How to balance work, life and exams

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Time- revision

Below is a full list of things you’re expected to do as an A Level/sixth form student:

  • Study and revise
  • Work
  • Keep in touch with old friends
  • Spend time on a hobby
  • Do some form of excercise
  • Read recreationally
  • Make time for yourself
  • Help out around the house
  • Spend time with your family
  • Prepare for university
  • Feed the dog.

Even attempting to fit all of this in may have you feeling a little:

Nope, nope, nope

If trying to do everything sounds impossible, that’s because it is. Still, some things have to get done – like your part time job, or your revision, or the two hours of video games per night because it’s something you actually look forward to (no joke, this is important). 

Here’s our top tips on how to keep your work/life balance from exploding during revision.

1. Keep track of your time for a week

keep track of your time

How are you actually spending your time at the moment? Have you got absolutely no time to revise or are you spending too much time doing something else? Time to utilise the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart shows you where there might be gaps in your time by getting you to list your tasks and how much time you spend on them throughout the week. With this, you’ll be able to reorganise your time. If you’re spending too long playing video games, watching Netflix or pulling too many shifts at work (money is nice but passing your exams is nicer), you may want to shift your diary around. Want to see how a Gantt chart works? Our student George shows you his time management tips in his vlog.

2. Ask for help at work

Your exams are important, and if you’re working, your manager will most likely understand. If you’re getting a lot of shifts, or difficult shifts, ask if your revision time could be considered when the rota is developed.

sarah shah

You’re not going to lose anything, and if you’re anxious about it, remember they can only say no – so get in there and ask as soon as possible so your manager can work around it.

3. Plan something fun and stick to it

We all need something to look forward to, and having something to work towards really improves your motivation. If you’re busy with work, revision, family and friends it can sometimes feel like your time isn’t your own, so plan something that you want to do for the end of the week as a reward for your hard work. Think about whether you want to do something alone, go and see friends or spend time with family and actually pencil it in to your diary or revision timetable.

Knowing you’ve scheduled some leisure time in the week to balance out your work life will keep you motivated and less likely to skip on the revision.

4. Sync your schedules

get together

There’s no such thing as too much planning. Have a timetable for revision and build in your work time. Ask when your friends are free that week and see if there’s a gap where you might be able to get together. It sounds boring (and it really is) but keeping your life planned out for the next few months could really help you get everything done and still have a good time. If you keep an accurate timetable and there’s no free space on it, it’s probably a sign that you should cut back on some of your activities.

If you need help, download our revision timetable template.

5. Delegate, sacrifice and learn to say no

Big reader? Go for a weekend bookathon. Film fanatic or game addict? Take one or two days to binge on your favourite activities. There’s no need to sacrifice your hobbies during exam season but you may need to think about timing them differently. Either do a little each day or take one or two days a week to do whatever you want – just see what works for you.  

It’s also important to learn to say no. If you’ve been looking forward to binging your favourite show all week but a friend wants to go out, think about what you really want to do.  

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