My Easter Break Workload
It’s the Easter break! That means five weeks of trying to relax, get some coursework done and prepare for the rapidly approaching exam season. Is it possible to do all three successfully? Is it possible to squeeze in writing a blog post even though your brain is too full to really think of anything to write? Well, here’s some random thoughts anyway…
The Integrated Science workload
I have two lots of work to do over the break: I have to revise for five open-book exams (one for each Life Sciences module I’m taking) as well as (basically) finish my Integrated Science long group project. This is a project that was set for us at the start of the year to do in groups of three. It involves analysing a large set of images of butterfly wings to investigate a hypothesis we’ve chosen. We didn’t do much on the project in the first term and there were too many other coursework deadlines in term 2 to do much, so there’s a fair bit left to do over the break (especially as I’d rather have it done before exams start in a few weeks).
My approach to revision and work
My favourite way to revise since GCSEs has been to (re)write notes, by hand and often using colouring pencils. This probably isn’t the most efficient revision method, but I do find I can keep going with it for a while, and it does force me to go through all the content really slowly and carefully. Also, as my exams are online and open-book, it’s useful to have clear notes I understand at the ready. Before the exams, I will check my understanding by doing past paper questions as well. With open-book exams, my goal is to understand the material and feel confident about it, not to memorise everything.
My experience is that there’s always more content to cover than you think, and any revision timetable is going to quickly go out the window. Instead, I’ve made a spreadsheet of what I need to cover and plan a) what I need to do this week and b) what I’ll do tomorrow. I find this helps me focus on one thing at a time.
I find it really important to try to work with, not against, myself when revising. This involves understanding when I need a break and not beating myself up to much about procrastination. Everyone procrastinates and it can help you keep up a decent pace of work in the long run.
Three lessons for next time
These are both for me next year and for you, especially if you’re a prospective Integrated Science student:
- Start the long project asap, and ask for help when you need it. The project doesn’t actually need to take all year, and although I still have plenty of time to complete it now, I’d prefer it not to be clashing with revision.
- Make really good lecture notes the first time round. This is slightly time dependent, of course. But I tend to try to make my notes concise which actually means they’re unclear. If I’d made longer, clearer notes during lectures and made sure they made sense, it would be much easier to revise now.
- Make revision materials as you go along. Again, time dependent, but if I’d made a few flashcards just after each lecture, revision would be a little easier now.