The end of the Easter holidays is a vital time for young people sitting examinations in May and June. Yet many will be missing the opportunity to make the most of their efforts, writes Andrew Foster, Tougher Minds Head of Education.
We are all familiar with the idea of “Sunday evening dread” and many pupils, and dare I say it teachers, will be experiencing it as the new term looms, with examinations following in a few short weeks.
However, we need to carefully consider what took place in our holiday if we are to maximise the benefit of that revision. Many young people ruefully joke about their failure to stick to their revision timetable, but we should not fall into the trap of black and white thinking. Things are neither totally poor nor completely perfect, which is why Tougher Minds encourages participants in its programmes to think about a P2 Scale from 1 to 10. Where were you at?
My advice to those studying for examinations, as well as parents and teachers, is to set some time aside *now* to reflect on how well the revision timetable was followed. Find out what worked and what didn’t, what strategies to avoid procrastination had most impact. What aspects of the subjects being revised are we most confident about, and where do we need to direct more attention?
The better and more detailed a picture we have of what has just occured, the better placed we are to direct our time and resources between now and not just the first exam but the last exam. Pupils of mine that have gone through this reflection process have credited it with being a major part of their eventual success in their exams, at both GCSE and A Level.
Common sense? Perhaps. But not common practice. Saving, stretching and salads are all common sense – but how many of us are happy with how much we “do” of each?
My hope is that this blog proves a prompt for people to take some time to reflect on the past two to three weeks. Draw confidence from the successes you’ve had that might otherwise have been forgotten, and start planning to make amends where things have not gone as you may have wished.
I am really looking forward to the Improve Exam Success event on Thursday 21st April when we will be sharing more insight about how to meet the exam challenges we face this summer. Great efforts will be going in to GCSEs and A Levels across the country: supercharged by the Tougher Minds approach, they will be even more richly rewarded.