Faye's Fortnightly Email

The fortnightly email from the Head of Sixth Form to our students

Hi all
I hope that you’ve all had a good week – congratulations to Year 13 on finishing all of your exams. I feel that Rock City will best be avoided tonight by anyone who has an aversion to walking across a sticky floor whilst having music pumped into your ears. Such as me for example.
If you’re in Year 12 then please make sure you attend the Assembly at 11.00am on Monday 25th June. There are important messages for you about the end of this year and going in to Year 13. A register will be taken.

Alton Towers Trip
There is a trip for Year 10 to Alton Towers on Tuesday 24th July and it is open also to BC6F students. Coaches leave at 7.30am from Moor Lane and you’ll be in the theme park all day until departure from Alton Towers at 5.00pm. Letters / consent form available from Melissa or reception – the cost is £25. Please note, first come, first served.

Email etiquette
The modern world now runs on electronic communication but that does NOT mean that basic manners and courtesies are ditched. If you’re making a request in an email, then PLEASE make sure you use the words ’please’ and ‘thank you’. It creates a positive impression and it is much more likely to be acted upon. THANK YOU.

Why we do Mock Exams
• Motivating you to start revision early
Research suggests that 75% of students consider themselves to be procrastinators with 50% doing so regularly and to a level that is considered a problem. The author of one of the biggest studies on procrastination, researcher Piers Steel, states that “the further away an event is, the less impact it has on people’s decisions.”
In essence, your Year 13 exams probably feel like a lifetime away. By having mock exams halfway through the course, you have the opportunity to focus your attention and effort earlier.
• Practicing effective revision strategies
Some of the most commonly used techniques to aid revision are actually the least effective, including highlighting or re-reading key passages. One reason for their ineffectiveness is they do not force you to think deeply and critically about the topic, so they often end up being done on auto-pilot.
Mock exams let you practice revision strategies that are proven to be more helpful and discover what works best for you. There are several memory strategies that have been found to be effective.
• spacing out revision sessions (so that there is enough time to forget and then re-learn);
• teaching the material to someone else (this forces you to think about the material in a clear and structured way);
• switching between topics every now and then (which helps you build on previous revision sessions).
Another technique is what psychologists call “elaborative interrogation”. This is essentially asking yourself “why”. In a study on memory (see this link), students were divided into three groups and asked to remember sentences such as “the hungry man got in his car”. The first group just read the sentence. The second group was given an explanation (ie because he wanted to go to a restaurant), and the third group was asked to consider why he might have got in his car. The results? Students who were prompted to ask “why” remembered 72% of the sentences when tested later, compared to only 37% in the other two groups.
• Improving knowledge
Testing yourself is an effective way to improve your knowledge and ability to recall information. Research has shown that students who did a practice test after a period of revision did better on the final exam than those students who didn’t do the mock exam and had just spent the whole time revising.
Instead of seeing an exam as a potentially threatening event or as some sort of judgement on their ability, it would be great if you could see your mock exams as a handy way of improving your knowledge and memory.
Also, if you have a particularly bad mock exam, better to have the shock in the mock, than the final exam. It can act as a call to action that perhaps you need to do more work, change revision strategies and develop the skills needed to perform under pressure.
• Practicing under exam conditions
Pressure can do funny things. For some of you, it can lead to nerves, anxiety, frustration and sloppy mistakes, culminating in a poor performance. For others, pressure allows them to concentrate more, work harder and perform better. It takes time and practice to perform well under pressure. If your final exams is your only experience of these conditions, it is lottery as to how you will react. Mock exams are a great opportunity for you to figure out and practice what works best for you.
• Identifying topics that need attention
Doing mocks early enough in the year gives you time before the real thing to target areas that need improvement. Mock exam results can identify how best to spend the coming months for you.
Once these areas are identified, it is then a case of putting in the hours. It is not enough to think about what you need to do better, it is the action and the doing that really makes a difference.
Being comfortable and confident enough to ask someone else for help, be it a teacher, parent or carer, is a big part of having a growth mindset. Mock exams can be used as a way of getting you to feel comfortable receiving feedback, which paves the way for further improvement and learning

Ten Tips for Maintaining Concentration
1. Prepare a revision timetable, and start each revision session on time.
2. Study in an area free from distractions and interruptions.
3. Work in a comfortable area – good light, fresh air, seating, etc.
4. Undertake demanding tasks when at your best; do more straightforward tasks at other times.
5. Actively engage with your revision rather than just reading passively (as mentioned above)
6. Complete each task within the time allocated.
7. Review each task for a few minutes before moving on to the next.
8. Don’t work for too long on any one task.
9. Mix up different kinds of activity.
10. Take frequent breaks. As a minimum, take a few deep breaths, stand up, flex your arms, have a brief walk about.

INSPIRE – I IS FOR INTEGRITY

Integrity in quotes:
• “Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” - W. Clement Stone
• “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.” - Oprah Winfrey
• “Perhaps the surest test of an individual's integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect.” - Thomas S. Monson
• “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” - Chinua Achebe
• “You are in integrity when the life you are living on the outside matches who you are on the inside.” - Alan Cohen

And finally….
I have not watched that much of the World Cup but I am sure that will change as England (crosses fingers etc) start to go through the gears and qualify for the knockout stages. But actually, half the fun of the World Cup is watching supposedly great footballing nations go out at an early stage, Take our friends from Argentina for example. Iceland take on Nigeria later this afternoon and a win for Iceland and the land of the thunder clap would only leave them needing a draw against Croatia in their final match next week to progress to the last 16 and so send Argentina packing. Given Argentina knocked England out with Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal in 1986 I always take great pleasure in watching them making an early exit. Though, given anything can happen, I could well be eating my words by this time next week.
Have a good week.
Cheers,
James