Stepping boldly into Year 13

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Term has started and once the sparkle has worn off its back to work! Why is it, that even though you’ve had 8 weeks holiday, it feels as though you’ve never been away? For teachers parent and pupils the old routine soon kicks in.

If you’ve obtained good AS results you probably feel as though the world is at your feet and you can move successfully onward and upward but if you didn’t the journey can seem a bit harder. It is a good idea to think carefully about what needs to change this academic year if you are to achieve your goal. This can be a bit painful because you have to be realistic but you also have to realise that you can make a difference. First you have to think about why you might not have achieved your desired grade: was it that you didn’t do enough revision, you didn’t know how to revise, you couldn’t remember anything when you got to the exam. here are some examples of things which might have gone wrong.

Student A got reasonable GCSE’s but found the step up to AS quite challenging. Student A found revision tricky and to be honest quite boring. ‘A’ found it difficult to start work and then when ‘A’ eventually got in the mood, couldn’t concentrate for more than about 5 minutes. Consequently ‘A”s As grades weren’t good.

In weekly sessions we looked at revision techniques which fitted in with ‘A”s method of working. It was agreed that revision would happen in short, sharp bursts and when study was occurring nothing else was allowed to interrupt. In our sessions I devised lots of hands on revision techniques to keep focus and lots of aural revision and testing. Coursework was also a challenge and I arranged supervised sessions so that ‘A’ had to stay on task. It wasn’t easy for ‘A’ but all the work was accomplished on time and the exams passed.

Student ‘B’ also had a short attention span but was also not good at time management. Instead of allocating the same amount of tine to each subject in the run up to the exams ‘B’ left everything to the last minute and then crammed like crazy for the first 2 exams on the timetable. The other exams followed close on the heels of the first two but there was no more time for revision! Result: good marks for the first 2 exams and then the results tailed off into the realms of E’s and U’s

Here time management and procrastination needed to be addressed and further work on improving concentration. It was a salutary lesson but highlighted what needed to be done in Year 13 to achieve improved results.

Lack of motivation is often a challenge too. If a student has not achieved the grades they wanted, self esteem takes a knock and it is difficult to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back down to work. Many students ask themselves ‘ why should they bother’ and sink into a slough of despondency. This is quite understandable and help is needed to persuade them that all is not lost. They need a light hearted approach to set some short term targets, a long term goal and need careful nurturing to help them achieve this.

Student ‘C’ had clever siblings and being the youngest was always being compared to them. Unfortunately, ‘C’ was not well motivated and so consequently didn’t do much work which was reflected in the end of term grades. When I first met ‘C’ the student was convinced that she was a hopeless case and would never achieve. ‘C’ had dreams though and with a dream we had something to work toward. Like many of the students I work with ‘C’ had a short attention span but lurking behind the rather devil may care attitude was a will to succeed, as long as it didn’t involve too much hard work. There were a lot of compromises which had to be made on both sides but grades slowly improved and with improvement came more confidence and the goals became more likely. Each week had a small target to be achieved and slowly we inched toward eventual success in the summer exams. Re building confidence takes time and sometimes a lot of patience and negotiation but that is the purpose of a mentor after all.

Achieving the best you can is so important and sometimes an adult from outside the family can chivvy and coax where someone with emotional ties to the student cannot. Understanding how the student learns and using years of experience of working with clients who are not feeling at their most confident helps. So if you need to get back on track, call for an informal discussion and discover what I might be able to do to help you feel more confident and more in control of your studies this academic year.