Mark Doyle, Head of Science and Technology
We are already halfway through our Term 2 Exam Study Program for all students in Years 7-10 and the MSS Examinations are only 3 weeks away.
I have been really impressed by the student action on this project and have been delighted to see the Weekly Planners from students in all Year levels over the last few weeks. I encourage you to engage in conversations with your child about how their study plan is progressing and how they are feeling in the lead-up to the examinations in Week 6.
We hope that we are enabling our students to learn some effective study techniques and good habits prior to assessments, and by doing this also help try to reduce the stress and anxiety around the examinations. So, please keep encouraging your daughters and sons to stick to their planners and to keep going.
As a reminder of our study program, please see an outline of the strategies we are using and also the tips for how you can support your child with their study, at home. At this stage, it is really important that they are testing their knowledge and understanding by practising exam-style questions. They can do this effectively by following the ‘Deliberate Practice’ technique, shown below.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me or your child’s Homeroom teacher, if you have any questions about this program.
Each week, the Year 7-10 Homeroom teachers provide our students with a blank Weekly Planner for them to complete:
Students will create their weekly planner, every week for the first 5 weeks of Term 2, during Homeroom, in 3 easy steps:
How to Study:
1. The Pomodoro Method:
Each 2 Hour study session should be broken up into 4 x 30-minute sections:
Each section is made up of:
20 minutes: Work/ Study
10 minutes: Break.
For each of the 4 x 30-minute blocks, write a list of tasks to complete.
An example would be:
1. Note Making: make study notes on a topic.
2. Review Study notes.
3. Attempt some past paper questions on this topic and correct them (deliberate practice).
4. From the corrections, look at areas for improvement and add these to the study notes.
They can tick off 1 task, for each 30-minute block
2. Note Making vs. Note Taking:
Note Making is writing information in your own words.
This is important because putting the information in your own words forces you to THINK about what you are learning and to write in a way YOU understand.
This is proven to be more effective than copying from a textbook or website.
You must increase your thinking time, to increase your understanding.
3. Deliberate Practice:
This is how to effectively practice answering past exam-style questions about the topic you are revising.
Remember the aim is to pass an exam, therefore, you need to practise answering questions just like in the exam.
Over the next 5 weeks try the following sequence:
Week 1: Open book, open time: you have access to notes and no time restrictions for the questions.
Week 2: Closed book, open time: no notes this time but, still no time limit!
Week 3 and 4: Closed book, closed time: Replicating exam conditions of no notes and in a restricted time.
i.e. 1 mark = 1 minute. So, for a question worth 5 marks limit yourself to 5 minutes to read the question and write your answer and see how you go.
Week 5: Review and rectify: Time to think about what you need to change and/or revise again before the exam.
Maybe try those hard questions again, did you improve?
Week 6: Exams start.
Study Tips for Parents:
Here is how you can help your child at home with their new study routine:
Please make sure your children share their weekly planners with you
Display the planner in a public place at home.
Encourage them to stick to their plan
Don’t give up! If they miss a day, it’s okay, just start again tomorrow.
If they manage to do 75% of this plan, then that is a great effort and they will see a benefit!
Be flexible, is 2-hours too long? maybe 1-hour sessions work better for you?