Mrs Kenny
Head of Teaching and Learning

Each term has its own rhythms and this term is characterised by the hushed tones of students huddled in last minute study, queueing for exams and relieved faces when it’s all over. The HSC has only one week to go with some large cohort exams including Biology and Chemistry still to come. Congratulations to Year 12 students who are approaching their exams calmly and with resolve.

Year 10 students have spent this week in Wallis Auditorium for exams and study sessions. They, too, have been excellently focused and punctual. Well done Year 10!

Students in Years 7 to 9 begin exams next week but they remain in classrooms and have normal lessons when not completing exams. We try to give them a taste of the exam experience without too much anxiety.

The preparation for these exams begins much earlier in the year in the classrooms. Teachers discuss subject-specific strategies to identify and revise key concepts and practise questions and responses. Dr Laurence provides study advice in Year 7 workshops, and Homework Help staff cater for student questions. All these strategies are backed by educational neuroscience which reveals how we best remember information and deepen our understanding of important ideas.

Dr Jared Cooney Horvath, an educational neuroscientist from the University of Melbourne, recommends studying smarter rather than harder. He suggests that students can improve their exam performance by moving to recall of information instead of constantly reviewing notes. Students can build deeper memories by committing information to memory and then recalling it to answer questions. He suggests that students should mimic the exam environment when studying to aid recall and begin learning material far enough in advance to allow for deep understanding. Plenty of sleep is critical to the process of embedding memory.

For parents, Dr Cooney Horvath suggests that they find the ‘just right’ balance between showing interest in the exams but not micro-managing their child’s study. Parents can help by creating a supportive environment and routine. By embracing error as a learning experience and modelling a healthy perspective, parents can minimise stress and promote confidence.

Click here to read Dr Cooney Horvath’s article in full.