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How to Juggle Studies and CCA Commitments

February 10, 2020 | By Valerie Tan

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks you about school? Your grades, your CCA achievements or your friends? I would like to call myself an “active student”—a student who not just focuses on studies but also am highly committed to activities out of lessons.  As someone who struggled to balance my studies and CCA commitments for many years, here are some tips which I wish I knew much earlier.

  1. Have a planned schedule at least 1 week in advance.

You have to stop giving yourself excuses and stop laziness! Start cultivating good habits such as time-management and organisation. Use literally ANYTHING under the sun— on-the-go daily planners, little post-it notes attached to your fridge, Google Calendar, etc. With so many activities in CCA and a huge pile of homework coming after you, it’s always the best to track your daily to-do list and make sure everything is done before deadlines. Setting reminders for your planned schedule 1 week in advance helps you to keep track of how your upcoming week is going to be like, thus it will be easier for you to slot in ‘study hours’

Let me give you an example of an optimally-planned weekly schedule:

School ends at around 4pm on average. This leaves me with 9 hours daily on weekdays till 1am (I aim to sleep latest by 1am). Of course I would take into account time for travelling, meals, and a bit of ‘lepak time’. So with 7 hours left, I will allocate about 2.5 hours daily for ‘homework time’, my CCA is twice per week, about 4 hours each session. On weekends I have family outings and personal commitments, so you have to take that into account too! 🙂

 

Duration Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
2.5Hrs Homework Homework Homework Homework Homework Homework Homework
4Hrs CCA H1s CCA H2 Bio Revision
6Hrs H2 Math H2 Chem       Personal Family
2Hrs             H2 Math

So here’s what I have so far:

As you can see, with the most basic outline of how your week will be like, it is easier to allocate time for studies.

Take note that I deliberately left a couple of empty slots for buffer time allocated for social life, fulfilling CCA work outside of school, etc. With a simple guide like this, it made my life so much easier to navigate. I regret not having a study plan until late into J2 year, causing me to struggle with many responsibilities. When tackling H2 subjects such as H2 Math, I highly recommend that you allocate more time for revision as the theories and concepts may be of higher complexity. In conclusion folks, start structuring your revision schedule in advance!

Once you’ve broken it down, it’ll look something like this:

 

Monday:

Daily schoolwork (2.5h)

Study time (1h) — H2 Math (Review lecture notes)

Study time (1h) — H2 Math (Learn and write down mistakes in notebook)

Study time (2h) — H2 Math (Use topical TYS to practice more questions)

 

Click here for a comprehensive guide to revising H2 Math.

  1. Rank your tasks

Omg, this is truly a life savior. Take a look at the Eisenhower Matrix.

Sort your tasks based on this matrix. Here’s another example for you:

  Urgent Not urgent
Important H2 math homework due the next day

-Study for H2 chem test on this coming Friday

-Submit CCA proposal (Deadline: 2 weeks time)

-Cycling with family

Not important -Reply messages/emails -Watch dramas

 

After you’ve finished sorting out all your tasks, proceed with the action plans for each category:

– Do

– Plan

– Delegate

– Eliminate

  1. Know your limits

Yes, you may really love your CCA and would give your all to contribute. However, always know your limits and be aware of your health. The last thing you want is to have a consistently unhealthy body till A levels. If you really have too much work on your hand, request for deadline extensions and speak to your teachers/guardians about it. They will be more than willing to lift some of the weight off your shoulders. Seriously, don’t paiseh. The key to ace in both CCA and studies is to have a 100% awesome mental and physical health. Your well-being is the most crucial, my friend.

 

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