21 July 2017

How to make a GCSE revision timetable + free timetable template

Hello again! This may seem like a strange time to post about revision timetables to you as this is the last day of school for most of you out there and you're probably thinking "no, no way, I'm not thinking about school for another six weeks!", and while this is a lovely idea, for those of you who've just left year 10, this is about to get really tough. Sorry to dampen the mood my friends, I know I'm just such a bundle of fun!

To brighten the sudden cloud of grief that has just began to loom over your head, I thought I would share some advice from a very organised, disciplined student. I may be the only one in existence, so listen close!

How to split up your subjects into a two week timetable:

I started thinking about revision very early, I started just before the year 10 mocks, obviously for the year 10 mocks, but after that I developed a very well thought out revision timetable. My actual timetable was not electronic, but I have decided to translate it onto excel in a way you can understand it, other than my quick scrawl on a notepad!

Step 1) Decide which  subjects are a priority for you
It's very easy without a timetable to fall into the trap of just doing the subjects you enjoy or don't feel quite so painful to study. However; what you should be doing is prioritising subjects either where there is lots to learn, like history or geography for example, or a subject that you struggle with, which was science for me.

Step 2) How many times in two weeks?
You now need to split up your subjects into levels of priority, this will determine how many times in two weeks you should be studying that subject, for example, this was how I split up my subjects:

Maths: 6 times
English Literature: 6 times
History: 6 times
Business: 5 times
Biology: 5 times
Physics: 5 times
Chemistry: 5 times
French: 4 times
Music: 4 times
English Language: 3 times

Step 3) How many times in one week?
The reason we start with two weeks is because it can be tricky doing as much as you want to do in a week, in a week. Let me explain: in the perfect world, we would do three business studies sessions and three biology sessions every single week for example, but in reality you just can't fit that much in and you begin to set unattainable goals, meaning the system breaks down and nothing gets done. The two week system allows a little leeway because you're not studying as much of one subject as you would with a one week timetable. But don't panic about that, you will definitely revise more than enough for each subject this way, it just makes it easier to handle!

Essentially the thing you need to do in this step is decide which subjects will slot into which half hour slot!

How long should I revise for?

I revised for approximately 2-3 hours every night as I approached my final exams. For mocks before this, you do not need to revise that much. I shall do a blog post later about how much to revise for mocks, please comment below if you would find this useful!

In the timetable template, I revise for two hours with a dinner break in the middle, split into four half an hour study sections. Forty-five minute time periods are good, although I often changed this to an hour if doing a past paper or essays. I also often revised for much longer on weekends too as I literally had more time to fill up.

Having quite short bursts of revision means your brain stays active longer, meaning you stay more focused and get more done than long two hour periods of revision of the same subject. It is important to stay interested and awake, or the information will not go in, making the whole exercise a very boring waste of time!

The important thing to remember is that your plan should be flexible to how you feel and to your life, and although you should stick to your timetable, you should allow yourself to be in control of your decisions and your time.

Thanks for reading my long blogpost! As promised, here is my free, editable revision timetable template

I hope you all do well in your upcoming exams, whatever they may be. If there's anything else you'd like me to add here e.g. A-level timetables or GCSE timetables with more subjects options, please let me know in the comments!

// Jeani

17 July 2017

4 Crucial Planning Resources Every Blogger Needs // advice

Hey everyone! Welcome back if you've been here before , and if not, welcome to my blog!  Today I am one of those returning to my writing as I realised yesterday that I have not posted since March due to my extensive revision schedule I set myself over the months that came after, in preparation for my GCSEs. After a month of taking my exams, prior to a month travelling the world, I am finally back in a position where I can begin writing again.

