Monday, June 4, 2012

Exams and Preparation

Dear Parents,


We had a very good series of graduation speeches today!  What a joy to see the students and how much they’ve grown in their writing, confidence, delivery, and poise in front of an audience in a short few weeks.  Thank you to those parents who were able to attend today. Your kids “did you proud!” I hope to see many parents tomorrow as well.


As you know, the graduation speeches are worth half of the final exam grade.  I wanted to make sure to let you know, though, how your child can be studying for the pen-and-paper portion of the final exam.  I did make available to students a list of “fair game” for the exam, and told them they would be allowed to bring a 3x5 card as a “legal cheat-sheet” to the exam.


My exams are quite lengthy, but not particularly hard.  The trick is two-fold:  endurance and automatic recall.  The number of questions on the exam means that students can’t spend too much time plumbing the recesses of their brains for long-forgotten knowledge;  they need to have quick and rapid access to everything we have learned.  This means they will need to have studied! 


Creating a “cheat sheet” is one step in studying for the exam – it is in this stage that one identifies what one doesn’t know.  Further steps are somewhat dependent on the child’s learning style, but may include such techniques as creating and taking quizzes, reading aloud of notes, making flashcards, texting questions to a friend, drawing pictures of concepts (such as essay structure), copying notes, reviewing old tests and quizzes, and more.  There will be one 80-minute study session on Wednesday afternoon for all students, but that amount of time is unlikely to be sufficient for most students.  Please encourage your child to spend some quality time studying for my exam.


I look forward to seeing all of you at graduation in a little over a week.  Can you believe how quickly the year has flown?




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