The new school year is around the corner, with just a few days left on the calendar before it’s the first day of school. We leave our preparation for the new school year until the last week of December. After all, it has been the year-end holidays, and everyone would like to take it easy. But when school officially kicks in, you may find yourself in a frenzy. Fortunately, that’s something that you can avoid.
Of course, it’s never too late to get yourself mentally and physically prepared for a new and exciting year ahead. For a good start to the new school year, here are the top 5 things you can do the week before school reopens.
Our 5 Tips to Get Ready for the New School Year
- Tidy up your study table and get organised
- Establish new routines and build good habits
- Ensure that you’ve got school supplies sorted out
- Prepare your school uniforms and get a haircut
- Review the most challenging materials from last year
1. Tidy up your study table and get organised
Exams are over, and many students simply leave their study notes on their desks while they are out on post-exam celebrations with their friends. After all, you’ve worked really hard the past few months. There’s simply no time to clear out this year’s junk.
You start to feel that it would be useful to revisit the material during the new school year. After all, teachers often expect students to remember what is taught last year. How handy would it be to have last year’s study notes on hand, just in case you needed them.
We agree that materials should not be thrown out immediately. But if you’re heading to Secondary Four next year, and still referring to notes from Secondary One, you’ll want to ask yourself if you have really understood concepts that were taught.
After all, you have probably worked on enough homework and practice questions all these while. You would have become familiar with the content from previous years. Be confident in your knowledge and put those past-year study materials out of sight.
You may want to dedicate half a day to get rid of this year’s clutter. Tidying up your study table helps you to get ready for next year on a clean slate. Place last year’s materials that are no longer needed neatly in a labelled file before keeping it on a bookshelf. You can even consider donating your old textbooks to students from needy families.
Having a neat study table gives you greater confidence. It also makes you more efficient – especially when it comes to locating missing homework and study materials. This keeps the distractions away from you, and allow you to focus on your task at hand.
By being more organised, you’ll have space to do your homework, rather than having to work from your bed. Doesn’t that sound like one step closer to academic success?
2. Establish new routines and build good habits
A new year, a new you. Have weekday mornings been somewhat chaotic the past year? Establish a checklist to replace any bad habits you may have developed with a whole new set of good habits.
For example, you may be used to packing your school bag ten minutes before leaving home, just to realise that you’ve forgotten to bring your sports attire ten minutes before physical education class. Since it’s a new school year, develop the habit of packing your bag the night before. Take one set of school uniform out and leave it somewhere accessible.
Or you may have been sleeping late at night throughout the holidays, checking out what your friends have posted on their Instagram feed and Facebook page. Aim to sleep earlier so that you can go to school with a well-rested mind the next day. Numerous studies have shown that quality sleep and regular sleeping patterns would help students perform better in school. Take a few days to gradually adjust your sleep cycle, so that you’re used to waking up early before the first day of class.
In today’s competitive learning environment, teachers may start to dish out homework in the first week of school, or if you’re lucky – the second week. Aim to complete your homework in a timely manner, rather than leave everything to the day before the assignment is due. Perhaps a to-do list would put everything on track!
You may also want to commit yourself to goals, and schedule a certain amount of time to read up on materials before your teacher covers it in class. Set aside regular periods of time to do your homework. On days when you do not have any homework, spend some time to work on additional practice questions to strengthen your understanding. You may also want to take up new activities after school, such as sports which can keep you physically in shape. Establishing a proper weekly routine will help you to have a better year ahead.
3. Ensure that you’ve got school supplies sorted out
Schools typically provide a list of supplies which students will need to get before the start of the school year. Save money by buying these supplies at end-of-year sales or with back-to-school discounts which many online stores and brick-and-mortar stores are offering.
Equip yourself sufficiently for the new school year. Check that you have the necessary textbooks, workbooks and assessment books, as well as a good supply of stationery. Buying the latest guidebooks can also complement what you have learnt in class. This form of reinforced learning helps you to retain concepts for a longer period of time.
And if there are any titles which are out of stock, don’t forget to check with your school bookstore and ask them to inform you when they eventually become available. Teachers may also recommend additional reading materials and study guides on the first day of school.
Perhaps it’s also time to get yourself a new school bag that is more durable. Or a folder that helps you to collect loose sheets of homework so that they don’t end up crumpled at the bottom of your bag. Maybe a new water bottle or mug that can keep you hydrated when you are in class or working on your homework.
Here’s something that’s optional. Browse the textbooks and assessment books which you have bought, especially some of the more introductory ones. Books that are broken down by topics are a good place to start. Look at the first one or two chapters to look ahead and get a sense of what you will be studying in the coming school year.
If you have older siblings or cousins, they can set your expectations and fire up your excitement about the new content you’ll be learning in the new school year.
4. Prepare your school uniforms and get a haircut
Before the new school year, check your uniforms to ensure that they are still in good condition. You don’t want to end up with pants that are too short as you’ve outgrown them. If you’re a guy who is going from lower secondary to upper secondary, you will want to ensure that you switch your shorts to long pants – if that’s the practice in your school. Before school starts to get busy, you may even want to pick up a new independent lifelong skill by learning how to iron your school uniform.
The week before school starts is probably one of the busiest for hair salons. But that doesn’t mean that you should avoid getting your hair trimmed before the start of the school year. Most students would be getting a haircut the weekend before the new school term for a fresher look.
Don’t end up being the one who is out of place on the first day of school. Having a neat hairstyle is a good way to build confidence. And you’ll want to look your best, just in case your teacher wants to take a mugshot for everyone and have it immortalised on the classroom notice board for the rest of the year.
5. Review the most challenging materials from last year
If you have already done everything above and have some time to spare before the new school year, why not make better use of your time and revise some of this year’s content before the first day of school?
Things may have become rusty after you’re out of touch with studying during the holidays. You may have certain topics which you are weaker at. And sometime during the past year, you were wishing that had more time to understand those concepts in greater depth.
Well, here’s your chance to do so. But with so few days left before the new school year, it can be difficult to squeeze so many things in. If you’ve prepared your own summaries and revision notes, these would act as a good reminder of what you have done over the year.
If you have not been actively making notes, we’ve got you covered with our guidebooks. The concise writing style of our study guides helps you to strengthen your knowledge at any time of the year. Certain books focus on topics which students are generally weaker at. There are also guidebooks that are geared towards last-minute revision for tests and examinations.
Reviewing last year’s materials also prepares you mentally for the new school year. It gradually gets you back into studying mode, making your first few weeks of the new school year a breeze.
Regardless of how ready you are for the new school year, you should keep an open mind. Be prepared to make new friends in school. After all, these are the people who you will be spending a great deal of time with in the coming year. They may even end up as your revision buddies who will help you pull through the examinations. That’s why you should take the first step and share this article with your friends on Facebook or Instagram.
Do you have other back-to-school tips which you would like to share with other students? Let us know by posting a comment below.