6 Ways to get Prepared for the Academic Year

Whether we like it or not the academic year is just around the corner. A long summer is ultimately fading away, a sorry thought but the truth. Some of you may be anxious about starting in secondary school, going into the leaving cert or starting university… you may be thinking what am I going to do?! As we all know the saying goes “fail to prepare, prepare to fail!” Now is the time to start getting things together to make the transition from summer to study that bit easier. Here are MFCU’s top tips on how to plan for the academic year ahead:


1. Make a Study Plan

Even though the year hasn’t started, time is precious. It’s important to realise this now rather than the night before an exam. The key to breaking the cycle of cramming for tests is to think ahead and create an effective study plan. Not only will this help you get organised and make the most of your time, it’ll also put your mind at ease knowing that you’re prepared. A good start is half the work!


2. Organise Study Space

After the summer your study space is sure to be cluttered and messy. Now is the time to establish where your work station will be for the year rather than working around it and wasting time later on. Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Have you got enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.


3. Take Regular Breaks

None of us are superhuman, so it’s important to realise that you can’t maintain an optimum level of concentration without giving yourself some time to recover from the work you’ve put in. Whether it’s doing homework, assignments or study you need to take breaks – these can vary from a ten-minute walk, a trip to the gym, having a chat with a friend or simply making a cup of tea! If you feel yourself starting to procrastinate it’s time to take a break.

It’s important to understand what mix works best for you sooner rather than later, to allow peak performance at crunch times!


4. Test Yourself

The last thing you want to be thinking about going back to school or college is tests! However, sometimes an exam format or environment is enough to throw you off on the day. Keep on top of this by testing yourself every now and again with exam papers, the more you practice the better you’ll become. Try even once a month! You’ll become more familiar with the layout and it will highlight areas you need to work on, by the time the exam comes around it won’t even seem like you’re doing an exam.


5. Food

Food is a simple thing that can make a big difference, what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus! So try and establish good habits early on in the year by keeping your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and fruit. A treat every now and again isn’t going to hurt, and they’re good to use as rewards, but try and stay away from junk food as your energy levels will crash during the day.


6. Be Positive

This is perhaps the most important, if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will! Your attitude has a big impact on how your year will pan out. No matter what your abilities or goals are, if you keep saying that you can’t do it, you won’t! Commit to the idea of working and being proactive now and you’re bound to increase the effectiveness of your learning process. Focus your mind on positive outcomes and on how you can use your own individual strengths to achieve them. When you think positively, you’ll be more confident and less anxious come exam time.