All ready to go!

As the academic year draws to a close, no doubt everyone in the family is looking forward to the end of the summer examinations. Two dates in August – the 19th and 26th, when the A-level and GCSE results respectively are released, are the dates which we are all anxious about. How optimistically young people view those dates depends on how well they have prepared themselves in the months, weeks and perhaps years beforehand. I have no doubt that our students who have made sacrifices by giving up a substantial part of their weekends are in a positive frame of mind!

Glee on their faces

Speaking to students last Saturday brought a smile to my face as I heard familiar phrases: “My Chemistry exam was easy; “I should get an A, possibly an A*. As a teacher, and a parent too, it is always a real pleasure to hear not just those words, but to also see the glee on their faces from the satisfaction that their hard work has reaped rewards.

No room for complacency

However, it is no time to be complacent: having resisted the temptations of the PlayStation, chatting on mobile phones and lazing in front of the TV, they must now put in effort at this crucial stage. They must consolidate their efforts of the past year by practising exam questions (not necessarily a whole paper), using revision notes, mind maps and other revision aids. With all the revision materials available these days and the fact that we parents are giving an arm and a leg to give the young people a better chance of making the best out of their lives.

Young people should do themselves justice

In this competitive world of ours, there cannot be any complacency when preparing for an examination. To pick up those extra 10 or so marks, being equipped with subject knowledge is not sufficient. One has to be well prepared on the day of each examination too: mentally, physically and with material.

Below are points that could potentially make a significant difference to grades:

Be fully equipped, and relaxed!

Take two or possibly three pens, a couple of pencils, a full Maths set, at least one calculator, preferably two. (It’s Math exams next week. The calculator should be the one the student is used to)

Take a bottle of water with a sealed top (allowed by almost every school)

Prior to the exam practise by timing yourself under exam conditions. Time spent on answering each question ought to relate to the maximum marks available for that question

Do not hesitate to ask permission to visit the toilet, get some air or stretch your legs, if you feel the need, during an examination

My final words to young people at this crucial stage are, put in that final effort and you can look forward to a long summer break, and more importantly, that date in August when the results are released.

P.S. Parents, please feel free to forward this to your sons and daughters. Just tell your son/daughter that it is not another nag from you but Mr Mustapha is to blame!