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Principal's message, Friday 30 August, 2019

Daniel Wilson —

Dear parents

It is hard to believe there are only 6 school days left until derived grade exams and another 23 until seniors leave for external NCEA exams.  The derived grade exams serve the important function of giving students an opportunity to practise for external exams and obviously ensure that good data is available should they have to apply for a derived grade.

Now is a great time for students to start some effective study habits.  If they can achieve the following they will be well on the way to being successful in their exams:

1. Start early 

If you leave revision to the last minute you can panic and leave yourself with too little time for the material you need to cover. The most effective revision is ongoing – review notes after class every day or every weekend. And for specific exam revision – start now! 

2. Organise your notes 

Make sure your class notes are complete and that any worksheets, handouts, activities you have missed are caught up in readiness for revision. Put notes into topic categories and a logical order. 

3. Make a revision timetable 

Use a term planner to schedule topics for each week and then a weekly planner to allocate times of specific days for revision sessions. 

4. Set targets and deadlines and stick to them 

As you make a schedule, build in targets of topics to study, practice exam papers to complete or specific activities. Stick to your schedule and if you miss a deadline build it in later. 

5. Reduce your notes 

As you read, make a new version of notes in reduced form. This should include headings, key terms, dates, ideas etc. These can eventually be reduced onto flashcard sized pages or cards. There are plenty of websites and apps for making flashcards too. 

6. Use visual and auditory techniques 

Transforming information from written words into diagrams, cartoons, images or verbal (even musical) form means that you are using different neural pathways in the brain and this consolidates the learning much more effectively than simply passively reading or highlighting notes. Mind maps are great for this (more on mind maps later). 

7. Test Yourself 

Research has shown that this is by far the most effective revision strategy. Get copies of past exam questions and do them. Also test yourself using flashcards. Or get together with a study partner and test each other. 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish our eight winter tournament teams all the very best for their various tournaments over the coming week.  I am sure you will do you team and school proud!

Nga mihi nui

Daniel Wilson