I am sure we have all stayed up late at night before, staring at the endless amount of content we have to cram into our brains for the next test or examination.

I am Kasey, a Year 5 from Dunman High School. Being a student in an IP school has been a huge struggle, but using these tips have allowed me to cope better with the sudden increase in workload.

Dunman High

If you are struggling to stay afloat in school just like I had, don’t fret! No matter what school you are in, following these tried and tested tips will definitely make your school life more manageable. 

1. Don’t Procrastinate

This may sound like a huge challenge, but putting off heavy workload for another day will only cause your work to pile up over time. Having the discipline to start work immediately instead of procrastinating will be helpful in the long run.

Pile of work
Tip 1:  Set aside 1 to 2 hours every day to complete any outstanding work and stick to it!

Rather than facing a huge pile of work that seems to be an endless nightmare after procrastinating for days, setting a fixed amount of time to do work every day helps to space out your workload and prevents burn out. You can also adjust the time set depending on your workload for that particular week. This method increases the efficiency of completing work as new material taught will still be fresh in your minds and indicates how well you know a particular topic.


Tip 2: Start with an easier task or one that you enjoy

Find yourself unable to drag yourself out of bed to your desk? Contrary to popular belief, starting with the most difficult piece of work may not be the most efficient in getting your tasks out of the way.  

While styles of completing tasks may vary from person to person, I personally find starting with an easier task less daunting, and fuels me with more energy to complete my work. Once we get into the motion of doing work, continuing will not be as difficult as it seems.

Note taking on iPad
2. Constantly remind yourself of outstanding work that has yet to be completed

I am sure everyone has had the same experience at least once:  when you prepare to go to bed, only to feel the shock and horror when you realise the assignment you forgot about was due the next day. Your careless mistake may just be a result of disorganisation – which is why it is so important to keep yourself updated on the tasks you have!

Tip 3: Write down all your assignments on a checklist and keep it with you

You can get a small checklist like one from Muji or draw your own boxes on a post-it note. I personally like to keep my checklist behind my phone with a clear phone case as it is easy to refer to.

Muji checklist
For those who are not keen on writing your task down or misplace your notes easily, phone apps like Reminders are also a really good alternative as you would be able to set alarms for specific tasks. 

Reminders screenshot

3. No distractions

Tip 4: Go to a library or somewhere quiet to study

I find myself being a lot more productive in the library as the conducive environment makes me more focused and get into “work mode”. You may also find it helpful by finding motivation in others, just as how seeing other people study makes me more motivated to do my work!

Studying at desk

4. Quality over quantity of work 

Ever feel yourself reading the same page over and over again and feel like your brain is not absorbing anything? Close your textbook and take a break.

Tip 5: Don’t work if you know you won’t be able to absorb any new information

We all have our bad days, where we are just physically or mentally drained. Forcing yourself to remember more information when you are not in the right state will only be futile. The quality of your time spent, especially when studying, is vital. If you spend 5 hours on content which you can normally complete in 3 hours because you are simply too tired, take a break! Your time is better spent resting up.

Reading textbook

When taking breaks, I prefer to do something that does not include my phone such as playing guitar or drawing. You can try to find an activity that is both non-addictive and one where you feel the most comfortable in, so that you can better equip yourself for your next study session.

This is the tip most commonly mentioned by both teachers and parents and is the key to being able to rest early.

5. Plan your time wisely

Tip 6: Create a timetable

Setting timetables often may cause you to feel obligated to complete your tasks, and motivate you to finish them within a certain time frame. However, if this does not work out for you, try setting timed study sessions and just complete as much as you can within a fixed time.


Once you get used to the timed sessions, you can even explore timing your daily activities to maximise your time. For example, having a meal break for 40mins in between 1h study sessions. 

Planning out your time for the day helps to maximise every minute that you have, but remember to start slow: rushing into strict, packed timetables when first starting out will only be futile.

6. Sleep Early

Many of us have less than 8 hours of sleep a day due to our various lifestyles – from rushing homework to watching YouTube till late at night. However, sufficient sleep is really important for our health and well being!

Tip 7: Have a regular sleep schedule even during weekends

While many of us have little sleep on school days and catch up on the extra sleep during weekends, this lifestyle actually makes us feel more tired. On the other hand, having a regular sleep schedule maintains the timing of our body’s internal clock, helping us fall asleep and wake up more easily. 


If you wake up at 6.30 am on school days, try waking up at 7.30 am on weekends! This can help prevent us from feeling tired during the day and prevent you from sleeping through your classes. Your time spent in school will be a lot more productive!

Before your next class, do give these tips a try! Over time, these tips will become good habits that will be beneficial in the future. One of the co-operative values that I learnt during my internship here at SNCF is self-responsibility which is my biggest takeaway as this value is very applicable to school life. It is really important to practice self-responsibility, and take charge of our own learning. I hope these tips were helpful, and all the best for the new school year.

School cartoon collage

This article was brought to you by Kasey Soh who was an intern at SNCF from 7 to 28 January for her Work Experience Programme. She is currently a Year 5 student from Dunman High School. Her hobbies include dancing and drawing.