Study Skills Tip – Asking For Help
Powerful learners have a number of things in common and one of the most important ones is that they seek help when they need it. If you are struggling in any aspect of your life, the best thing you can do is to reach out and ask for assistance. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing or pretend the issue doesn’t exist. For example, if there have been aspects of your learning this year that you have found difficult, or have fallen behind in, this last term of school before the end of the year is the perfect time to reach out for help.
Where can you find help when you are struggling at school?
If things in your life are upsetting you or stressing you this will affect your ability to learn effectively. Talk to your family, talk to your friends or other people you are close to or teachers you feel comfortable sharing with. However, if you need additional support, you can approach the College Psychologist at school, and they can give you some professional help or find someone who can help you with your specific problems. There are also lots of support agencies, for example, Kids Helpline, a free confidential service: 1800 55 1800 or use the online service at www.kidshelp.com.au. It is much better to talk to someone rather than lock it all inside you.
If you are finding a particular subject difficult, or have fallen behind, the first place you should seek help should be your classroom teacher. Firstly, ask questions in class as problems arise. If you find you have too many questions that it is not practical to ask them all in class, then ask your teacher if you can make time to discuss the issues you are having outside of classtime. Teachers are happy to help students who do their best and are keen to improve. Other places you might be able to find subject-specific help are books or extra textbooks in the school or local library, other students in the class, students in older years, other teachers at the school, family members, family friends. If you try all of these options and are still having problems, then you might consider looking for a tutor. Often ex-students from your school who are at university might be interested in doing some tutoring or even teachers at other schools. Your parents could ask your teacher if they can recommend anyone.
If you aren’t having trouble with a specific subject, but are finding learning for school in general difficult, the first people to talk to are your parents. You might like to write down your feelings or what you are experiencing so you can explain things to them clearly. Your parents can then help you decide what steps to take next. It is probably a good idea for them to talk to your teachers first to get their perspectives. They might make an appointment with one of the pastoral care staff like a Year Coordinator to discuss with you and your parents to talk through the issues you are experiencing. The school might also have learning support staff who can help you work out what your issues are and who the best people are to help you. If the learning support staff can’t help you, they will be able to refer you to outside services who can diagnose and address any learning issues you might have.
Year 9 and 10 Assessment Block
Students in Year 9 and 10 will complete their final assessment tasks in a number of subjects in their assessment block in week 5. Students will receive timetables of these assessments (and ACER diagnostic tests) in the coming weeks.
Here’s a quick checklist for ensuring your notes are ready for revision.
- Make sure you’ve ticked off the syllabus dot points
This has to be the most important tip on our list… make sure you have every dot point listed in the syllabus covered in your notes. Remember, the syllabus contains all of the content from the course, and the questions you’ll be asked in your final assessment are coming straight from this document.
- Work on condensing your notes
When it comes to studying for exams, we don’t want to be reading paragraph after paragraph of content. The most useful notes are summaries of the content, so we need to work on condensing them! Once you’ve written the notes for a topic, pick out the most crucial bits of information and arrange all the content into a really punchy, memorable, and useful summary that will actually get you through an exam.
- Make sure they make sense to you
Writing notes doesn’t mean rewriting the textbook. To make your notes useful, it’s important that you can actually understand them! So, read over your notes from start to finish and highlight any concepts that don’t make sense to you. Rework these sections, so when it comes to revising you actually know what’s going on.
- Revisit past exams or assessments
Sometimes, a concept or topic might require a bit more information. Revisit any past exams or assessments and look for any topics that you didn’t do so well in. This can help us to highlight any areas in our notes that are lacking or need further explanation. From here, you can add additional notes or comments that will really help you in the exam room Remember, it’s not just about remembering the content, you want to be able to apply it too, so make sure your notes are going to help you with that process!
Ms Tania Lloyd
Deputy Principal / Head of Secondary