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For the lucky ones, here’s how to make the most of reading week

Because we all need the time to compose ourselves

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Some people think reading week is a waste of time.

These same people probably don't have to do hundreds of pages of reading every week or have to complete five assignments by Christmas.

Doing an English and History degree means I have to do just that. The constant pressure of having to do compulsory reading on top of planning answers to assignment essays has already started to get the better of me. However, with reading week coming up, I am absolutely looking forward to the time off from uni – partly because it means I can finally go home to London and see those I left behind, but mostly because I'll have time to actually get ahead of the massive workload I am currently faced with.

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Reflect on your work

One of the main benefits of having reading week is that it allows you the time to step back and reflect on what you've learnt so far. It allows you to fill in the blanks that are guaranteed to be there and get those answers from whoever it may be – lecturers, seminar tutors, course mates or even all of the above.

Make a schedule

Another thing reading week allows you is the freedom to plan your working schedule. This means you can actually allocate yourself time to work on an assignment or do that chapter reading you simply haven't been able to get around to yet. Managing your time properly is crucial to getting the most out of reading week, because nobody wants Monday to roll around again and still be in the same place they started.

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There's one, very important thing reading week also gives you. MORE SLEEP! As well as getting ahead of the academic game, you can give yourself the odd lie in or two (or three). Trust me, it will pay off! There's nothing worse than being too tired to do any work, saying you'll do it later and then suddenly it is deadline day and you scramble to submit an essay that will barely scrape a 2:2. Sleep is scientifically proven to improve memory, sharpen attention and increase creativity, so why wouldn't you do more of it?


Of course, use this reading week to catch up with a friend over coffee or watch a few episodes of that show you've been meaning to watch – leisure and free time is just as important as education. Just don't take the mick. Give yourself the time to relax and don't feel guilty about it, you need it! Learn to compromise. For every chapter of reading you do, watch an episode of that show, or something along those lines. By creating a (well deserved) balance between your work and your downtime, you will feel so much better and happier in yourself.

Reading week IS a blessing. Use it wisely and you will go far.