In recent times a very peculiar question has been asked by all the employers during an interview “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”. It’s a dummy question now, more like a formality, it may or may not be a decision making factor for your selection, however it’s a question of popular choice. What is the interviewer trying to access from this question? Firstly, they want to catch you off guard and test whether you are interested in being in the company for a long time or you have any alternate plans other than the job that you are applying for. Secondly, they want to test your planning skills. They want to check if you are ambitious enough to understand your own career path and whether you have mapped out your career for the next five years at least. A vague answer may cost you your job, but a well thought of answer may increase your chances of bagging it for good. Well, candidates are smart too. They just learn the answer, prep for it, even if they are simply looking to get the training for six months and move to a better job. The whole point is - planning is essential. You plan to grow with this company or switch to the next. It’s all a part of your own plan.
Planning plays a very crucial role in a person’s life. As a child, as an adult too. If you plan and move forward with anything, your success rate has definitely increased. Who would not want to take that chance where the odds are completely in your favour? Plan and be on the path towards your goal, even if it’s one step, it’s a step forward. If there is no plan in place, either you are just where you are right now or you are a step backwards, because those with a plan have moved forward. Epiphany much!
Question for parents - As an adult how did you learn your innate attributes? They all stem from your childhood and practically from what you were taught in school. Punctuality, discipline, generosity, hard work, planning, etc. are some of the things that are rooted in the values that we grow up with. These are some practical aspects that need to be inculcated in a child while growing up. Hand holding will go only so far. Hand hold and get your child to pave their own way ahead.
Students planning a whole year of studies can seem like a tedious task, but the educational systems make it easy by declaring all the subjects and the credit systems at the beginning of your academic year. Thus, half of the planning is already in place, you just have to rearrange and reorganise. Let’s try to analyse how it can be done step by step.
Step 1: Understand and study the difficulty levels of the subjects that are going to be taught in the year.
The school has drafted the plan for the year. And it is a structured plan from Year 1 to A level. The subjects are known and you know when exactly you have to face those subjects. What you have to do at the beginning of the year, is try to check and understand whether or not you have any knowledge whatsoever about those topics. What is the credit system going to be like? Maybe, it would be helpful to understand who will be teaching those subjects and you can directly reach out for a head start. Check with your peers on how would they rate the levels of difficulty. This will give you a broad understanding of what is coming your way.
Step 2: Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Now you know the subjects already and you know when exactly you have to study them, you need to figure out your own weaknesses and strengths. This will help you figure where you need to pay more attention and where your time can be saved. This will also give you a fair idea to figure out, which are the subjects where you will need extra help from your teachers, from your parents or from extra classes. Once you are aware of this, there won’t be any difficult surprises. `Planning is half the battle won`, as was rightly said. If there are some subjects in the last term which are super tough for you, you can add a few extra classes before the last term to be prepped with the subject knowledge well in advance.
You also need to figure your extra-curricular activities. If those activities are helping you achieve the extra credit and are taking you forward towards your goal, you need to plan them and prioritize them along with your study prep. Anything that you are good at should not be neglected, it should be further polished.
This step is crucial for entrance exams such as 11 Plus, STEP, BMAT, UCAT etc or regular exams like GCSE and A levels
Step 3: Prepare a handwritten plan and follow it with at least 90% hit rate
There is a remarkable difference between a hand written plan and the one we make digitally. I am all for digital, but when I have to do something that I really want to follow, I prefer a pen/ pencil and a paper. It’s a proven fact that when you write something yourself it tends to stick in your memory for a longer time. When it comes to planning your studies, it’s important that you remember exactly what you are writing. Also handwritten scripts are better because your flow is uninterrupted, there are no spell checks and your plans don’t really need those.
It’s not possible to follow your plan 100%, but if you can follow the 90 -10 rule it will be exceptional. Stay 90% committed to the plan and if you miss the 10% its fine. Consistency is always the key. Try to be consistent at least for a whole month.
Step 4: Update and Finalise
Feedback is always important. Once you check out your plan for a month you ask yourself what was easy and which parts of your plan didn’t work. Modify the plan accordingly and finalise it. Make copies of your plan and stick it in all the places that can remind you.
All the best!