For many of our students their CORE Fitness Education course is the first time they've studied since school. This can seem like a daunting prospect; the practical exam is often more appealing.
Fortunately there are many things you can do to prepare yourself for the academic side of your CORE course which will make walking back into a classroom feel as smooth as possible.
Below are five top tips to help you ease back in:
Tip 1: Break the information down
When you arrive at your CORE Fitness Education course you'll be given your manuals to study from. These manuals are massive; they contain all the information you'll need throughout your course and well beyond. They're an encyclopedic fortress!
It's impossible to take all of this information in straight away - it's too much. When you get your manuals, break the information down into smaller chunks rather than reading the whole thing. For Level 2 Anatomy and Physiology for example, break it down into: bones, joints, muscles, cardiorespiratory system etc. You could break those sections down even further and rather than "bones" just look at shoulder girdle and upper limb bones. Breaking the information down into bitesize chunks makes the task seem less overfacing and you're more likely to absorb the information.
Don't forget you've also got your e-learning resource to help too - familiarising yourself with this before the course begins will make you feel more prepared before you enter the classroom and help avoid that "out of my depth" feeling.
Tip 2: Do a small amount of studying everyday
Remember that night before your big school exam where you stayed up until midnight cramming, desperately hoping that everything you should have been learning over the last two years could be learnt overnight? That isn't how you're going to approach your CORE Fitness Education exams!
Doing some revision everyday will help you absorb the information long term and you'll stand a better chance of passing those written papers. Making your resources visible will help with this. You could put the rotator cuff muscles on Post-Its and put them near your kettle - then when you're making a cup of tea they'll be right there in front of you and you can revise them. You could put some of your notes on cue cards and then you can read all about the function of protein on the bus.
Little and often is the key to long term success.
Tip 3: Keep your study sessions brief
It's unrealistic to think you're going to slave away for hours revising. And it's not beneficial either - you just won't take the information in. Make small chunks of dedicated time and focus on your revision. Phone away and distractions removed, concentrate for around 25 minutes before taking a break; it's all your brain can handle. This technique is known as the Pomodoro technique (https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique) and is super effective at improving your concentration and productivity. It'll mean that when you're revising, you're actually revising, and you'll still be able to watch those procrastination cat videos in your five minute rest breaks.
Tip 4: Identify what kind of learner you are
Some people learn best by writing out information over and over again, some people like to mind map using lots of colour, some people are more kinaesthetic and will find learning the names of bones easier by sticking them on a willing volunteer.
Everybody's learning style is different, and you need to find yours in order to make your revision as productive as possible. Do you learn best by explaining it to someone else? Do you remember things better by making acronyms and mnemonics? I can remember every word to Spice Girls "Wannabe" and I know that I learn best through making little songs and ditties.
Reading and re-reading the information won't make it stick. What are you going to do with the information to make it more memorable?
Tip 5: Revise in a group
You have a ready made group of study buddies in your CORE Fitness Education class. Every one of your classmates will be sitting the written paper, so you're all in this together. You could use the lunch breaks on your course to revise key things, you could post in your course Facebook group and chat to each other to share knowledge and you could even swap numbers and meet up for revision days in between the weekend contact days.
Revision is much more fun when done in a group, rather than on your own. It's reassuring, you're less likely to procrastinate and you may be building contacts for your future fitness career.
Following these tips will make studying feel less over-facing and more of a pleasant experience. You'll feel more confident with the academic side of CORE and, after smashing those exams, be ready for whatever comes next.