School holidays are a much-anticipated break for students, offering a chance to relax, recharge, see friends, and pick up more shifts. However, they also present a valuable opportunity to catch up on homework, reflect on the past term, and prepare for the upcoming one.

How can you make sure that at the end of the school holidays, your pile of holiday homework isn’t still sitting there untouched without dedicating all of your time to schoolwork?

How can you make sure you are productive during these school holidays while making sure you leave time to see friends and pick up extra work shifts?

This is where the Four R Holiday Method comes in! To make the most of your holidays, make sure to review, revise, rest, and reset.


Review: Reflecting on Your Progress

The first step in making the most of your holiday is to review your past term. Reflecting on the past term helps you think about what worked well and what didn’t. This ensures you keep up with the habits that make you productive and change the ones that don’t. For Year 12 students, it’s also important to review the content you learned in Semester One, as you will be assessed on content from as far back as Week 1 in your end of year exams.

To help review the term that has passed, think about the following questions:

  • What Worked Well? Reflect on the strategies, study habits, and routines that helped you succeed. Did certain study techniques help you remember more information? Was there a specific time management strategy, like a timetable, that was helpful?
  • What Didn’t Work Well? What strategies and habits do you need to leave behind? Were you using your phone to procrastinate? Did certain study strategies fail to help you remember more? Pinpointing areas for improvement helps identify changes needed to leave ineffective habits in the past term.

To review your knowledge, it’s helpful to subjectively and objectively assess what you know and don’t know. Subjectively review how you feel about the content and identify what you think you know. For this, use the traffic light system.

  • Traffic Light System: Read through your study design or subject outline and categorise each point:
    • Green: You are confident in this area.
    • Yellow: You need to review this material.
    • Red: You need additional help or tutoring.

While subjective measures help identify how you feel about the content, they don’t always reflect your actual knowledge. Sometimes, you might think you know a concept, but under exam conditions, you realize you don’t. This is why objective evaluations, like practice exams and quizzes, are essential.

Test Your Knowledge: Use past exams or quizzes under exam conditions—no notes, timed, and strictly monitored. This gives you a realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus your efforts where they are needed most.


Revise: Active Study Strategies

Now that you know what you do and don’t know, it’s time to revise the forgotten content. If there’s no relevant content from the last term, use this opportunity to review your current study strategies. Effective revision is key to retaining knowledge and preparing for assessments.

While passive study methods like reading and rewriting notes are common and easy to implement, they should only make up a small portion of your study. Passive study strategies are great for increasing your subjective confidence but are less effective at improving your objective performance. They don’t help you remember the content, understand it deeply, or apply it—all skills needed for assessments and exams. Instead, utilize active study strategies that require you to engage with the material and develop a deeper understanding.

Here’s how to make your revision sessions more active and engaging:

  • Active Summarizing: Summarize your notes or textbook in your own words. This ensures you understand the content, as it’s hard to explain something you don’t know. It also creates resources you can review closer to exams.
  • Answering Questions: Engage with the material by answering practice questions. This tests your knowledge and prepares you for the format and style of exam questions.
  • Completing Quizzes: Use online quizzes or create your own. Quizzes can be a fun and interactive way to test your understanding. Creating your own questions helps predict what you might be tested on.
  • Creating Recordings/ teach someone else: Teach the material to yourself or others through audio recordings or video explanations. Teaching someone else helps you remember the content and identify gaps in your knowledge.
  • Converting Notes: Turn your notes into diagrams, charts, or mind maps. Visual aids help organize information and make complex topics easier to understand.


Rest: Balancing Study and Relaxation

Balancing study with rest is crucial to maintaining your mental and physical health. Overworking can lead to burnout and poor retention of information, while adequate rest enhances your ability to absorb and recall information. It also increases motivation and improves your overall well-being.

Here’s how to ensure you get enough rest while studying effectively:

  • Task-Based Study: Focus on completing tasks rather than the amount of time spent studying. List all the study activities you need to complete each week, such as homework, revision, practice questions, and assignments. This approach keeps you productive without feeling overwhelmed by time constraints. Also just because you are studying for longer doesn’t mean you are getting more done!
  • Pomodoro Technique: Study for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. After four cycles, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This technique helps maintain focus and prevents fatigue. Choose a task from your to-do list and try to complete it in 25 minutes—it’s amazing how much work you can get done when racing the clock!
  • Flexibility: Life happens, and sometimes schedules need to change. Be prepared to adjust your study plan as needed. Prioritize tasks with deadlines and be flexible with less urgent activities.
  • Scheduled Downtime: Plan your rest periods just as you would your study sessions. Ensure you have time to relax, pursue hobbies, and spend time with family and friends. Scheduling your rest is just as important as scheduling your study!
  • Sleep: Prioritize getting enough sleep. Teenagers need about 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Proper sleep enhances your ability to absorb information and improves your overall mood and well-being.


Reset: Preparing for the Next Term

The holiday break is the perfect time to reset your environment, mindset, and study habits. We want to start fresh next term and hit the ground running. This involves making deliberate changes to improve your effectiveness and productivity:

  • Environment: Organize your study space to minimize distractions. A clean, well-organized space improves focus and efficiency. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t take it into a test, take it off your desk.
  • Mindset: Reflect on your attitude towards studying. Are there any mental blocks or negative beliefs holding you back?
  • Habits: Identify unproductive behaviors from the previous term and plan to replace them with healthier, more productive ones. For example, if you found yourself procrastinating, try breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps and leave your phone in another room.
  • Goal Setting: Set specific, achievable goals for the next term. Having clear objectives keeps you motivated and focused. Break down long-term goals into short-term tasks to make them more manageable.


Final Thoughts

The 4’R Holiday Method is designed to help you make the most of your school holidays, ensuring that you return to school refreshed and ready to tackle the new term with confidence. By reviewing past performance, revising effectively, balancing study with rest, and resetting your approach, you can transform your holiday break into a period of productive reflection and preparation.


Post by Student Coach – Megan Ross

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