Blowholes in Savai'i, Samoa

During my time away, I found myself with a lot of spare thinking time that I hadn't had for a long time, which led to lots of planning for my return to this blog. If you do happen to be a frequent visitor, you may have noticed that Jeani Thoughts has had a makeover (featuring many aesthetic photos from my holiday - you gotta utilise your resources!), which is my way of symbolising my fresh start now that high school is over.  This extra time for mind-mapping, thinking, writing, noting, listing, designing and planning showed me how important it is to plan and how, if at home, I may have jumped straight into blogging this summer as I would have the resources, like wifi and a laptop, to do so.

So, now we get to the point at hand: what are the best resources for planning? Often we find ourselves with so many thoughts whizzing around our brain that we just want to get them out, but struggle to choose the best way to do so; you don't want to risk misplacing your ideas, you want to quickly access the resource before you forget your ideas and you want them to be permanent. So, here is my list of resources (for dummies):

1) A3 paper and coloured pens - for creating visual plans
Blog plan mindmap

Above is a photo of a mind-map I put together in a maximum of ten minutes for my blog plan. Paper is definitely the best resource when trying to quickly jot down ideas as they easily flow from your brain and you have something you can see and visualise afterwards. I keep a stack of A3 paper by my desk and I used this a lot when revising. The use of colours means a) it looks pretty and b) it looks pretty, which tricks my brain into enjoying the process of planning and jotting down those ideas, or revising. The pro of paper is you can stick or pin your plan up where you can see it

2) Notes (on apple products) - for ideas

Blog plan mindmap draft
This app as upped its game recently; I love the fact that you can now draw on it (I don't actually know how new that feature is as I'm always five updates behind as my storage is always full, but it's new to me!). Anyway, this appears to be the only useful app that apple forces you to have on your phone, as you constantly have a notepad with you, presuming you always have your phone on you, which is good for sudden ideas, for writing casual lists of things to do and now jotting down images!

3) Pages/Word - for planning blog design

On a tablet, or even a laptop, despite being word processing equipment, I've found these very useful for designing, including my plan for a future home when I was seven - in hindsight, it probably wouldn't qualify for planning permission.
During my holiday, I discovered that pages was particularly useful for plan of a blog as it is equipped with shapes, ability to insert photos, and obviously text. I ended up creating a simple, yet effective, plan of what I wanted my blog to look like. Compare the image above with my blog now ( if you're not reading this in five years of course) and see for yourself.

4) Pinterest - for collecting ideas

When I first downloaded pinterest, I struggled to understand the buzz over this app which was seemingly pointless to a thirteen year old girl who used pinboards for displaying photos of her family - you can understand the confusion. But three years later, I am addicted and have pinned over twenty five thousand photos to over 65 different pinboards. Woah, I didn't even realise!

This clever app helps you to formulate an image or aesthetic by collecting images together in one place, allowing you to then click on the board and see a summary of your idea. For example:

A book I was gonna write

Future wedding plans (don't run from me boyfriend, I'm not crazy)

Style plans

Or collecting images around a specific theme so you can come back to it later either to read or pick from the ideas, for example:

Selection of tumblr posts surrounding feminism
Compilation of motivational quotes

So, there you go, my top four resources! Make sure you come back and read some more posts; as you can see on my mind-maps, I've got lots of good stuff coming up!

// Jeani

27 March 2017

Summer Storm // poem

Rays of light creep along hardwood floors
They seep through the cracks of open doors
Flood through the windows that have curtains flung back
They touch my skin you can still see their track

I reach a hand out, the light covers my skin
like a coating of paint. How can it be thin
When it pours down my arms and seeps into my eyes?
The thing about sunlight is that it surely dies.

