From my experience as a student and a tutor, I have found that there are four aspects of high school learning that are ALL crucial if we wish to achieve our academic goals.
1. In class learning and work:
It is no secret that learning begins in the classroom. It is critical that students are engaged in class to ensure that they give themselves the best chance of understanding the concepts explained by the teacher. In addition to this, the in-class work assigned to students must be attempted at all times.
Homework is extremely important, because it consolidates the learning in the classroom and ensures that the student has retained the core concepts of the topic they are studying. Attempting homework will give the student feedback: Either the lessons learned in the classroom have been retained, or they must be revised as soon as possible.
3. Preparation for assessments:
Students must prepare themselves for assessments. The approach of “winging” tests is a lazy and ineffective one. Revision of the test topic is paramount; the student must ensure they have a good grasp of the core concepts (ie traditional ‘study’) BUT must also ensure they do as many practice questions as possible. This is perhaps the most underrated part of learning in high schools. Students can spend hours upon hours reading through their textbook but unless they can successfully answer questions the hours of ‘study’ are useless. It is the ability to retain knowledge, and apply it to previously unseen problems that is most important when it comes to completing test papers. Attempting (and reviewing) practice questions will give the student the best possible chance to successfully answer test questions.
When I talk about assessments I am mainly talking about in-class tests and exams. Assignments/investigations are also an important part of the assessment structure in schools but here I will focus on tests and exams. In order to achieve our academic goals, we must walk into every assessment knowing that we have prepared thoroughly and put in the necessary effort that is required. This will give us the best possible chance to get the results that we are looking for. Of course, tests are unique and each student must be aware of how to best tackle the test/exam paper in front of them. Time management is critical, as is keeping relatively calm. Nerves are good, because they are an indication that we care, but we must not allow our anxiety and tension to impact upon our ability to answer the questions in front of us.