At Elevate, we emphasise the importance of feedback. Practice papers are only useful if a student can use them to identify areas requiring improvement. Depending on where the paper has been sourced from, there are often worked solutions available. Even then, we encourage students to submit their papers to teachers for grading or the procurement of oral feedback if written answers are unavailable. Additionally, we encourage students to form study groups so that they can mark one another’s work and critique that work, as this prompts further discussion and consolidation of the material.
I can understand the emphasis on test papers - but who will mark those test papers, and provide guidance as to whether the answers are good or not?
Each day students go to class, make notes, do homework - when should they be making their revision notes?
Revision notes can be made periodically throughout the year, particularly on weekends or during holiday breaks. That said, if students adopt the ‘trigger word’ approach to making their notes at the initial stage, it may render ‘revision notes’ unnecessary. Instead of rewriting notes for revision purposes, we recommend that students restructure their notes in the form of mind maps so that they can understand the concepts studied and how they interrelate.
In our Time Management seminar, we recommend that students do 1 non-required task per subject, per week. This means that, rather than simply focusing solely on homework, students should spend 15-30 minutes per week (per subject) doing tasks such as making revision notes, doing practice questions, or memorizing the information for a test. This work is most often not set by a teacher, however it is the type of study that best prepares students for exams.
When should I encourage my child to start doing practice exams? How close to the exam is too close?
The earlier the better! If a student is testing themselves across the year, they are far less likely to forget the information come exam time. But for many students, doing a practice paper before the end of the year is impossible because "I haven't been taught everything yet!" This is partly true. A student will not be able to do a practice exam in the first few weeks of the year, as they will not have been taught enough content. However, by 4-7 weeks before the end of year exams, this excuse becomes a little less convincing! Whilst they may not be able to do a full practice paper yet, they will be able to do a significant part of it.
So, if a student has not finished learning Topic 5, then they can still do a paper but only answer questions on Topics 1-4. After they have completed classes for the course, they will be able to do full practice papers. For an outline of the most important aspects of completing Practice Papers, see the article entitled “Practice does NOT make perfect" here.
What is the best way to monitor the amount of hours my son puts into his studies?
We recommend that students measure their productivity in terms of ‘tasks’ rather than ‘time’. That is, their ability to complete the necessary work is a better measure of their effectiveness than how many hours they have studied. That said, it is important for parents and children to be on the same page regarding expectations of time inputs. We recommend that parents sit with their child and make a study timetable together. The parent then has a copy of their own so that each person is aware of the expectations surrounding study load as well as the balancing of extra-curricular activities. For more information on this, have a look at our article on “Creating a study timetable with your child”.
How can I get my child motivated to study?
Motivating your children is difficult because motivation is internal. In other words, to feel motivated, the child must themselves want to achieve something, rather than be encouraged to achieve or work hard by their parents.
Therefore, parents should assist their children to explore their interests, passions and curiosities. In doing so, the child may develop an interest in what they would like to do once they leave school. Once they have a goal, it is much easier for them to focus because their study is put into the context of achieving something greater than say, their homework.
This can be achieved through exposing them to open days at universities, deeper information in an area of interest that they hold, or introducing them to someone who is in the field they’re interested in. if your child loves video games, why not take them to a talk by a video game designer? If they love film, have them sit in on a film class at a university. For more information on motivating you child, make sure you have a look at our article “is your child motivated” here.
How do I get my child off Facebook? They’re always distracted by it.
This is a very common issue that is faced by most parents. So fear not, you’re not alone! The solution is actually not in ‘getting them off Facebook’ but rather in showing them how to take responsibility over their studying and study breaks. A good way to do this is to create a distraction free study environment, and to empower them to use Facebook often - just not while they’re doing high powered work such as memorizing information or doing a practice exam. For more info on distractions, make sure you read the article “Attention, study and the Facebook effect” here.
Exams are approaching and my child is getting stressed. How can I help them relax?
Stress around exams is unfortunately an inevitable part of the process. The question is the extent to which they are stressed, because a little bit of stress is actually quite useful at this time of the year. The best way to help your child manage stress is to identify the reason they are stressed so that you can tailor your response. For example, if you child is overwhelmed by sheer volume of study and workload, you can help by reducing chores that they do at home. If they have a part time job, perhaps they can take a break from it during the exam period. You can also help them by assisting them in creating a study planner where they can break down their subjects into a series of specific tasks that can be ticked off a list and provide them with a clear sense of progress. Have a read of “helping your child manage stress” for more info on this area.
How much study should my child be doing at home?
There is no right amount of time to spend studying, but there is a wrong amount. A student wants to maximise the time they spend studying by ‘working smart’. For example, spending half an hour on questions from relevant sections of the textbook is lot more productive than a student spending three hours rote learning as they are actively identifying with the information and applying it in relevant ways rather than just passively writing notes again and again.
