How to be productive over the school holidays

Jul 3, 2019 | 0 comments

You’re a few days from having another term under your belt and one step closer to finishing high school!

But before you bust out What Time Is It from HSM 3, let’s talk about how you can make the most of these school holidays.




Firstly you deserve a break! Make plans with your friends, binge that Netflix series that you’ve been waiting all term to watch, and sleep in a little (or a lot). 


But you can’t neglect your studies completely over the break. So here’s our advice to prevent you from rocking up on the first day of term three and realising you didn’t do any of the work that you were supposed to. 


Term three is probably the hardest of all four terms. You’ve internals coming out of your ears, mock exams to prepare for (yes you should prepare for mocks), and final exams to start preparing for.


So, use this as your survival guide for acing term three. A guide that starts… right about now!




Get over the fact that you have to do work


Ten-second pity party. Go! 





Great now that that’s over let’s get on with it. You can’t dwell on the fact that you have to do work over the break. Think about it, your parents probably have their laptops out checking their work emails while they’re “on holiday” and University students usually have their biggest assignments due right after their semester breaks. So, if we’re being honest here, you’ve probably got many more years of doing work when you’re supposed to be on holiday- it’s just the nature of the beast and it must be done. 


Instead, be grateful that you don’t have to sit in that hour-long class that you hate and you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy!



Write a list of what you want to achieve by the end of the holidays.


Be realistic. What will you actually be able to get done over the holidays? Do you have an internal due first week back that you’d like to get a full draft completed? Or is there a test that you should be studying for?





Whatever it is you need to be working towards, set times when you think you’ll actively work towards that. Get out your tattered school diary and think about when you’re most likely to get a bit of work in.


Factor in all your fun stuff first. You might be heading away with your family for a few days or have a hangout planned with your friends. Pop all this stuff in first so you can get some work done when it’s convenient for you. This way you’re not lugging your textbooks around with you or ditching school work all together. 




Don’t put it off 


Advice to actually get work done during the holidays? 




Try treat your holiday like a study break by waking up at a consistent time. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting to turn off all your alarms once the holidays start, but sometimes it’s good to set an alarm just so you’re not a couch zombie until 3pm. Utilise those AM hours for study so it’s out of the way and you can get on to enjoying your day. While everyone functions differently and there is no ‘best’ time to study, your brain tends to be sharpest in the morning so it’s a good time to crack that textbook open. 


Maybe you’ll set aside an hour in the morning on a couple of days to get that work done, or your friends will hit the library for a full day and pump it out together. Whatever you decide, plan it so that you don’t put it off.  

Don’t leave all your work until the day before term three because there’s a high chance you won’t want to spend your last day of freedom cramming in your bedroom. Likewise, don’t plan to get everything done at the start of the holiday’s because let’s be real, you won’t want to wake up at 7am on your first day of the holidays just so you can work on an assignment that’s not due for another two weeks.



Attend a holiday study session


It’s hard to hold ourselves accountable when there’s no immediate consequences. Just think about how much you procrastinate when you’re at school and your teacher’s constantly reminding you about your homework. Well, when you’re on holiday you have to be even more disciplined with your work and motivate yourself. 



One way of doing this could be to attend a holiday study session. Studying with others means you’ll be expected to turn up and (hopefully) get some valuable work in. 


If you’re based in Wellington and you’re in year 12 or 13 come along to StudyTime’s NCEA study sessions on the 17th & 18th of July. These holiday workshops are a ‘pick n mix’ of all the Level 2 and 3 content so you bring your questions for any of the subjects your taking and our trained tutors will help you figure it all out. Register here.


If you’re not based in Wellington keep an eye out for our Holiday workshops in the term three holidays but for now gather your peeps and start a study workshop of your own. 


If you manage to set up a study workshop with your friends but you’re all just as confused as each other, write a list of questions you have and ask your teacher once the term starts up again. Otherwise, post any questions on the StudyTime NCEA help Facebook page. Our tutors might be able to help.




Find a cool study spot



Sometimes all it takes to get motivated is to find a cool place to study. 


Get outdoors and study in a nearby park, or go to the local gardens to mix things up. Don’t just sit in your room and study because you’ll only want to jump back in bed or watch a movie instead. 


If the weather is bad utilise the public library, a friends house, or go to a cafe and buy yourself a treat while you study. By mixing up your study environment, it’ll feel less like a chore. 


If you live in Auckland or Wellington check out some of StudyTime’s recommended study spots.







Being productive in the school holidays doesn’t just mean getting work done. Decluttering your room is one way of making your workspace more study-friendly and getting ready for a fresh start in term three.




By having a clean room, you’ll be less distracted when it’s time to sit down and pump out that essay. Plus, your mum will totally appreciate you taking out all those cups and plates you’ve been collecting.




Read some StudyTime articles (shameless plug)


Get inspired! Take a break from Netflix and instead watch educational YouTube videos or Ted Talks. By watching things that really excite you you’ll remind yourself why you’ve got to do the work now. Whether you’re an enviro-hero, or you want to be the next Elon Musk think about what you’re consuming these school holidays and whether they’re actually inspiring you and challenging you. 

Or if you feel like a bit of light reading, there’s always our StudyTime articles and videos. 



Here’s a few which are great to read this time of the year:


3 reasons to study for mock exams 

5 ways to be productive these holidays

Wholesome half hour Kicking off term three




Remind yourself WHY you’re at school and why you have to study

  At this point in the year it’s easy to lose motivation and start forgetting why you even have to study for these stupid internals and exams. Make sure these holiday’s you think about the bigger picture.   




You might just think you have to go to school so you can get good grades, go to uni, and one day get a good job but there’s more to it than that. School teaches us:  

  • How to learn – so you continually learn throughout life.
  • Adaptability – the world is constantly changing and so if you learn how to learn, you can be adaptable to that change. You can also be more adaptable to other people – at work, socially and just in general.
  • Current events – ‘understanding the world around you’ and ‘where you fit in the world’. 
  • How to tell what’s truth and not truth – the difference between when an opinion is true or false – or critical thinking.
  • How to commit to something – to manage a project, to go through the process and successfully complete something – that’s why schools give out assignments. Getting the blueprint on how to succeed at a project/task.
  • How to create systems to make life better/easier – Seeing opportunity for change and having the skills to create that change.

  Remind yourself why you’re at school by writing down things that inspire you. E.g. what are your life goals/ passions/and potential career paths. For more on finding the point of school check out the article we wrote here.   



Go and do it!



Follow these hot tips and your future self will thank you for it! For real though, once you walk out of that last examination in term four, you’ll be able to look back at what you did now. You’ll think back to how you followed these steps and maximise your mid term holidays so you could skip on into your Summer holiday guilt free.


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