Independence Day

We are almost there – the end, the big push then those awful exams. Not awful because they are inherently a bad thing, after all they are the way that many students will show how good they are in their chosen subjects.  They are awful because they follow one after another, with no real rest.  If you were not ready for the revision process then the next 4 or 5 weeks will be a VERY hard slog!

There is a sad truth or … message in this blog which is that students set out their ultimate success in the upcoming exams two years ago when you started the course – Independence is what it is all about.

When students start their work in IB1, it is usually a completely different experience from any they have been familiar with in the past. It requires students to look carefully at, and modify how they work. In this way, you will be able to work with the 6 subjects at a higher and deeper level than you have ever done before.  Working like this, consistently over the two years should have put you in a position where you were ready for the beginnings of the revision process a month or so ago.  By now, you should be in full revision and focusing on past exam questions and marking schemes.

The revision process should be one where you are taking full responsibility for your work.  This is your moment, not your teachers.  You need to work independently and focus yourself to address all of your issues. You should have a pretty good idea of the material you have covered and should be focused on answering exam questions – because this is a very different skill to actually knowing the subject matter.

My suggestion for physics, is that you look at questions on topic areas and try them in small groups of 3 or 4.  Do not read a question and then look at the marking scheme – try to answer the questions first.  Once done, then check the marking schemes and do not convince yourself that your answer is correct – if you have not got the wording of a definition correct for example, then learn the correct one.  Once done, you should then try another 3-4 questions.  In this way, you will ‘pulse’ your way through the past questions.

If you are not looking at past exam questions now, then you’re losing time.  You must make sure that you have gone through your notes so that you understand as much as you can and then get on with it.  If this is not possible because your understanding is too poor, then you must talk to your teacher as soon as possible so that you can get advice on the questions within each topic that are most likely to come up. These then need to be your focus, again using past questions and marking schemes.

There is one final situation which I dearly hope few students fall into.  Every year I hear during the Easter break of students who have not yet completed the course.  If any students does fit into this situation, then there is too little time to really get a good grip of what needs to be done.  You may well have to carefully choose topic areas that you will focus your efforts on.  It is obviously important to talk this through with your teachers – not an easy conversation.  However also remember that Paper 3 will be on the optional topics and so, these topics must be prepared for.  A word of advice on choosing topics – do not ignore mechanics and waves.

And finally, don’t forget that we are way too late for excuses now.  Everything is resting on your shoulders and no one else can do it for you – Independence is the name of the game.

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