Drops of water escape onto where I lie
But the heat ignites the once mizzling sky
Flashes of bright light scream in the air
I'm frozen in wonder as I watch them tear

Through the velvet sheet dropped across fields
Children peep through their lashes at the gods revealed
Shocked to my core as the sky inhaled
It spat out its fire like a bride unveiled

Then the moon brings the clouds across starlit skies
It breaks through my slumber. I watch the sun start to rise
Reds, oranges, pinks seep into the cotton
I sigh in wonder as the storm is forgotten

// Jeani

23 March 2017

28 things I am thankful for

1) I have a good family
2) I can go to school
3) I have a healthy body
4) Colour
5) My friends
6) I have a boyfriend
7) He thinks I'm great
9) I have a best friend in the form of my mum
10) Summer
11) The opportunity to grow mentally
12) Modern technology
13) My home
14) The education my parents have given me about living
15) Winter is going!
16) I've got a chance to start afresh next year at sixth form
17) The colour pink
18) Zara
19) Google and the answers for my homework that it gives me
20) My Claudia Tripp CD which arrived yesterday
21) The sun is shining today
22) The french language
23) Fear
24) David Tennant as the Doctor
25) Ed Sheeran's new album
26) I'm going to India
27) My FRIENDS box set
28) The number 28

 It's important to remember the good in your life, especially when you're feeling down. Challenge yourself to write a list of ten things you are grateful for everyday! There is so much good in the world, don't let it go unnoted.

// Jeani

14 March 2017

Equals // Excerpt from a story I'll never write

"ELLIE!" I froze. My reflection stared back at me in confusion as we tried to process the shout of my name from the street below. I furrowed my brows and tilted my head towards the window, hovering on the edge of my seat, heart hammering in my chest with confusion and fear. "ELLIE!" I knew that voice. "Oh no." I whispered as the flood of realisation hit me. I turned my head back towards the mirror and acknowledged my naked face and unwashed hair in horror as laughter erupted from the street. "Shit."

I could just ignore it... Defying all my instincts, I slowly rose from my stool and tiptoed towards the window in a low crouch before peering through my cotton curtains, hidden behind my bedroom wall. I drew in a breath as I saw the gang of boys on the pavement opposite my house: red caps facing backward, monster cans resting on the handles of their £10 scooters, adidas jogging bottoms hanging just a little too low. You know the type: think they're invincible, don't have a single functioning brain cell, arseholes by blood, bored and irritating. My 13 year old self was terrified.

As I stood, back pressed against the wall, I longed to hear the roar of my mum's car bump up to the drive or the blare of the television in the living room below to indicate that my dad was home, but nothing. Deafening silence. Deafening silence and the continuous, manic laughter from the boys who had now chosen to perch themselves on the curb of the pavement, waiting like crows for dead meat. Try to understand: my thirteen year old self was confused, self-conscious and a little too excitable for her own good, so when this situation presented itself to me, I was conflicted; I could just ignore them, but I knew if I waited much longer they would start throwing stones or calling me up just to freak me out. Plus, there was a small spark of excitement in the pit of my stomach that was urging me to go out and see what it was they wanted.  Ten seconds must have passed, but it felt like ten years had gone by while I stood by my window observing the boys who had chosen to annoy me on what was supposed to be a relaxing sunday morning. I sighed, dropped the curtain, sat back on my stool and surrendered to the inevitable by picking up my mascara brush and starting to apply.

In hindsight, I realise that we were more alike than we had assumed. At 13, we were both confused and frightened by a world where people judged you whatever you did. My perseverance and creativity was heavily mocked and criticised, which, despite my outward appearance of nonchalance, left me feeling scared and a little lonely. Their lazy attitudes and stupid hats were mocked but their embarrassment resurfaced in the form of anger and defiance, leaving us both frightened and confused. I knew they wanted me to be frightened, I knew they were the cause of my distress, I knew that I was an easy target, but I didn't know why. Perhaps we related to each other.

As I sat on my stool, I played over their teasing and mocking and humiliating in my mind and felt myself getting angry. They had no right to be here! I put down the mascara brush and looked myself in the eye. What the hell was I doing? I didn't need to be frightened of them! I pictured the scene: I would run downstairs and fling the door open, my face would be composed as I walk across the street, pause in-front of him then punch him in the jaw. There would be uproar. I would hear their shouts fade behind me as I walk away feeling powerful and satisfied, an equal. I smile.