That being said, when it is coming close to exams, a student should be doing practice papers and will be working up to trying them in exam conditions so to say to spend 25 minutes then is not applicable.
I hear there are good apps for dealing with digital distractions. Can you recommend any?
Yes, with over 350 social media sites out there, countless TV streaming sites and the most random of distractions out there on the internet, this is the biggest problem faced by students today. For Apple users, Self Control is a brilliant place to start. For Windows, it is Cold Turkey. These are anti procrastination sites that allow students to block websites for a predetermined period of time. When a block is put in place, it cannot be bypassed until the specified time period is up. It’s important to not go too crazy and block everything for days because that then will cause demotivation. If used as a reward program when studying, it is a fantastic way for students to treat the Internet as a luxury during their well-deserved study breaks. It is much easier said than done, but will have a huge impact on attention and therefore memory creation and retention during study sessions. Also, make sure you check out our list of the top 18 apps a student should live without here.
Should my child be listening to music while studying?
Previous research has found numerous benefits to listening to music before performing a task– it improves attention, memory, and even mental math ability. It has also been found to alleviate depression and anxiety. However, the more realistic scenario is that students will study or do homework while playing “background music.” Research from the University of Dayton found that students performed better at spatial and linguistic processing if Mozart was playing in the background. So maybe having instrumental music can help performance, since it doesn’t have any distracting vocals.
What information do you cover in your seminars?
Elevate’s research identified 17 key areas that separate top performing students from middle and lower performing students. We then grouped those 17 areas into our seminar series. We cover many areas of study from note taking, to memorization, exam preparation, independent learning, study groups, time management, stress management, health and wellbeing, among many other areas. For more detailed information on each seminar, make sure to watch our seminar preview videos here or get in touch to see how we work.
How much do your seminars cost?
Our prices vary depending on the program package we arrange with the school. Once we have assessed the needs of the particular school and its students, we can then provide specific costing estimates. Feel free to contact us to find out more about how the process works.
Once the seminar is finished, how do students implement the techniques?
We firmly believe in a 3 pronged approach to behavioural change. In order for the techniques to be implemented, they should be reinforced in the classroom by teachers and at home by parents. We provide a parent seminar for your students’ families so that parents can gain insight into Elevate’s research and how they can help their children implement these skills at home. For teachers, we provide a staff seminar as well as teacher implementation kits that contain a series of in-class activities that can be seamlessly integrated into the classroom to reinforce the techniques covered during the seminar. We also offer our new ‘results tracker’ service that surveys students before and after seminars to gain insight into how their views and practices have changed after the presentation. Last but not least, our Student Portal provides multiple resources for students so that they can continue to reinforce the Elevate message.
How long are the seminars?
The Elevate seminars can fit into a school’s set period time allocations, however we generally aim to allocate 60 - 75 minutes to the seminars. For more information, feel free to get in contact.
How many students can you cater to?
We run both small and large group sessions, and are quite flexible in the group sizes; it all depends on what you would like! You can contact us to make an appointment for a commitment free meeting to see how we'd make a program fit within your school's needs.
You have many different seminars. How do I choose the best one?
Our seminars are varied and each focus on a distinct area of the study experience. We don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and therefore provide an obligation free meeting with schools to determine their needs and priorities, and then cater the program to suit those needs. We’re also realistic about the nature of young people’s attention spans. We therefore don’t run the old fashioned day-long study skills marathons, and try to deliver the information in a timely, relevant, and appropriate setting. Don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can tailor a program to your students’ needs.
How do I book in a session?
It's easy! Just get in contact with one of our program coordinators to discuss how we can help!
Do you provide staff training?
We run a detailed staff session which is designed to show teachers how to implement the skills we run through with students. The aim of this session is to create a common language around study skills so that students receive a consistent message from Elevate presenters and teachers alike. Importantly, we show how Elevate’s skills can be customised so that teachers can apply Elevate’s techniques to their specific subjects. For more info on this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more about how we work.
What is the ideal set-up for a seminar?
An ideal format for the presentation is lecture style seating with all students facing the front. Tables and desks are not necessary as there is only minimal writing to be completed. We do ask for a whiteboard, or even just a flipchart, to be provided for the presenter to clarify ideas. A PowerPoint is welcomed, but not necessary (if using a Powerpoint, no WIFI or sound is needed).
What do I need to prepare for a parent/staff session?
Nothing! Parents and staff may wish to bring a pen to make notes, but our presenter will bring along manuals for them to use during the session.
What do students need for the seminar?
All students will need is a pen, the student workbook and something to lean on like a diary or folder.
When will I receive my follow up materials?
These will be sent out on the Monday following your seminar via automated email. Make sure we are added to your safe senders list! If you have not received these for any reason, or would like to be sent them again, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.
Something’s come up! Can we change the date of our booking?
Please get in touch if you should need to edit the date or time of your seminar. The sooner you get in touch, the more likely we are able to accommodate your request!