Despite the long build up, exams will soon come and go within the ‘blink of an eye’!
At first glance, this will create much needed respite for many students.
However, upon the dissemination of results, the anxiety levels will again rise. Students will soon realise the answer to a very telling question…
Has my effort, application and approach been good enough?
Although many students will have an informed idea of how they will perform, many will not know, likely being ‘blind-sided’ by their results.
Year 11 students are usually the most caught off guard – especially upon the end of the first semester. The step up in difficulty from Year 10, in addition to never previously encountering exams before, often makes it difficult to anticipate performance.
The ‘Mental Crossroad’
Although a good portion of students will likely be happy and/or content with their exam performance, there’s equally as many who will experience disappointment; whether it be due to not performing as highly as hoped, or because of ‘bombing’ out.
Disappointed students will understandably be quite vulnerable.
Often being their own harshest critic, many disappointed students will find themselves at a ‘mental crossroad’ where they will usually go one of two ways…
- They are spurred on to make positive changes to their approach and application, or,
- They simply give up, believing that improvement is either not within them or just too difficult.
At this crossroad, many students will ponder important decisions such as whether to drop out of certain subjects, or more significantly, whether ATAR – or even school – is right for them…
It’s ‘how’ that matters most!
Up until this point, factors seemingly critical to academic performance such as ‘natural intelligence’ & ‘past results’ will have no bearing on which path students take at this crossroad.
Instead, ‘how’ students respond to their disappointment will have the greatest influence.
Some students will respond positively and ‘butter up’, while others may be ambivalent or negative; either ignoring their problems, or just giving up completely…
Furthermore, ‘how’ students change their subsequent application and approach to study will also greatly influence future results…
Conscientious and self-aware students will quickly realise that the landscape since Year 10 has dramatically changed. They will seek to tinker with ‘how’ they can change their approach to learning & study given ‘the same old thinking leads to the same old results’.
However, there will be many students who sadly won`t reach this same realisation…
What approach can schools take?
In other words, how can schools ‘safe-guard’ against the inevitable exam fallout they are likely to experience?
Providing students support with ‘how’ they can deal with disappointments, as well as ‘how’ they can change their approach & application to study are two critical ways schools can assist their students. This is important for helping ALL students (not just for under-achieving students), harness their potential.
Prominent research on student academic performance highlights that support should be ‘holistic’ and expand above and beyond just providing subject specific support.
In particular, it should incorporate mindset and learning self-management strategies addressing the ‘critical-to-performance’ factors listed below;
- Resilience & perseverance
- Mindset & attitude
- Engagement & concentration
- Learning, study & metacognition skills
- Stress & anxiety management
Imagine the possibilities!
So in anticipation of the inevitable exam ‘fall out’ likely to occur…
What if your school could take a proactive stance, helping your students;
- View disappointments as an opportunity to improve?
- Feel enthused and empowered ahead of next semester rather than helpless and defeated?
- Become fully aware of specifically ‘how’ they could improve their application and approach to their studies?
Imagine the potential ‘turn around’ to student performance and well-being…