Flashback – Preparing for Exams

In this Friday flashback we look back at a Dean’s Assembly from just before Y10 examinations. It included the how we study wit some help from Dora the Explorer.

Today I want to talk to you about HOW – how do you study. In my Internet travels I found this infographic. It talks about the how the learn. Suggesting the difference between learning by reading and the learning by taking risks.

This infographic shows what is it like if you travel from San Francisco to London and the difference it makes when you choose different types of transport: walking, biking, car, plane or rocket ship. It’s like learning. We can be effective with our learning or we can chose slow routes. The different types of learning according to this infographic include: learning by reading, learning through a teacher, learning through a mentor, learning by doing, or learning by taking risks. Reading is like walking from San Fran to London, where as learning by doing is like taking an airplane.

Does, this make sense? Probably not. So I’m going to explain it a different way. To help me I thought I’d bring along a friend, someone I admire for finding her way and achieving her goals, reaching destinations and showing a strong capacity for learning new things. Studying is like a journey. We revise to get from A to B. A being not remembering much, B being a successful exam result. And when it comes to traveling from A to B, the best person to help is my friend Dora.

So Dora wants to succeed in her exams! So she’s going to try and travel from Can’t-Remember-Ville to Success-Town. But she has to decide how to get there.

DoraHer first choice – read back through her notes. This would be like walking taking granny steps. “Oh man” Dora says. “No just reading through your notes would take you ages to remember anything”. In fact, Dora wants you to know that educational researchers have shown conclusive proof that our retention of facts when just reading over material is really poor. Particularly when there are other ways to travel!

“What’s that boots? Is that some running shoes? Do you think we could run to Success-Town with those. That would be like doing a mind-map of all the topics I need to know for the exam and all the sub topics I should look at too. What a great way to start!

But wait? Aren’t there even better ways to get to Success-Town? What about if we caught a taxi, or a plane? Well that would be like making summaries of the notes we have made in class. That means not just reading over notes, but summarising them in our own words. We could also turn these ideas in flashcards! If we want to get to our destination quickly we have to actively engage with the material we are studying. So that means using highlights, drawing diagrams, making tables, lists and mind maps. Wow, I just can’t wait to get to Success-Town!

Oh Boots, this is so much fun. It’s so much fun to learn with you! But what is the fastest way to learn? Is their a most efficient way that everybody watching can learn today? Well… let me think about that…. surely the quickest way must be learning by doing? So if you are studying maths that means actually doing maths exercises right? Right! And actually writing practise responses for Social Studies, and actual essays for English and practice exercises in Science! Doing is the best way to learn.

Oh no! It’s swiper! He says there is one more way to get to Success-Town. He says it’s swiping away all your motivation and staying right here doing nothing! Is that really a good idea?! …No, you’re right. Not revising will mean we are unprepared for the exams. When we revise we can get to the top! Now it is time for us to reflect on how we get there and chose the route that will give us the best chance of marks that show our potential.

Let’s go to success town! We had such an exciting trip today! What was your favourite part of the trip? …….I liked that too!”


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