School: How to Make School Work for You

  • Learn what works for you. Brainstorm some ideas before you start to write the full answer to the question. Teachers often do some preparatory work on the board, but you can always do this yourself. Have a rough-work copy beside you to scribble down some ideas on, for example, the beginning of your story in English, the developments and the conclusion. Who are your characters?

  • A useful technique is to visualise. Maybe it’s a character in an essay. What’s he wearing? What’s his job? Or a setting in history. Draw the diagram in geography. Make the learning real for you. Make it connect. Make it link with how you learn. In practising how best you remember, you’ll make the connection with the work in class and suddenly start to see things in a whole new light. Your motivation levels will increase as you watch your ability and results soar!

  • Do out some mind maps on a topic, either for homework or in class, if you are given some study time. It can sometimes be difficult to get down to study in school but mapping out the ideas on a topic will really help you, even if you are away from your usual stock of books at home. Draw a circle, put the main topic area in the middle and think of all the things you know about it. Check your textbook, add some more, check again and note some things to learn for the next time you come to this topic.
    1. Read the questions first.
    2. Make some rough notes as you go that will be useful for your answers.
    3. Answer the questions you know best first.
    4. Now do the ones that may take a little longer.
    5. Take a break and try another one if it’s puzzling you; you can come back to it again.
    6. Read through your work carefully, checking against your question paper — have you answered all questions? Can you add in more detail anywhere?
  • If you’ve given options in project work, for example, or as part of a group, what do you like to do? Are you brilliant with the computer, or do you draw really well? Identify your talents and work with them!

There are no regrets in life, just lessons.’ Jennifer Aniston

Can you get help? Can you ask (politely) to sit in a different seat? Can you get the answers you need? Ask, ask, ask. Even smile the odd time — you’ll be surprised the difference it makes to everyone’s mood. It’s your classroom; it’s your call.