I jumped off the stool and ran down my stairs, tripping over my own feet. I flung the door open. The shouts and sarcastic claps began to erupt as I took a few steps forward. My face was composed as I walked across the street and looked him in the eye. I stopped in front of him. For a moment, there was silence. I felt everyone draw in a breath as I stood there, frozen. I was so tempted, I could almost see the bruise and the tears welling up in his eyes. My hand itched; it would be so easy to do it, I could have the final say after all this time. Maybe I just wanted an end to this, because before I knew it, I was holding out my hand. A flicker of confusion passed across his features and he hesitated. Suddenly, he smiled and he held out his own hand. As I feel my hand hold his as we shake, the torment we put each other through is shared between us and acknowledged for the first time. Equals.

// Jeani

I hope you enjoyed this piece of creative writing based on an event from my life. Writing this put the whole situation at rest for me and helped me understand myself a little better. Thank you for reading!

25 February 2017

River of Life // Verbal Spill

So, it's nearly March. In a normal year I would probably say "blimey look how time flies, I can't believe it!" and then carry on with my day. This is not something I can do in 2017.

Every day is one day closer to my upcoming exams and that makes it very easy to feel like I'm being swept away in an ocean of paper and ink towards the inevitable. It's terrifying. It feels like I have no control, as if time is whizzing right past me and dragging me along with it.

My life is moving so quickly. I'm teetering on the edge of my future; my sixth form plans are in full motion which is leaving me excited but dizzy because the last thing I remember is walking into primary school for the first time. I'm still waiting for the day that looking in the mirror and seeing a fifteen year old ceases to shock me.

I know this is something everyone goes through, and I unfortunately know that this feeling is going to be mirrored in five years when I'm leaving university and teetering on the edge of a career. Nevertheless, it feels like I'm being pulled through rapids on a river and it doesn't matter what I try to hold onto I'm being pulled forward. I suppose that's just the passage of time.

Today I visited a wood where I used to go as a child. I reminded myself that the first time I came here was around eight years ago, which was a totally bizarre concept. The reason for that is, after all this time, everything is the same. The trees are the same shade of green, the pathways created by dog walkers remain, the length of the grass is still the same and the sky is the same shade of grey. It reminded me that although my life is charging full speed ahead, some things just don't change. This was my one thing to hold onto on my river and for one moment, a beautiful moment, this kept me stationary.

My entire life is changing and constantly morphing into something new, something different, and that's okay! My hair is darker, I'm taller, my face is thinner, my heart is full of more love than it ever has been, my life is more complicated than ever and yet it's as simple as it ever will be. But the roads I walk down, the shop I buy my sweets from, the building on the corner that was once a hairdressers but now isn't - these things will always be there. I can always rely on the world around me to stay, it might change, but it's always going to be here.

I think my message for today is this: you've got to go with the flow of your own  river of life, I know it might sometimes seem like it controls you or pulling you forward, but it's the one thing that's keeping you moving!

Maybe this post has been a ramble, but it helped me think at least

// Jeani

6 February 2017

Lost chances // poem // Verbal Spill

A never-changing photograph
Tinted so lightly with colour
But mostly monotonous gray scale
Like the crease of an old crumpled dollar

Change brought excitement and hope
My life was moving so quickly
I refused to be one who chose to mope
Then plans were painted over so thickly

Bubbling joy and suppressed excitement
Just going for the ride and the chance
But a single second of experience
Made my heart want to grapple for more than one glance

Daydreaming and thinking
Suddenly I want nothing more
How can only a week have gone by?
When it seems like years have passed over my door

I told myself I would not take the blow too hard
I guess truth be told I always knew it was coming
Yet disappointment sits lodged in my heart
The image is gone of what life was becoming

I try to convince myself of the positives
I always knew the situation seemed strange
All I can do now is accept the obvious
Life will go on as if nothing has changed.

// Jeani