As one of the UK’s leading exam technique experts, I understand what it takes to deliver outstanding results. It has taken years of research and piloting to get to the stage that we’re at and we’re not finished yet!
In my experience the key lies within the individual. When I assess students, I firstly assess their aptitude for learning. To me this involves identifying their core drivers of motivation. Firstly, do they have what it takes? Does the student have the motivation and reason for success?
I have often worked with students who have under performed in their entrance exams or GCSEs and A Levels, whilst their peers have succeeded. For some students this is motivation enough. They don’t want to be left behind. For other students the motivation for success comes from within. These are the students who are motivated to succeed because they want to attend the university of their choice. In my experience both sets of students will succeed if they have the foundations in place.
Since starting out as a teacher and a thought leader in education, I have listened and worked with the leaders from business, sport and education. I set up my own advisory board and team of education mentors to support me. By discussing and working alongside these experts, I have been able to form my own theories and opinions, and draw upon their expert opinions. I have effectively learnt from the best. The following areas are the core values that underpin the key to success for any student that is sitting an exam. These core foundations can be applied to any student studying for any exam in any country. Teaching and learning does not differ in any country or exam setting. You can structure the learning of a child from the moment that they are able to speak.
The First Pillar: Enhancing Motivation
Business leaders, heads of states and professional sportsmen and women do not get to the top of their game without having the finest coaches and advisers. The same applies to education. Why are you motivated to achieve success? Do you want to go to university A, B or C? Who and why is pushing you to achieve this? What do you want to achieve from succeeding in your exams?
Those of us who are lucky enough to have decided aged 15 that they would like to be a doctor or an engineer have a straightforward career path. The other 99% of the student population need to assess and identify their drivers for success. I have taken these same principles and applied it to a number of students sitting or studying for their exams. Time needs to be spent in the initial stages focusing on understanding these drivers and motivators.
The Second Pillar: Effective learning
Schools and students should spend a greater proportion of their time developing whole schools strategies for effective learning. We often hear that students have a particular preference for learning. However, without focusing on their particular style for learning, they will not succeed. Far too often students spend time learning and recapping material in a way that will not benefit them at all. They may just be pleasing their parents and writing copious amounts of notes, or they may be creating mind maps because “Mum says that is the best way to learn”. However, unless you have been actively tested, then how do you which is the correct way to learn and revise for you? We’re proud of the Exam Confidence Performance Model that we use to test and analyse every student.
The Third Pillar: Effective Teaching
Having an effective teacher at your school that teaches in way that addresses a student’s particular learning style is a common gamble. I don’t believe that there are really that many “poor” teachers. I can understand that a teacher may have challenges when faced with different learning styles in their class. The key is overcoming that challenge.
The fourth Pillar: Follow up – The use of feedback
We all need structure in our lives. It makes life that much more straightforward. Students are mostly in need of a structured approach to exams. We often hear from schools that the students suffer from a lack of exam technique skills. This is a common misconception and often used to excuse a lack of effective revision.
Having an effective “team” in place is far more likely to reap the results that you deserve. By putting in place the key drivers to success you stand a far better chance of exam success and ultimate peak performance. Some parents decide to invest in private tutoring. Whilst this may work for some students it can be a little hit and miss. There are so many variables that we have looked at above. Minimising or maximizing as many of them as possible is the key. There is little point in investing time, money and effort into a private tutor if the student has not reflected on his preferred style of learning. Neither is there any gain to be had if the student has not identified his or her internal motivators.
To find out how I can help you or your child get the very best exam results, call me on 0208 045 1370 or…