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Make 2021 Your Best School Year Yet

Start the Year Strong

If you start the year with strong practices and habits, then you need only focus on repeating them consistently to see yourself achieve your very best.

Here are the points from Ms Morgan’s video for you to read over and refer back to:

1. Prepare Your Study Space

• Just like a firefighter has their uniform, boots and safety equipment ready to be used at any given time, your preparation for study can ensure you are ready to get the greatest impact from the time you have.
• Does your study space have all your necessary equipment- pens, power cables, a dictionary, calculator, etc.?
• Ensure that you will be free of distraction by making sure your study space in NOT located near a TV or the busyness of the family room.
• Do you have your Study Planner displayed visually?
• Have you displayed your Assessment Schedule in an easy to see location?
• Include a timer – you won’t need to see the time if you are working to a buzzer?

2. Follow a Weekly Schedule to Create your Routine

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” Eleanor Roosevelt

A Weekly Schedule is your strategy for success. STRATEGY is simply a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action. Follow these tips when creating your Weekly Schedule:
• Block out sport and work commitments, travel time and family mealtimes.
• Allocate time before dinner to your homework.
• Allocate time after dinner to study and revision. This is not work set by a teacher, this is when you go over work completed in the classroom that day, week or earlier in the year.
• Use colour coding for each subject. This allows you to see what requires most of your attention in any given day.
• Use chunks of time, rather than one long slog!
• Schedule study time on the weekend too.
• Consider the timing – if you usually see friends on a Saturday evening, perhaps this can be your reward and motivate you to study from 1pm – 4pm.
• Include time to unwind – perhaps this is watching TV, reading a novel or listening to music.

3. Set, Display and Visualise your Goals

Remember, it’s not what we do occasionally that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently.

Elite athletes have been using this technique for decades. Recently, 19-year-old Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu defeated the greatest female player of her generation, Serena Williams. She spoke to the media of how each day over many years she visualised winning the US Open.
Forbes magazine recently printed that ‘people who vividly describe their goals in writing are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish them than people who don’t’.

• What do you hope to achieve? Are you aiming to top the grade this year? Perhaps you are aiming to achieve a minimum of a C grade in all your classes? Perhaps you are aiming to be offered a place in Engineering at university next year?
• Whatever these goals are, write them down! Seeing them will be a constant reminder to keep you motivated and stay accountable.

4. But How Do I Study?

Study is not homework. Study is also not simply ‘reading over’ the work completed in class. Try these techniques to improve your study:
• Summarise the chapter after you read it.
• Write your own exam questions and answer them the next time you study.
• Use mnemonics to retain information.
• Create flashcards and use these to quiz yourself. Once you have answered them, put them in 3 piles. The ones you answered correctly should be answered in 3 days’ time, the once you got wrong should be answered the next day, and the questions you could answer with some difficulty should be answered in 2 days.
• Handwrite. Studies show that the act of handwriting increases the ability to recall the information and commit information to long term memory.
• Test yourself. Answer questions and then correct them.
• Paraphrase – read your textbook or the teacher’s notes and rewrite them in your own words.

5. Seek Help and Guidance

You never fail, until you stop trying.” Albert Einstein

Remember you are not in this alone. Your parents, teachers and friends want to see you succeed too! As such, we are all willing to help you.

• Ask your parents to take your phone and only give it to you when your schedule allows it! This is a tough one but is for your own benefit.
• Talk to your parents about what assessment you have this term. Tell them about the novel you are reading in English.
• Put your Study Plan and Assessment Schedule on the fridge. Ask your parents to encourage you to follow your Weekly Plan.
• Email your teacher if you have a question or have trouble understanding something. We promise we want to see you do your best and will do all we can to help you.
• Attend Homework Help Club at the school. Your attendance gives you access to 3 specialist teachers to help your study and homework.

So now PLAN. DO. REFLECT. IMPROVE. Bookmark this blog link so that you can revisit these tips. Throughout the year, continue to reflect on your learning and aim to improve using the above steps.

Let’s make 2021 our best year yet!

Lara Morgan
Dean of Learning


Reference List
Castrillion, C. (March 15, 2020). This is how successful people achieve career goals. Forbes Magazine.