Playing the waiting game

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

It looks like a long hot summer but for many teenagers there are some clouds on the horizon. Those clouds are the looming results days. Adult thinking says that once the exams are over, they are done and dusted. You can’t  change anything so there is no point in worrying but this is easier said than done. For Year 11 students it must seem like an interminable wait until the end of August to knowhow they have done in their first public exams. For A level students the bar is even higher as their Higher Education rests on these results so parents should understand the worries niggling away at their offspring.

Year 11 pupils can improve their chances in sixth form by taking on some extra reading and preparing for their selected courses. It might sound like hard work but it will give them some background knowledge before they hit the classroom. The human brain loves to make connections with what it already knows so regard this period as priming the brain ready for action. Extra reading is always a good plan because no matter how effective technology is, it still requires the old fashioned skill of reading if you are to utilise the information on your iPad, laptop or phone. if teenagers can’t face reading the New Scientist, Scientific American, National Geographic, History Today, The Economist etc. etc.  choose some summer fiction reading. This will still help increase reading speed and vocabulary which will still be a good preparation for further education or higher education.

it might also be good to have Plan B in place in case there are some unexpected hic cups. For A level students this might involve REALLY considering a university that isn’t your first choice, considering a GAP year, considering a job.

For AS students you need to consider how you will change your game plan for resits. if you didn’t get the grade what do you need to work on? is it study skills, exam technique, concentration or something else. In my opinion there is no point in resitting using the same old techniques. it’s a little bit like pressing a button repeatedly on a computer; if it didn’t work the first time you need to press a different button! Find out which buttons you need to press now. I work mainly with Year 12 and 13 students doing exactly this. For some students the poor results are a reflection of too little work or too little effective work. Sitting in front of books is not enough. When you know how you work best your confidence builds and those elusive grades become within your grasp.

If poor results at GCSE are a problem a strategy is definitely needed from the beginning of Year 12 and for these students the main sticking points are usually organisation, time management, concentration and knowing where to start. To some it seems obvious that you start at the beginning and you finish at the end but for others the scale of the task is so overwhelming that they can’t see where to start and these pupils need early help in breaking tasks down into manageable chunks.

For the majority of students fear of failure is an unjustified, but nevertheless very real fear. Whatever the likely outcome the summer can be best spent thinking about the future so draw up a sun lounger, select a book or magazine from the pile and lose yourself to good effect in some sustained reading. If your worst fears ARE realised, don’t despair, help is at hand. In most cases a few well chosen study strategies or confidence building techniques can help you back on track.