May 24

Taking up the challenge - Miss P Dunn, Deputy Head (Academic)

As the exam season approaches, our Senior & Sixth Form students are focused on revision and examination techniques, ensuring that they are well prepared to show their potential in the exam room. Active revision such as using flashcards, mind-maps and self-testing, is important and each student should find a technique that works for them and strategies that enable them to feel confident when approaching each paper. When it comes to public exams, doing a practice paper under timed conditions and then getting feedback on this performance can often provide the much-needed confidence boost before sitting the real paper.

Whilst exams play an important role in education as an indicator of how a student has acquired knowledge and is able to apply it, the opportunities our students have to take risks, engage in new and challenging activities which they may find difficult or even impossible at a first glance, play a crucial role in the development of skills for life. By stepping out of one’s comfort zone, not only can we gain a great sense of achievement, but we can learn about our own attitudes to tackling difficult things.

Students from all year groups did exactly that during Challenge Week at the start of May. Engaging in a range of difficult tasks, ranging from an Army Boot Camp and cooking on a tight budget, to Maths ‘mind-benders’ and Gregorian chants, students in all year groups were encouraged to take up the challenge. In doing so, they had to find new coping strategies and make the decision of whether to give up or carry on regardless. Hopefully, many chose the latter and in doing so, learnt something new about themselves.

When it comes to exams, we know that preparation is key to success. However, we also value the skills learnt through challenge; those of improvisation, of resilience in the face of real difficulty, and of curiosity and stepping into the unknown. In doing so, our students are preparing themselves for the world, not just for the next set of exams.

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