Study Tips With The Year 5’s
The Year 5’s are getting ready for our exams next week, and with exams comes studying. While this is often a stressful time, there are ways to make it a bit less tough. Studying is a skill, and one that works differently for different people, but there are some general things we can do to help ourselves come to grips with what can feel like an awful lot of work.
Have a special study space.
Have a light, quiet place free of distractions set aside specifically for studying. Keep it well-stocked with highlighters, paper, pencils and colourful pens – tools to help you make and organize study notes. Tidy your own study space every day before you stop working, so that it is ready for a fresh start the next day.
Study the way that works for you.
Think about the way that you learn best. Are you someone who likes to write things down? Why not use mind-maps? They are an excellent study tool, particularly for Cambridge, because they help you to see the connections between different ideas. Do you remember better if you speak your work our loud? Why not teach your teddy bear (or your little brother or sister) the work? Are you an active person, who gets bored sitting and reading? Try acting out the work you are trying to learn!
Studying a little bit of a subject every day is much better for remembering things in the long-term than studying for a very long time in just one day. Space your studying out so that you have time to do a little bit each day.
Rather than just learning the work and trying to remember it, do practice questions. This helps you learn to apply the work, not just to remember it. Another good way of learning is to actually make a practice test of your own. Thinking about what kind of questions you would ask in a test helps you to think about the work in a different way.
Focusing for hours on end is really tough, especially if you’ve come home from a full day of school. Taking 15 minute breaks after each hour of studying can really help keep you focused – and it will help you remember more of what you’ve studied. If 15 minutes every hour doesn’t work for you, try a five-minute break after every 20 minutes, or a 20 minute break after an hour and a half of working.
Try and eat healthy, balanced meals during exam time. Have a good breakfast on the day of your exam, even if you’re not too hungry. This will help keep your energy levels up for longer, which helps you concentrate better. Try not to have sugary snacks when you’re studying or writing – fruit or biltong is a good snack, and so is peanut butter on crackers.
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for being able to concentrate the next day. It also helps you to process the work that you have covered. It’s tempting to stay up late studying the night before an exam, but it’s often better to get an early night and wake up fresh and ready for the next day. Try relax for a little before bed, but stay away from screens – they make it harder to fall asleep when you do get to bed.
Good luck to the Year 5’s for their upcoming exams! Do your best, and remember that practice makes progress!
Year 5 Teacher
Websites to look at for more study tips:
If you remember back to when you were in school, in my case, twenty odd years ago, the expectation was for us to sit still, do our work, and keep quiet. Things have changed. Schools have changed. Children have changed.
Research has shown that children need a mental break every 25 to 30 minutes. This is where Brain Breaks come in. The benefits of Brain Breaks are multiple. Studies have shown that students are calmer, more focused, and ready to learn. Students have been found to be less stressed and more engaged in a classroom that allows for Brain Breaks. These breaks have been shown to revitalise, energise and activate children’s brains so that they are ready for learning. Brain Breaks are not only for during school time.
They can be used anytime you find your child needs a quick recharge. Brain Breaks even help to retain memories.
What is a Brain Break?
A short 5 to 20-minute break to help children to ‘reset’ for the next lesson. Brain Breaks can take many forms.
Here are some ways that I do it in my classroom:
- Dancing – following specific dance steps, Popsico is one of Year 2GB’s favourites.
- Outside movement with brain integration – children skip and cross their hands from knee to shoulder as they skip. This integrates the left and right brain, essentially boosting brain function.
- Rub your belly, pat your head – children, once again, do an activity where both sides of the brain are required.
- Find it fast – give children a person or persons they need to find in the class with something that is the same as theirs e.g. same shoes, eye colour etc.
- Inside Break – a Brain Break can be as simple as a quick 5-minute break for the children to do something calm, in the class, for a short time
I have found that using Brain Breaks in my classroom have allowed for a calmer class, more focused learners, and happier children overall.
Year 2 Teacher
Our Year 5 and Year 6 students have just finished writing their Semester 1 exams. For many, this can be a stressful time of year. It is normal to feel some level of anxiety when faced with a big test or exam. Some of the ways students can combat test anxiety is by having a positive attitude while studying, being well rested before test day, and being well prepared.
