven. And exam season is approaching. And that’s pretty scary.

Whilst I’m so eager to revise lots and get my grades, because they mean a lot – I’m also eager to read lots and get blog posts up, because to me, that’s an equally big part of my life (and the more fun part). Last year, I took a couple of GCSEs early, and found it incredibly hard to just put those books down and revise, dammit. I spent the entirety of April/May of 2015 either revising and being annoyed that I wasn’t reading, or reading and being annoyed that I wasn’t revising. A vicious cycle, you’ll agree, but an unavoidable struggle for any bookworm.

As the majority of my GCSEs (and the most important ones, to me) are happening this year, I’ve decided that I need to approach exam season with a healthy, balanced way of doing both what I love, and what I need to do. Many people are great at making schedules and timetables, but I find it hard to stick to allocated times, and would panic if I didn’t commit to a set order.

I realised (after tumblring about my revision methods and a lot of people saying it was useful) that it may be worth sharing my goals, tips and ideas on how to balance reading and revising. Hopefully, this might come in handy to you, if you’re taking exams!

Set a realistic reading goal:

If I neglect reading for ages, I only get into a reading slump, which saddens me more than anything else. Over the past few years, I’ve read 2/3 books a week on average. This exam season, I’m restricting myself to one book/graphic novel/etc a week. A manageable number for me, and it’ll keep me kinda sane whilst studying and sitting exams.

Use reading as a reward:

 I read this thing online where you can treat yourself with something small like a jelly baby or a piece of chocolate for every page of a textbook you revise from. I try to eat on revision breaks instead (otherwise I just stare blankly at a page while stuffing my face with chocolate) so I’m replacing the edible reward with a chapter of a book. I’m a person who has to write out stuff in order to revise – so for example with my science revision, I’ll let myself read a chapter once I’ve written out the key info, or answered example questions, for one topic.

Use online time wisely:

I have online science, maths and languages work on apps such as Duolingo, and blogging is always the much more fun alternative, so I’ll procrastinate online work by doing that (cough, definitely not what I’m doing by writing this post – oh the irony, cough). I’ve set myself a goal for each online revision app I have, and for my blog. At the time of writing this, my current goal is to write a blog post a week, and visit each revision app once a day. It’s working so far!

Novellas!

Over the past few months, I’ve been hoarding saving some short reads for the next couple of months. If I start a really long book just before an exam, I know I’ll just binge-read it instead of getting some crucial revision in. With novellas, I find that I usually read them quite quickly, and I know that I can put them down and just finish them in a second or third sitting. This also applies to graphic novels and comics – I’m hoping to buy a lot of series I’ve been behind on (Ms Marvel!!) so I can read issues between studying.

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If you’re also currently studying – how are you balancing it with your hobbies? What methods do you use to make sure you’re studying enough, but also enjoying your hobbies?

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8 thoughts on “Reading and Revising: How I’m Balancing Both in Year 11

  1. I am also a junior (in High School) and GAH I am so stressed out and overwhelmed by everything. I have still been reading (less than normal), but sadly I feel like my blogging life has been much less than I would like it to be (practically only on weekends very minimally). I think it is mostly just a matter of finding a balance and like you said using it all as a reward. Thanks for all the tips, Georgia!

    1. I totally feel you! Most of the blog posts I’ve posted recently were actually written in January, and I just want to get back into blogging again.
      Good luck with all of your school stuff! 🙂

  2. I feel the struggle, I’m currently just scheduling posts for May – June because I know that I really shouldn’t be blogging and reading as much during the 4 and a bit weeks that I’ll have exams… But also know that it’ll inevitably happen because it’s just such a big part of my life – the reading more so than the blogging although I’ve promised myself that I’ll try to blog more frequently once exam period is over – we’ll see if I go through with it.
    Great post!

      1. It’ll motivate you as well – won’;t feel as though you’re missing out during exam period because you know you’ll do everything once it’s over.
        Good luck to you too! May the force be with us haha

  3. I’m in 11th as well so I can completely understand what you must be going through. It’s a constant struggle managing reading and revision. I’ve come to find the ‘use reading as a reward very useful by setting a time period giving 50 minutes to revision and then 10 minutes to study.
    I really like your idea of reading novellas during exams. I’m sure going to do that this year. 🙂

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