Student Life

Ambassador Stories: High school secrets from a grade 8 average student

4 min
October 27, 2021
The past five years have been a roller-coaster of events, we've had to contend with some pretty big things! - and they’ve also been a journey for me as a student. When considering the future of their education, I believe it’s important for students to have a sense of productivity, organisation and motivation, as these principles are key to our future endeavours. So, what exactly pushed me to get through secondary school and pass with an average grade 8 score? Let’s find out...

Set out your goals 

Goals can be as simple or as difficult as you want. Create goals that you can monitor, track and feel inspired by! 

- Short term goal: a goal that can be completed in a short space of time, say in less than a month. Short term goals ensure that you remain productive and retain efficiency! (For example: I want to do well on the mock test next week.)

- Long term goal: a goal to be completed in the long term, say in more than six months. Long term goals are meant to be big, ambitious goals that cant be achieved overnight. They may be made up of multiple short term goals. (For example: I want to achieve an A in English.) 

Top tip: assign a reward to each goal you wish to complete. This will ensure you’re motivated to stay on track to complete your goal.

Know the difference between ‘revision’ and ‘revision material’           

As a student, we’re often told to ‘revise’ - but what actually is ‘revision’? From one student to another, here’s my definition:

  • Revision = this is an active process and should include re-visiting old content. Revision should be completed using revision material you’ve produced. A whole host of things can count as revision, such as checking, reading, looking over, covering or answering old material/questions.                                                                                                                              
  • Revision material = this is the stuff you’ll use to revise, like flashcards, summary sheets, mind maps and so on. You should use revision material to prepare for the revision tasks you do.

Top tip: make sure you have the right revision materials. Write a list of all the revision material you’re going to make for every subject you’re revising.

Making good habits 

Habit-building isn’t just a short term solution but a long term one, too! Any habits you integrate into your everyday life should ensure that your daily tasks are completed as efficiently and smoothly as possible. 

Types of habits to build:

  • Making your bed every day
  • Having a solid morning routine
  • Setting frequent goals  (long and short term ones)
  • Making effective notes in class 
  • Sticking to your revision timetable.

Write down your current habits, the habits you wish to keep and the habits you wish to drop. This will help you outline the changes you want to make and can help you form a structure to maximise your efficiency and perfect your routine.

Top tip: write down your current morning/night routine. Highlight the habits you always complete, the ones you sometimes complete and the ones you rarely complete.

Examiner wants, examiner gets! 

Knowing what the examiner wants is hard... especially if you can’t read minds. Telepathy’s too difficult, try these simple solutions instead: 

  • Looking at marked past papers - if it’s been marked, you’ll know what’s correct and will have everything you’ll ever need. Read over the questions and analyse how the answers pinpoint all available marks given.
  • Create a structure - once you’ve looked at model answers, analyse how multiple model answers are structured. Create a ‘template’ that you’d be able to use in your next exam.

Top tip: create flashcards from the marked past papers! Any simple one two- 1 or 2 mark questions can be made into question flashcards and longer essay questions can be summarised into summary sheets. 

Time management 

There are only 24 hours in a day and seven seven days in a week and as a student, it’s critical to fit everything in! How? The following:

  • Revision timetables - these can be super effective for creating a schedule surrounding the revision you’ll do. Map out the subjects you'll be doing each night and spend some time mapping out the subjects that need more consideration.
  • Daily to-do lists - listing just five things each day may help boost your productivity! It's helpful to tick off tasks you've done and may even motivate you even more! 

Top tip: make sure to take breaks between revision sessions to help boost your productivity! 

The revision strategy that always helped me is… 

1. Write a list of all the topics you need to revise.

2. Rate all of the topics using the RAG rating system (red, amber, green) 

  • Red - you don’t know much about this topic and it needs revising the most 
  • Amber - you have some knowledge of this topic, but it still needs revising 
  • Green - you’re confident on this topic - it doesn’t need much revision.

3. Start revising the topics marked red

  • First, create revision material (such as summary sheets, flashcards, etc). Next, use active revision to practice recall (such as blurting, exam questions). 

4. Start revising the topics marked in amber and green 

5. RAG rate all topics after all revision has been completed 

6. Optional. Revisit revision materials made for red and amber topics two weeks after your first revision session. 

Conclusion 

To conclude, I believe the most important thing you need to succeed in school is self belief! Having the ambition and determination to reach your short and long term goals can empower you to achieve even more! Focusing on your own progress and wanting to improve the current version of yourself is key!

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