Suffer Now, Live Forever As A Champion.
The title is part of a quote by Muhammad Ali which I used during some work I recently did in a school who asked to help with revision sessions…and it turned into the basis of the workshops, which were adapted from the LAUNCH motivation sessions we deliver in schools across the UK.
Here’s what we were asked to do:
Part 1 was a ‘motivational assembly’ where I excitedly shared my experiences of terrible attitude and lack of revision which led me to an E and a U at A Level in the 1980s.
Part 2 was a series of carousel ‘Revision Mindset’ sessions – 6 x 45 minute sessions with groups of students – already on half term – who signed up for extra revision to help kickstart their revision over the holidays an din the coming weeks.
The Sessions in Part 2:
Now, getting an E and a U does not help me talk about revision tactics and exam technique as clearly I wasn’t an expert at this when I was 17, however, I have learned a lot in the intervening years about changing mental state, attitude and mindset to change the way I approach tasks everyday.
After some Wheel of Life personal assessment work, developing understanding of what makes us happy, we moved onto the next few weeks:
2 weeks Half Term
4 Weeks School
4 Weeks Exams
8 weeks Of Holidays!
And by drawing this up on a board as a timeline, we discussed how much time was coming up to make their exams as successful as possible – SO THAT they could enjoy the long holidays as a reward.
So the SSAA framework came into play and it helped re-frame the way students looked at their next 4 months:
SCHEDULE – make a REALISTIC revision timetable and stick to it. Review it if the plans weren’t being stuck to help yourself to feel successful.
Schedule each hour – 45 mins work / 15 mins your time and don’t try and block-book 4 or 5 hours of the same content.
So Hour 1 = Maths; Hour 2 = French; Hour 3 = Biology; Hour 4 = rest etc.
Make some variety in the tasks and also variety in activity.
SACRIFICE – you are going to have to make some sacrifices in the next 10 weeks, BUT you will enjoy 8 weeks off so earn them.
Use of Time was the lowest scoring item on the Wheel of Life for nearly every one of the 90 students in the sessions so we discussed ways to manage time better – less phone time was a solution / apps to monitor and control your use of phone time / leave the phone in another room for 45 mins when studying and use it for 15 when on a break.
Sacrifice treats and going out, Xbox gaming, Box Set binges, sports, training (unless on the GB / County squads) and put energy into revision.
As I said using the ELF example ‘Make work your new favourite’. (see below).
ADAPT – clearly none of the above actions can take place without adapting to changes. Using the Wheel of Life allowed us to talk about the things that make them unhappy and which made them happy – so moving towards happiness will take changes from their current lifestyles and approaches…changing habits is hard and we worked on these and set some goals and targets. Also, not everything is learned from a book – use podcasts, documentaries, mind maps, quiz apps and music to help get the messages in there!
ATTITUDE – as you know, I’m a big fan of using attitude to help change things – starting with your mindset and vision, attitude can help you in many many ways. By looking at exams as a gateway into the future for the majority of students in a way of contextualizing the work required now so those qualifications can stand as something to be proud of in years to come.
Once we worked through the sessions, the final 5 minutes was spent with everyone talking about the changes they were going to make to improve their revision skills and this already showed a more positive attitude as they moved into half term, Easter and loads of eggs and temptations away from their books and studies!
These sessions have made for an enlightening set of workshops – I’ve learned and adapted the way I work and think about the skills we offer one another. I can’t do revision skills but working with teachers on their subject knowledge and revision tips, this sessions backs up all of those skills and activities with a solid mindset workshop, building on LAUNCH and helping put exams and their attainment into a wider context for the future.
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR EXAMS AFTER YOUR HARD WORK!
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