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Making the most of school

At Medology, we dip into a bit of research sometimes too. When it comes to school, we’ve analysed the psychology and habits of highly successful individuals to synthesise the principles that’ll propel you to becoming a ‘good’, A* student and enjoy school too!

Buckle up for a ride, jam-packed with gold dust.

Make a strong start 🛣️

So you’re starting a new academic year after a well-rested summer break, and let me guess. You’ve got some new-born extra dose of motivation to give your studies everything this year? Yep, that sounds like a lot of people.

It’s easy to feel excited at the concept of a fresh, new year of learning. But how do we funnel this energy to optimise our learning approach? Let’s break it down together.

  • Prepare for what’s ahead – find your timetable, get the dates of your exams and layout a mental roadmap for how you plan to pace the intensity of your learning over the term.
  • Be serious from day 1 – success starts from intention, so adopt the mindset where you treat every class test is like a real exam. Let me tell you one thing. Students who properly revise for class tests, using them as an opportunity to make notes and understand a topic at a time are always the ones who end up most successful with their grades.
  • Say yes to everything – don’t fall into the trap of becoming the grade-grabbing zombie 🧟‍♂️ who spends all their time studying, but doesn’t do much else. Adopt the mindset of becoming as all-rounded as you possibly can be. Push yourself to play a sport, represent your school somewhere or partake in activities outside of school that broaden your horizons!
  • Enjoy your time – school ain’t just about learning. It’s important to build good friendships and meet new people. Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely, and invest in these relationships. Together, you guys will go further!

Use your lessons effectively 🤓

Let me tell you about a story that led me into a negative spiral when I was at school myself.

Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of complacency one term when I began to think, “lessons are useless, I’m going to use them as a chance to relax now because they don’t even benefit me”

Huge, huge mistake. I was passively sitting through lessons, taking in very little because I pre-intended a weak attention span and when exam season came around I felt empty.

Empty because I knew nothing, and fooled because I trusted myself to learn a term’s worth of content in a week, whilst juggling other subjects.

The moral of the short story is that you need to have a proactive mindset in lessons to be a good student and force yourself to engage even if you’re tired. This is the best time to grind!

So, what should I be doing in my lessons?

Some of the things I’m going to mention are sadly only learnt by people by the time they reach university, so this is a real chance to get a step ahead.

  1. Know what you’re going to learn – why not spend 15 minutes trying reviewing the new material you’ll be covering in a revision guide the night before. You’ll start to connect dots together about a topic, forcing you to take more interest in the lesson and iron down this knowledge into your long-term memory
  2. Listening isn’t enough – you’ll never retain 100% of a teacher’s explanation by just listening to their words sadly. You should seek to understand a topic in a lesson to the extent where you could comfortably teach it back to your friends → go home and consolidate this knowleedge on the same night!
  3. Ask questions – you have to break out of your shell and seek help when you’re confused. It’s not a sign of weakness, rather a sign of intelligence. The sooner you nip things in the bud, the more clarity you’ll feel :)
  4. Stay organised – have a space to take notes and compartmentalise any additional resources provided to you for each subject. This makes it easier to do homework and utilise extra help your teachers have setup!

Should I make notes in lessons? 🤔

This is an interesting one.

On the one hand, they force you to really pay attention but they’re often useless in the face of revision guides and pre-existing notes found online.

The way I see it is…

So, what’s the best way to go? Actually, there’s no clear-cut answer.

The bottom-line is that you want a learning system in place that you need to leave the classroom with a good memory of the concepts covered. That leaves you with the task of engraining the information into your long-term memory and doing practice questions before you’re “exam ready”

We’d say it’s best to trust your gut. Experiment with and without note-taking and see what creates the best balance for you. But if you’re unsure, then just take notes because at the very least the effort they require in lesson keeps you engaged!

Private studies 🕵🏼‍♂️

For sixth formers/college students, this is either your biggest tool or your worst enemy. And the beautiful thing is, you can decide what you make of it.

2 types of people in private studies

  • Personality 1: The grindsetters 🚜Bless these guys man, they’re so cute. They’ve got their own little corner which they occupy in every private study session, it’s like they’ve got an invisible ‘reserved’ mark on the spot and they keep their head down in these sessions and are seldom distracted. On the surface you look at them and think, ‘what a sweat! Robot guy probably has no friends’. The reality is, they life by the work hard, play hard motto. Whilst they seem to just study in school, they create a lot of free time for themselves after school hours shut.
  • Personality 2… The schmakers 🤪This person probably spent the whole year asleep, watching YouTube videos or chillaxing in their free periods and leaving all their work to do at home. These guys often turn into ‘night owls’ because they let work pile up. You’ll probably see them slowly develop a coffee (cough cough Starbucks) addiction too from the late nights they put in to catch up on work. Clinical indication of this personality: sleep bags under their eyes!

Who do you wanna be?

Because I can’t lie… I’ve lived both lifestyles and I’m all for #TeamGrindsetters man! We can all take a leaf out of their books 😜

’It’s so easy to slack off in private studies though!’

It is. But you’ve got to remember that… with independence, comes great responsibility.

And one responsibility I urge you all to take upon yourselves is to consciously learn to discipline yourself – and private studies is a brilliant place to start.

Try to use each one productively. It’s harder than it sounds when it’s so easy to get distracted but we’ll give you some motivation to use this time well…

  • Maximise the ‘work flow’ state – once you get home after a day of school, your body and mind goes into ‘relax mode’ which means that you’ve got much less volition to get up and work. But in school, you’re in the study mindset. Make the most of that time to do homework, make notes, or even active recall.
  • Get a step ahead of the competition – your average joe will be wasting private study sessions – a sad reality. Why don’t you be the one to change the game. Think back to all the hours you’ve wasted in frees so far… Imagine if you could convert 80% of that time into revision, you’d be so much further ahead right… So why continue to miss out?

The same concept can also be applied to gym-goers. If you want to see real progress, you’ve got to turn up regularly and put the hard yards in! Results don’t come in a short 1-2 week cram of working out – and the same goes for good grades too 💪🏽

Goal setting: an underrated tool 🔨

Another key to success in your studies is to create a weekly plan. A good student is an organised student! Apart from your compulsory duties of turning up to school and lessons, what goals do you need to fulfil to achieve your mission of getting into Medicine/Dentistry?

Apart from studying, private studies give you time to exercise your creative freedom to work on side-projects that can develop you as well!

The power of company 🫀

Your company defines who you become as a person. The people you spend time with can drag you towards betterment, stability or lead to your downfall. It’s important you give your heart to the right people and build relationships on the premise of good intentions.

As we’ve gone through school, there’s a few things we’ve learnt over the years…

  • Teachers are your best friends
  • You are the average of people you surround yourself with
  • Build your networks, from now

Before this turns into a life advice service, we’ll end on the note that you should try to keep a supportive community around you.

Sixth form is the time to dream big and get into the course and university of your dreams!

Take the right people on that journey with you, and be helpful to those around you. The favour always gets returned, in one way or another to the hand that helps ❤️