Prof Patrick McGhee

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

How to Study on the Last Day of the Premiership

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

BBC Football in the lead up to its online text based coverage of the last day of the English Premier League Football season has encouraged students and pupils torn between study and spectatorship to choose football over revision.

#BBCFootball  “if you don’t know your stuff now, then it’s not going to happen anyway”

Generally speaking I’m not sure BBC football should be giving advice on matters educational in any context, but advising GCSE students not to study seems surprising.

There’s no need to go into the fact that BBC Bitsize is one of the best study and revision websites in the country. The national broadcaster’s commitment and expertise in supporting study is beyond doubt.

But the basic question remains – what should you do the day before exams when there is some major distraction like football on television? A communal event for many and a highly emotional consummation of a season for some?

Here are my Top Ten Tips for football fans with exams – these are just suggestions and things to think about. No Golden Rules:

1 Do whatever your tutor told you

Your tutor knows you, your work, the syllabus, the assessment better than anyone. If they have given you advice on what to do in the final furlong, follow it.

2 Do do some revision if at all possible

It’s frankly nonsense to say that if you don’t understand it now you never will. There are depths of understanding and it’s highly possible that you’ll have a aha! moment as you review your notes.

3 At this stage focus on self assessment and how you are organising material for the topics rather than new material or details

Ask yourself which areas are you weakest on. Concentrate on those.  Also double check you know the structure of the exam paper. That can help you focus on what to prioritize at this stage.

4 Do make time for a break if you want to watch football

Studying non-stop is counter productive. After 30 minutes attention and comprehension can start to tail off. Organise your day so that you can watch all of the match. Treat yourself to two hours with no studying.

5 Do not drink alcohol the day before the exam

Obviously you don’t want a hangover during your exam but it’s more than that. If you start drinking around a sporting event, emotions and peer pressure lead you to drink more than you should; and you’ll finish up doing no more study after the match. Have a mocktail.

6 Don’t Panic

You’ll probably do better than you think, and likely to remember more if you have a sensible last day of study. Remind yourself that your revision now is a positive.

7 Treat Triumph and Disaster Just The Same

If your team lose today (or get relegated, fail to qualify for European football of whatever) don’t let it get you down. There’ll be other seasons and you are more important than your team.

Equally if your team triumph, don’t get carried away and go drinking (See above) Celebration can happen later.

8 Be inventive

There is a French exam tomorrow and someone has said online that they have amused themselves by translating BBC Football Preview website into French.  That’s a good idea and a bit of fun. But to be honest it can’t replace solid revision in areas where you might have already identified yourself as needing an extra refresher.

9 Think carefully about contacts with friends who are also studying for the exam tomorrow

Contacting friends can be helpful as it will provide you with that little bit of extra reassurance that you are not the only one struggling in some areas. And contact with others can always provide moral support. But be careful of those who say they have been studying ‘literally 24/7 for weeks’  (they won’t) or those who say ‘haven’t really done much revision it’s only 15% anyway’ (they are also fibbing).  There is also the risk of them persuading you to leave your studying when your really don’t want to be doing that.

10 Get a good night’s sleep

It really isn’t a good idea to be up until 3am trying to cram it all in. You’ll perform better if you had a decent kip.

Good luck. Both on the field, and off it.