This week Mr Brad Evans, Head of Senior School and Dr Julie Harris, Director of Teaching and Learning, will be presenting to the Year 11 and 12 cohorts on some practical tips and strategies to help them to achieve better results and manage the rigours and stresses of the examination period. Some tips are below:
All-nighters’ aren’t all-righters prior to exams
Fatigued brains do not retain or recall information well. Maintaining regular and reasonable sleep patterns throughout the examination period will ensure revision and study are consolidated effectively.
Action and activity are a great part of the exam routine
Exercise promotes blood flow to the brain and endorphins are important chemicals that assist in learning, energy and creative thinking. The temptation to log a considerable amount of hours planted at a desk hitting the books may be grounded in good intentions but will likely not be the best approach. Study sessions should be broken up and short walks (preferably outside) and regular sporting commitments should be maintained.
During busy times like exam periods the temptation to eat quick and convenient food and also overindulge in caffeinated drinks can leave you feeling exhausted. Low GI foods (whole grains, fresh vegetables and lean proteins) are essential, especially before the exam days themselves, as these will provide sustained energy through the duration of the exam rather than a sugar rush that sees students start strong and falter later. Planning ahead is really important, and maybe offering students the chance to pick out some of their favourite meals prior at the start of exam week might add a sense of comfort and assurance. There also nothing like a favourite meal to break up the study routine!
Be diligent with details
Unfortunately each year we do end up with one or two students who completely miss exams or arrive on the wrong days and times. Students need to be sure they are familiar with the timetable, venues and equipment that are required for exams. An extra copy of these for parents, which is placed in a central location like the fridge or family calendar, is a great extra fail safe to make sure the important details are remembered.
Change up styles
Just using one narrow focus over an extended period of time may not be the most beneficial approach. Plan to divide study days up into different subjects, and include a variety of activities such as memorising information, practice examination and re-reading course materials. A study plan and also a log of activities can be really helpful.
Silence social media
Turning off social media for the examination period is a great technique to maintain focus and reduce distraction. This will be difficult for some students and if this is the case rather than a complete block or ban, allow social media use for a limit period (e.g. an hour or two on weekends or 15 minutes a day) as a reward when set study tasks have been completed. Be wary though that “just for a minute” syndrome exists, where a 15 minute reward can end up being blown out as online catch-up occurs. Parents can greatly assist in monitoring in this regard.
We wish all of our Year 11 and 12 students well in their Semester 1 Examinations.