21 Nov Academic Update
Dear Parents / Carers,
As we near the end of another action-packed term at Chelsea Academy, the students have their busiest time ahead of them in the shape of their end of term exams. This can be a stressful time, however, students should approach it with a positive mindset. They should view these key assessments as an opportunity to show off how much they have learned over the course of the term and to reach a new level in terms of the certificates or grades they are achieving. The advantage with end of term exams is that even if things have not been plain sailing all term, if you put the necessary hours of revision in using the resources provided, you can still do really well. Please read the section on exam stress below for guidance on how to support your children with advice in this period.
Revision guides and end of term assessment fortnight
Here is a very brief summary to clarify what revision resources have been given to which year groups:
All Year 11 students were given free revision guides (an on-going initiative that Year 11 students have really appreciated in the past) on Wednesday 21st November, so these should be appearing in your households from now on, especially in the run-up to the mock exams.
Year 10 students will also be receiving free RE revision guides to help them to prepare for their mock exam, which will take place on Wednesday 12th December. Students should focus on revising the key areas highlighted by their teachers.
As previously mentioned, revision materials will be provided for all students in Years 7-10 by their teachers at least one week in advance of these key assessments. Often this will be shared using smarthomework.
Full details of exactly when Year 7-10 end of term exams will take place will be shared on the website by the end of next week. Many thanks to Ms Dhawan for putting all of that information together.
The key questions students should be asking to support them with their revision are:
- Exactly what do I need to revise?
- What resources do I need to revise?
- What strategies will help me to revise each subject (these may differ)?
This, again, is an excellent tool during revision time. Each pod is a bite-sized lesson across most of our GCSE courses available for students not only to listen to, but also to download onto their laptops or mobile phones. They are an excellent way to catch up, prepare or simply revise.
SAM Learning can add a quarter of a grade of progress for all students using the platform prior to their exams. Some guidance images are below but ultimately, students need to log in, choose their subjects and areas of focus and then complete tasks. THESE DO NOT NEED TO BE SET BY A TEACHER! Please encourage your children to log in and complete an hour per evening prior to their exams to support them in their performance.
Working towards exams can creating feelings of worry and being under pressure. However there are a range of things that you can do to help deal with the stress that you might be feeling…
- Keep it in perspective
Lots of people will tell you this, because it’s true – exams aren’t everything. Whatever happens in your exams, you can still be successful in life afterwards. So if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped, try to keep things in perspective.
Employers don’t just look at your exam scores. They’re just as interested in your attitude, your transferable skills and how well you’ll get on with other people.
Exam success doesn’t define you as a person. Everyone copes differently in different situations and there’s so much more to your personality than how well you can respond to an exam.
Think about how far you’ve come already. Stopping or failing exams at this point isn’t ‘throwing away’ your past success.
Once you’ve done an exam, try to forget about it. There’s nothing you can do about it, and worrying won’t change your mark.
- Get that organised feeling
Picture your exams as a time-bound project. Are the exams 60 days away? That’s your 60-day challenge. Best of all, there’s a definite end point.
Work out the basics: which exams you have, how the marks are allocated, and how much you have to learn for each one. Don’t expect to learn everything; but having in mind where you’ll get the marks can help you prioritise.
Break your revision down into small chunks, and form a plan. Once you’ve got a plan, you won’t have any more dilemmas at the start of the day about what to work on.
Schedule in plenty of free time to unwind, and protect this time. Nobody can work all day every day. If you give yourself plenty of rest you can do the same amount of work in half the time or less.
Equally, don’t panic if you go slightly off schedule – tomorrow is another day.
- Get into some good habits
These habits will help you concentrate as well as reducing stress:
Take frequent breaks. Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. You could use a technique like Pomodoro, that helps you to take regular breaks. When you do take a break make sure you don’t stay at your desk, you could go for a walk or even just make a cup of tea!
Eat well. Keep a good blood sugars level to avoid highs and lows of energy, by eating slow-release foods like bread, rice, pasta, fruit and veg.
Drink lots of water. People often underestimate how much hydration helps!
Think about when and where you work best. Not everyone is a morning person, and some people don’t find the library a productive place to work. There’s no one best place or time to work – it’s about what works for you.
Keep active. Even a short walk will do. Exercising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to de-stress. Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up.
Try to get about 8 hours’ sleep a night. If you’re stressed about not being able to sleep, there are lots of ways to aid a good night’s sleep.
Find activities that help you relax. Maybe it’s a hot bath, watching a TV show, or a creative activity. Schedule this down-time into your timetable.
- Avoid bad habits
Check out this brilliant article on how NOT to cope with exam stress. Here are some highlights:
Don’t set yourself ridiculous goals. Nobody can revise 10 topics in a day! Avoid setting the day up to be a disappointment.
Don’t cut out all the enjoyment from your life. It’s tempting to decide you’ll just knuckle down to work and “focus”, but this is counterproductive – it’s impossible to focus without giving your brain rest by doing other activities.
- Get support from friends and family
Don’t be put off by friends saying that they are doing huge amounts of revision. As already mentioned, that’s probably not actually a productive or efficient way of working long term.
One of the key reasons people feel exam stress is due to comparing themselves to other people.
If you can, discuss with your parents what they are expecting you to achieve. Parents with steep or unrealistic expectations will just add unnecessary pressure. It’s helpful to let them know what you think you have the capacity to achieve, and to insist that the best way to get there is to have support from your parents, not pressure.
If you’re feeling really worried or anxious, chat to a good friend, family member, or your Learning Coach. It helps to get it out of your system, and they may well be able to help think about practical strategies to deal with exam stress.
Find out more about what we mean by the term stress and stress response here.
Acting Vice Principal – Curriculum