I had some amazing news last night, my daughter confirmed her degree results; she has achieved her first class degree in journalism.
How proud we are as parents and how wonderful it has been to watch her grow. My husband and I left her in London just under 3 years ago, a little scared and hugely apprehensive to begin her university journey. It was a very emotional day but we were sure she would ‘do alright’.
She has, like many students, faced many challenges over the last 3 years. Especially with the issues around the pandemic, lockdowns and the inability to actually come home. However throughout all of that time, on down days and times when she felt it was such a huge undertaking she never once took her eyes off the goal. She reminded herself constantly why she was doing it and that the consistent steady approach would win through in the end, which of course it has.
Her view has always been ‘What’s the point of turning up for an exam unless you believe you can get 100%. Put the effort in now and make it the best one yet!’
For Grace the next steps are securing an internship in her chosen field of journalism, but as we approach the end of yet another academic year many students’ thoughts are turning to their next steps. Once the summer is over they will return to school or move on to university. Whatever their choice there is more work ahead.
At Mallorca Tutoring Academy we have seen some outstanding results from the students we have helped over the years, our message to everyone is of course enjoy some well deserved rest in the summer but keep in view you will be returning to school in September and therefore don’t let your focus and determination during the next few weeks slip away. Be prepared to return to school effectively and with confidence.
It’s a marathon not a sprint!!
Ongoing and continued practise even in the summer are the key to success. Research has shown losing academic ground during the summer months or “summer learning loss.
So, like any skill, it is about proper planning and preparation - If you sat and watched me teach a class on running, and you understood 100% of everything I said, but you weren’t actually actively running, would you feel comfortable going out for a 10km run on Saturday? How about a 3km run?
What if you showed up for my coaching sessions every week, diligently listening to what I said, and running on the track for a half hour a few times a week. Would you be comfortable going out for a 3 or a 10 km run now?
How about if you put off all your practise until the day before you were going to do the 10km or the 3km run. Could you run now?
Effective studying is a lot like running. Students need to practise the subject over a sustained time to be able to really do it.
This will mean a structured support programme which includes disciplined self-study and often some effective coaching, mentoring or tutoring.
To perform at a 3 or 10km study event -- an exam, an IGCSE, A level or Selectivdad means regular extended practise. This is why we recommend students practise every day in the key areas they want to develop further. Tutoring is about building skills. You can’t skip one part and still be able to do the rest. Later material depends on earlier material. So a daily routine of practise is vital.
Just like with running, students are better off spreading out their practise. If you know that your child struggled last year, why do you think it will have changed, especially now!!
Little and often is the key.
As for the students themselves here are my top tips to make the next set of study time effective and rewarding.
Take good notes in class. Getting all the main points and making them as detailed as time allows. Writing clearly so they can be read later with written examples, case studies and other specific details. Finally, if there’s anything that’s unclear, don’t just leave it.
Review your notes quickly after each lesson making revision cards as part of an ongoing, long term revision programme. No homework from the subject doesn’t mean no work.
Get into the right zone physically and mentally. Find a great study spot that is quiet, has enough light, is clutter-free and doesn’t have distractions like TV, computer or phone. Plan the year ahead month by month and understand what is needed to be done to ensure that their study time is effective.
Breaks are a necessity, not a luxury. However you need to be realistic - about 1 hour of study to 15 minutes of break seems to be the norm. Make sure the break is going to help the brain - this means doing something completely different to studying (i.e. not reading). Getting outside is good because some fresh air and sunshine wakes up those weary brain cells.
Review, practise, repeat and link to learning style. Review notes from class, what’s in the text book and finally write out new study-specific notes. These should be summaries that help recall more in-depth knowledge at a later date. Getting friendly with bullet points, headings, highlighting, different coloured pens, page tabs and anything else that makes notes both organised and engaging.
Once a student has succinct study notes it’s time to actually get that information off the page and into their memory. Auditory learners (these students learn best when they hear things) should read notes out loud or record their voice and play it back.
Visual learners should use drawings, mind maps and diagrams.
Kinaesthetic learners (learning from physical actions) should review their notes while doing something active – walking around the room or throwing a ball. Engaging multiple senses really gets the brain working. For the complicated bits, memory-joggers like acronyms or acrostics are great.
Practise recall in context. Practise, practise, practise. Recalling the information and putting it into the context of an actual written exam, doing the exercises from text books or some practice papers and questions.
We do recommend that students practise in exam conditions - time limits and creepy silence included!
All that’s left is to keep reviewing their notes, doing practice exams and building a set of revision cards over the medium to long term!
So in summary for all students MTA promotes focussed practise, steady and regular reviews leaving nothing to chance.
Remember, there is no substitute for starting early, building an effective study programme and not leaving everything until there is no time left.
We are open throughout the summer to help you.