It's almost time for the final mock ATAR exam. I'm currently buried in papers with my room decorated in a careless manner of papers which somewhat seems organised to me. My desk got all the 'stuff' that require my attention, everything on the floor is unimportant and even my computer folders are all unorganised.
When I reflect back on the start of year, I started all ambitious in my organisation targets! "I'm going to file everything as soon as I came home" became "I'm going to file everything on Saturday" then went to "Meh, I'll get it done eventually".
And now I've got bucketloads of 'stuff' everywhere. The truth is, every night, I would bury myself in papers so when it came to 11pm at night, I was just too tired to file anything and didn't want filing to terrorise the whole house. (More to do with the tired/lazy part than the noise problem).
So tip 1, file, file, file.
Organisation is so important! While it may seem like a waste of time dedicating time to a task that doesn't achieve anything, it does save you time in the long run in all those minutes spent finding things. Being able to find stuff quickly will save you the stress and the 'oh shit' moments where you figured you lost an assignment when really it was just buried under piles of handouts you don't remember taking.
Tip 2: Use flashcards, and use them often
One of my love affairs in year 12 has got to be Quizlet. (And no, I was not paid to write this). I paid for Quizlet Pro in Year 12 and it was a great feature that allowed you to have access to your online flash cards anywhere.
I recommend digital flash cards, because they're so convenient, the quizlet app for example, lets you do flashcards, tests and other games on your phone which is much more convenient than carrying a set of flashcards that will grow to an unsustainable amount at the end of year 12. But then again, everyone is different, so its best to do what works for you. Quizlet definitely worked for me.
Tip 3: Ignore scaling, choose subjects that interest you or are easy for you to do
Right now, I do 5 ATAR subjects, Accounting, Economics, English, Maths Methods and Applied Information Technology. I used to do Drama ATAR in year 12, but dropped it when I lost interest and the focus shifted from acting to more theory and historical context of drama (Boring). When I first started, I use to have this mate who would give me slack for doing only 5 'easy' ATARs. But I didn't really care, because I hated the sciences of physics and chemistry, and doing something you enjoy, makes study less of a chore.
And at the end of the day, my high scores in those subjects may have scaled down slightly, but they matched my mate's 99.5 predicted ATAR.
Tip 4: Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was probably the most productive thing I stumbled upon in the Lifehacker articles. Basically, for every 25 minutes of solid work you do, you get a 5 minute break, and after every 4 sessions of 25 minutes of work, you get an extended 25 minute break.
This simple technique made be a lot more focused and intense in those study sessions. You would work harder knowing there is a definite end to your study. And when I say intense study, I meant hands down, no music and full concentration. I would usually blast out a song to celebrate the end of every focus session.
I used a free iPhone App called Focus Keeper but upgraded to the Pro Version for $3 to get the statistics features.
Tip 5: Use Rescue Time or Self Control
I do a lot of work on the computer. I take all my notes on the computer, I like to write up any assignment on the computer and I do all my research on it. Yet, I can't seem to help click on the Facebook tab every time I have a break. And once you go on it, you are distracted by an endless News Feed filled with all the BuzzFeed Blue, ironically named Blue because of the feeling you get after accomplish nothing after spending your entire day on it.
Rescue Time is my preferred go to software, but does require a bit of cash cash money, but has great features that record the time you spend on sites, and blocks distracting sites after you spend too much time on it, so you can set yourself an amount of time for distracting yourself so you still turn out sane at the end of the day.
Self Control is also awesome but is extreme in nature. It is free, but once you set yourself to block, there's no turning back. I would sometimes turn on Self Control for a whole day if I spent the night before spending way too much time on Facebook. Self Control was used whenever I thought it was necessary to punish myself for wasting too much time.