Welcome to the 2017-18 Academic Year

Welcome to the 2017-18 academic year!
We are now 8 months away from the start exams next May (sounds quite a while, but it really isn’t!), so it’s time to start working hard again and prepare ourselves for the next year.  All our current students have now been timetabled, and so bookings are now open for new students in the limited slots we have left.  Please see the availability page if you wish to check what is available.
Building on past success
The last academic year bought a lot of success for our students, in particular those sitting GCSEs.  Two of notable mention scored extremely high marks – much above their school predicted grades (in one case 3 whole grades above!).  Hopefully this trend can continue into future years.
As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you wish to make a booking for tuition, revision questions or if you have any questions or queries: you can find our details on the Contact Details page.

It’s too hard!

It’s not.
Sometimes these posts are inspired by something a student has said to me, and other times when I simply need to get some information across.  Today’s was inspired by something completely different: a post shared on Facebook by a friend.
The post was a version of this image, created by @sylviaduckworth, and reproduced in an unedited form below.
The image contains ten statements – which, honestly, I hear a lot whilst teaching – and 10 much better, more positive ways of thinking.
Why does positivity matter?
As I posted about some time ago, it’s really important in studying, as with everything else in life, to try and keep going.  But if you have a fixed mindset – that is, think that you can’t improve and that things will continue as they are, keeping going can be a very difficult challenge.  However, with a positive outlook on yourself and your capacity to learn, anything is possible.
Remember though, that a growth mindset isn’t the same as uncontrollable optimism.  This is exemplified by point 2 in Duckworth’s image above.  Yes, you may be getting everything right in this particular topic so far (well done!) but that just means that you’re one stepping stone close to your goal: you still have a lot to do, so use that positive energy to keep going.
Don’t give up
If you’re struggling to do something, ask someone.  Maybe ask more than one person – a teacher, a tutor, a friend, your mum… don’t feel bad because you’re needing to ask for help – sometimes everyone has to have things explained to them more than once before they can truly understand them!
You’ll figure it out, I know you will!

“Can I really do this?”

Yes. You can.
I’m hearing this question a lot lately, so I thought I’d answer it!
The only thing that you can do is your best, and if you’re well prepared, and if you work hard, you will succeed. There’s a lot of pressure on students to do well in exams these days, probably even more than when I was a student myself (yes, I was that young once!), and so I thought I would give a few pointers as to why panicking is a bad idea, and why you should trust yourself.
Firstly, I believe in you. Now, that might be hard to believe, given I suspect that there are people reading this post that I’ve never met, but it’s still true. If you care about your studies (and panicking about them is a good indication that you do!), if you can be bothered to put the work in – you can do well. Part of success is a mindset: if you believe in yourself, then you’ll do well. Sports coaches sometimes say “positive thinking leads to positive outcomes” – honestly, it’s true. So have faith in yourself. Human beings are naturally wired to learn – just compare yourself as a baby to the knowledge you have now – and then remember that you still have the potential to learn just as much stuff again!
Next: right now (with the exception of controlled assessments and possibly mocks), it doesn’t matter if you get things wrong. In some senses, getting things wrong is a good thing, because it shows the areas where you need to work on: as long as you take a mistake, examine it, look at why it was made, and make sure that you never make that mistake again, you’ve turned it from something negative into a positive learning opportunity. As my dad used to say: “It’s not the falling down that matters. It’s staying down.” So don’t mistakes “get to you”. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and carry on. You’ll be stronger for it.
Finally, in a post about motivation, it would be very remiss of me not to mention my former Head of Year, now sadly no longer with us, Wayne Jenkins. In my view, Mr. Jenkins was a great motivator. Sure, we all laughed at him at the time, but looking back, his motivational attitude surely affected students’ morale – and results in their exams! One of Mr. Jenkins’ favourite mottos was what “CAN I” really stood for:
because, if you’re asking that question, he knew that with a bit of effort and positivity, CAN I? can be turned into Constant and Never-ending Improvement, and then can easily become I CAN.
So be positive: focus for these next four months, and turn “CAN I?” into “I CAN!”  🙂
P.S. I’m going to ban the phrase “I can’t do …” in my sessions. The correct one to use is “I can’t do … yet”.  😉