Going into Hilary, collections this year feel even more challenging, draining, and unnecessary than they do every other term. Trying to gather the motivation to revise seems tougher, and doing anything productive when you finally sit at your desk even tougher still.
Fear not, for OxYou is here to give you a handful of great tips and pieces of advice to help get you through collections. Follow these tips, and a high mark in your collections will be virtually guaranteed.
Take Regular Breaks
Working for hours on end will give you fatigue. This will not only cause you to be tired the next day (potentially during your collection), but also make your revision less effective.
To mitigate this, OxYou suggests you should take a break regularly. This may be to make a cup of tea, refill your water bottle, or go for a brisk walk – what is important is to get away from your computer screen and give your brain a rest.
Our top suggestion for work to break ratio would be 15 minutes of break for every 5 minutes of work. This guarantees you won’t procrastinate during your work time, as you will know that you have a break soon.
If you follow this regime you will be on top form for your collection – you will have done plenty of revision, and you won’t be tired or fatigued from overworking yourself.
Make a Timetable
To ensure you stay focussed and cover all the topics you want in your revision, it is important to create a timetable.
Such a timetable should cover everything to guarantee you cover everything before your collection. Make sure you include even the most standard and menial tasks in your timetable, such as preparing meals, going to the toilet, and any time ‘spent alone’. The more you timetable, the more organized you will be, and so the better your revision will be.
The creating and following of a timetable is a more useful revision tool than any revision itself. Make it as complicated as possible, and so long as you follow it you are certain to do well in your collections.
We have all been at the point of eating an entire packet of Jaffa Cakes in the first 30 minutes of a practice GCSE paper, believing that it is ‘brain food’. Whilst the sentiment of eating food to help your brain is good, the Jaffa Cake only diet (patent pending) does not fall into this category.
As such we suggest a fish-based diet. Omega 3 has many brain-developing effects, and so you should cram as much of it as possible into your pre-exam body. “A second spent not eating fish is a second wasted” my first-year politics tutor used to remind me.
For our vegetarian and vegan readers, Omega 3 supplements alongside a box of Quorn Fishless Fingers is the go-to. Put one tablet inside each fishless finger, and eat away.
And of course, do not forget to include your fish finger cooking in your timetable. I find it a great break from my work to go slam another box in the oven.
Write an OxYou article
Something particularly productive I have done this term is to write an OxYou article about revising for collections. This will help clear your mind of any distractions, whilst making valuable use out of all the breaks you are taking.
Don’t forget this tip when term rolls around too – it is a great way to prepare for writing that essay which is due 9pm that night which you still haven’t started the reading for. The writing skills that you will gain are invaluable in your efforts to make ridiculous ideas sound convincing.
Following these four tips will ensure success in your collections this year. Just remember that when it says ‘closed book’ you definitely should not look at your notes, and you should very rigidly stick to the three hours time limit.
If things don’t go your way in the end, don’t worry! Collections are only there to measure your progress, so failing them just shows that you’re not making any (we all peaked in Sixth Form anyway). It’s much more important to make memories, and what better time is there for that than now? If you chose to bin revision in favour of watching another Netflix show, you’ll be able to look back on that experience in years to come and be thankful you made the right choice.