Bored of reading the science theories? Running out of steam going through hundreds of years of political history? Don’t complain, do something!
There are so many subjects that have gained a somewhat less than positive reputation through dated resources, limited vision on the pupil’s part and unimaginative classes on the teachers’ part, the words “mission: impossible” could very well spring to mind when one considers getting through the mountains of revision required for exams.
But we really don’t make things easy for ourselves…
Given the amount of obligatory time they spend in school each week, it is a wonder why teachers and pupils alike are not pulling out the stops to make their 9 to 5 more interesting; it can be done! Here we give you a quick guide to lighten up even the most tiresome of subjects. Sure, we cannot make every aspect to every subject fun (they don’t call it work for nothing!) but we can at least try to inspire you, to give you a goal and some passion for your work – something which will without a doubt give you the necessary energy to pull through the tough stuff. Read ahead and find yourself inspired…
Be it chemistry, biology or physics, a description of the sciences doesn’t often include the word “fun”. Sure, there’s a lot of formulae and theory to learn (so much so you may feel like you are learning a new language!) but don’t be disheartened, it is learnable! You just have to think about the rewards it can bring – doing well in the sciences proves to potential employers that you can think logically and analytically, follow instruction and learn from scratch. There’s some things in life for which you have to graft. Assuming you are not a science lover (in which case you need not read this paragraph!), learning the sciences is one of them. The great thing about school level science is that you don’t have to possess natural scientific skills to pass; it is just a case of learning the necessary and getting the answer onto the paper. Unlike with the arts (English for example), science questions are normally either right or wrong. Learning the right answers is not a skill you have to hone; it’s something you can do with a little application (and perhaps a little caffeine too). The data may seem daunting when reading it from a textbook (amongst all those Greek letters and graphs) but copy it down yourself – in some fancy felt pens perhaps – and it will suddenly look a lot more friendly. Find out what you need to know to pass your exam and learn it. Establishing what you need to know and more importantly, what you don’t need to know, is one of the best plans of action you can take for passing a science exam. Our advice is to find out what’s necessary, make yourself a check list, get your head down and learn! So what you forget it all the minute after the invigilator tells the hall to put pens down? As long as you aren’t planning on a science career, the good exam result is all you need. All employers want adaptable employees, those who can apply themselves to any task and do well. Demonstrating you have capacity with the sciences is a great way to get this trait tagged to you.
English is divided into two parts. There’s the part you can learn – exactly in the same way you learn the science stuff – which is grammar. And, there’s the part you develop – that is your creativity.
English language is something to which you can apply theory. You remember the grammar guides and you look for patterns in the comprehension activities – do past papers normally ask you to show how X is conveyed in a text? Then look up typical demonstrations of X and remember them for your exam!
English literature – its interpretation and creativity has a different route to success. It is something which you need to develop and can require a little more than parrot like repetitions. Read guides and be inspired by what interests you. There is no wrong answer in creative tasks…but there are bad answers! Avoid clichés and don’t necessarily follow the crowd. Get interested. It may be that you don’t like the text the class chooses to read but this shouldn’t dishearten you, go choose one of your own. Think about what you would like to read then go read it. Think about why you liked reading it and try incorporating these aspects into your own work – and do the necessary background research! Perhaps you like reading thrillers (whilst your class has chosen a 19th century classic)…think about why you like the thrillers – is it because they leave you in suspense? Always making you want to read more? Or is it because you can relate to the base situation more – they’re about high school students in normal neighbourhoods, not the gentlemen on horseback of 200 years ago galloping around their 50 mile estates. Whatever aspect it may be that hooks you, bring it in! For the suspense lovers, research chilling words in the thesaurus (your ideas should come naturally, just let your imagination run wild). Looking up the words before the exam will help your text be the most colourful and interesting it can be…
If you’re not good then practise! Maybe you think of art as a secondary subject but always bear in mind that the more strings to your bow, the more attractive you are to employers. Originality is key – you don’t need to be able to paint like Van Gogh, just keep it simple but always interesting. Imagine how many “Bowl of Fruit” paintings your art teacher has seen…think about how you can make it different (alternative colours maybe…) and do it!
Take an interest in your history – everything that’s happened affects where you are today. There are facts to learn yes – but always consider the people making the facts are human – with opinions, beliefs and reasons for bias. Consider these – it is almost like gossip! Why people did something and with what motive…Learn the facts and think about why they happened and you’ll be on your way to writing a great history essay. The one thing to always consider – be thorough in your considerations…bear in mind every fact about the fact in hand affects its motive and authenticity – what’s the source? When was it written? Who by? Analyse these features and you’ll come to the right conclusions without a doubt.
The Hard One. Maths has a bad reputation – for being difficult, dull and inapplicable to everyday life. Well, the truth is: it can be difficult, it can be dull and there are definitely parts which are inapplicable to everyday life. What else is true is that it can be easy, it can be interesting and it can be applicable to a huge variety of situations. And the best way to make it easy, interesting and applicable is to put effort in. Like the sciences, it requires some graft; like the arts it requires some creativity…it really is an enthralling subject once you understand it. It can be applied to everything from philosophy to banking. Take the interesting aspects and run with them; once you’re inspired, you won’t want to stop. There really is something enormously satisfying about proving a theorem or getting through a tough problem. It’s wonderful how everything just “works out”… So what can you apply maths to? Read history! It even goes back to the deep and dark questions such as “The Meaning of Life”. On a less deep level, does money making take your fancy? Gaming… playing the likes of poker? A game of poker online could sure be a lot more profitable should you have some mathematical skill to back it up with. Learn the theories and see yourself reap the rewards!
Ok, so conjugating verbs over and over (and over) if never fun. But think about where it can take you – anything from a job in the sun to a cross continent road trip (doing it cheaply, using options such as London hostel for example) to the enjoyment of a new genre of film! Once you have got through the basic stage, you will already be constructing your own sentences – and once you get to this point, you’re ready for a holiday – a chance to enjoy your new skills and see them in action. It may be you don’t want to work specifically with foreign languages in the future (as a translator say) but being able to communicate in a language different to your native one opens up the job market for you n-fold…think, whatever job you’d go for at home, you could also go for in the country whose language you have learnt – a great advantage, especially to those wanting to enter a competitive sector (marketing for example) – you can get the experience abroad and then come back home with a great CV, ready to get your job!
No matter what you do in school, at this level, all can be learnt. Yes you need graft but the rewards are worth it. Just start! It may seem like a daunting task at first but once you’ve got through the first page, you’ll be on a roll, believe us!