The Cambridge Progression Tests are written at the end of Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Key Stage 2 for the core subjects and are based on the year’s work. Therefore, it is important that students make revision a habit and use active studying techniques to ensure their understanding of the concepts. Cambridge places a lot of emphasis on active learning and not simply regurgitating information. Michael Prince describes active learning as “any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing.”
Here are some effective active studying techniques students can try for the remainder of the year:
- TEACH IT TO UNDERSTAND IT. The best way to understand a concept is to teach it to someone else. Allow your child to teach you a skill they have learned in class. Once we understand something, we are much more likely to remember it. Older students can also make PowerPoint presentations or demo videos of themselves explaining the concept.
- USE MNEMONIC DEVICES TO HELP YOU REMEMBER FACTS. Mnemonic devices are memory devices that help you to recall information. There are many different types of mnemonics; they can be things like rhymes, songs, phrases, pictures etc. Students can come up with their own mnemonic device or use one that has already been created.
Here are a few examples:
- CREATE FLASH CARDS
Making your own flash cards is a very effective way to learn facts, including key vocabulary and even times tables. Students can also use flash cards to play memory match games.
How to use flash cards: https://www.parent24.com/Learn/School-exams/watch-how-to-study-using-flashcards-20160825
Editable flash card templates and how to make flash cards in MS Word: https://templatearchive.com/index-and-flash-cards/#Creating_flashcard_templates_in_Microsoft_Word
- CREATE AND TAKE QUIZZES
Practising past class tests can be a good way to prepare you for the kind of questions that may crop up in an exam. Another good strategy is to create your own quiz on the content you are studying. There are online sites that help you do this and many will give you access to quizzes others have created. For example: https://quizlet.com/latest
- PRACTISE ACTIVE READING
It is not enough to simply read through information. Understanding and retention can greatly be improved by paraphrasing what you read, making colour coded notes, jotting down key ideas using bullet points or drawing pictures, and creating mind maps of the information.
How to colour code notes: https://study.com/blog/5-tips-for-color-coding-your-notes.html
How to come create a mind map: https://imindmap.com/how-to-mind-map/
- GO ONLINE AND EXPLORE RESOURCES SUCH AS WEBSITES, GAMES AND YOUTUBE
A simple internet search will turn up a host of online educational games and resources. YouTube can also be a wonderful resource of videos that help explain concepts in a more visual way. In addition, all our primary students have access to Reading Eggs and Mathletics (Mathseeds R – YR3), which are excellent apps that help reinforce skills taught in class.
At the end of the day, everyone learns differently and students need to find the most effective and efficient strategy to help them in their understanding. It is important to remember that tests and exams do not measure intelligence and they cannot assess what makes you special and unique.
Mrs Amanda Hack
Year 6 Teacher
The June exams are less than two weeks away and preparation should be underway, especially for Years 10 and 12. Arguably the best way to counter exam stress is to come prepared. To this end, I have ten guidelines students can follow that will go a long way to helping them feel prepared and confident for each exam.
- Print a copy of their exam timetable and put it in a prominent and safe place.
- Compile and stick to a study timetable.
- Give yourself sufficient study time for each subject.
- Identify topics you find most challenging and, if necessary, ask for assistance from the subject teacher. Do this as far in advance of your exam as possible.
- Utilize effective study methods rather than simply reading the textbook.
- Avoid pulling “all-nighters”.
- Limit your social calendar (holidays are just around the corner and good friends will wait).
- Avoid fad diets so as to maximize energy and concentration.
- Pack the necessary equipment for each exam, including a spare pen.
- Arrive punctually for each exam.
I also encourage parents to be involved in their child’s exam preparation. We know, often from our own experience as students, how easy it is to become distracted and bored. Encourage regular study sessions with short breaks, physical activity and healthy eating. Do not be afraid to check up on your child’s exam preparation progress, even if they are in their final years of school.
I wish students all the best for their exams and I hope that they have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
High School Teacher