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A Testing Time for our Athletes and Exam Students

07 November 2014

Practice and preparation is one of the cornerstones of our High Performance Learning philosophy and there has been plenty of evidence of it around the school this month.

  • FOBISIA Team from the British International School Shanghai, Puxi

Our teams for the U15 FOBISIA Games

Sadly the weather got the better of us again this week so that our Year 9 and 10 students lost the chance to compete in our sports morning which is a shame as our students and the PE department put a huge amount of effort in preparing these events.  

There has been intensive training for our swimmers, footballers, athletes and basket ballers who have been preparing for the prestigious Under 15 FOBISIA Games which we are hosting from Sunday through to Tuesday. I wish all our athletes well in this event and it will be great to welcome schools from around Asia to our site to meet our friendly students, staff and parents. It is great to see a lot of support from our parent community (as always) in welcoming parents from the other schools and helping us organise the event. I am looking forward to a fabulous few days of competition.

Practice and preparation of another kind is even more important for our Year 11 and Year 13 students in the next few weeks. While academic lessons are on-going we are also heading into the mock exam season which takes place in the last week of November. Just like our athletes, our students should take this as a chance to put into practice the preparation and techniques they have been learning to get the best possible results. The mock exams look to copy the real exam situation that the students will face next summer as much as possible, so that they know what to do, how it feels and are able to plan and prepare in the correct fashion. 

In the next few weeks we need our students to treat the mocks like the real event. It was great to see an assembly in Year 11 today done by 11P on revising and dealing with stress. The assembly gave excellent tips on revising using a mixture of their notes, textbooks, online revision sites and games and working with their friends, family and teachers to ask questions and fill in gaps in their knowledge.

Organisation is key. Knowing your notes, constantly revising them by breaking them down into revision cards and saying things out loud is important for a student’s brain to cope with the repetition of learning. Students should have a file or book for each subject and have a specific page dedicated to tips about how to deal with particular question styles and exam technique. At these stress points in the year, exams make students do silly things under pressure. Have a checklist of things you need to remember specific to each subject. Each exam is an important experience for students to know how to prepare as much as possible.

Students should have a realistic but challenging revision timetable so that they have dedicated time for all of the subjects. The timetable should make sense around the exam schedule, which were handed out to Year 11s today. At home, students need to make an uncluttered space in their room to make revision as easy as possible and free from distraction – turn off Skype, music, mobile phones, all social networking apps and non-revision websites. Quiet concentration and thinking time takes discipline but reaps rewards.

Parents, you can help by asking if your children are doing all of the above but also by checking that the students are getting enough breaks, giving them praise for revising well and, hugely importantly, making sure they are getting enough sleep. A student planning and preparing for mock exams is just like an athlete preparing for a big event and, done well, it means that the students will know what works, it will give them a chance to make silly mistakes (and to learn from them) and fine tune their performance before the crucial event (the real exams) at the end of the school year. Sadly some students and parents do not realise how important mocks are. However if you do not do well in the mocks this will be a sign to our teaching faculty that extra steps may be needed to help and push our students to succeed.  There are definite consequences to not being prepared in the next few weeks so please talk with your children and help them prepare.

Students in any year group know that testing as an inevitable fact of life and that is why it is important to prepare properly. With this mentality our high performance athletes and students will ultimately end up achieving their personal best – results they can be proud of.

Have a good weekend and I hope to see you at the FOBISIA Games.

- Chris Share, Head of Secondary