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August 09, 2017

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Secondary School Academic Excellence Begins With Having The Right Tools

Posted by Shafina Jaafar on August 09, 2017

The jump from primary to secondary school is a major transition for every child — both in terms of academic demands and in learning to adapt to a new school environment.

If your child is in Secondary 2, it is quite common for him or her to lose motivation in the middle of the year because it can seem like a lull period between major national exams. The PSLE is far behind him or her and the 'O' Levels seem far away.  

Yet, Secondary 2 is an important year because it is when your child will build the necessary foundation for the 'O' Level examinations. This crucial year is also when your child prepares for streaming — a change that will significantly impact him or her over the next few years.  

For Shuli Sudderuddin, Academic Director of Secondary Programmes at The Learning Lab, empowering your secondary school child with the right tools to tackle school assessments and key exam needs is important.

Here's what she recommends! 

Be Exam Smart

"Secondary 2 is a fantastic time to hone your exam skills in an environment with relatively low-pressure.  It allows for practice and the stakes are not too high.  Your teachers will probably cover important foundation skills at this point such as formulae and techniques for answering particular types of questions.  Familiarising yourself with these techniques can truly ensure that your answers are on the right track and save you precious marks," advises Shuli. 

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Another essential way to be exam-ready is surprisingly simple, yet seldom taken to heart: pay attention during lessons. It can be tempting to daydream, socialise with others or even believe that you will catch up later but lesson time is twhen your child will figure out the most relevant and valuable parts of the curriculum.  

Why? Teachers drop hints, give tips and place emphasis on pertinent information. Paying attention in class also means that it is easier to make sense of your notes after class, and means that revising those notes will be your child's second encounter with the material, not his or her first. 

Manage Time Well

The best way to ensure that you have time for everything is to make time for everything.  Having a (realistic!) schedule will make sure that your child has enough time for well-deserved breaks without getting caught up with hours of unnecessary distraction or procrastination.

"Using a planner also helps; a physical, long-term plan is essential for making sure your child do not miss deadlines and have enough run up to tackle big assignments or projects. I like to mark out my big deadlines and work backwards to figure out how much time I need to meet them!" Shuli adds.

Stay Motivated

Hear from Shuli's point-of-view:

"As a teacher, I find that at the Secondary 2 level, one of the best ways to keep my students motivated is to find out what their academic interests are and appeal to them. At this stage, driving them too hard with constant drilling or in exam preparation can lead to burnout. As such, more enjoyable approaches may be helpful."

During English lessons at The Learning Lab, students work with a variety of text types from various news and educational resouces. Teachers often engage students in fruitful conversation about world events, trends in science, technology, medical research and more. This not only helps to sustain students' interest during the lesson, but helps them to become more aware of how to carry a conversation and take on multiple persepctives.  In Science or Math lessons, such extracurricular reading, fun puzzles and competitions help students to see the strong relevance of academic content in the world around them.

Secondary Education At The Learning Lab

Secondary school programmes at The Learning Lab help your child to master key exam skills, enabling them to tackle a range of question types and difficulty levels. A robust curriculum helps them to engage with exam needs whilst gaining a broader view of global events and engaging in critical thinking.

Our secondary curriculum design process is inspired by the following themes:

-  To comprehensively prepare and reinforce students’ academic knowledge
-  To expose students to real-world applications of academic and general knowledge
-  To customise learning through tailored lesson plans and materials

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If you have any enquiries about our programmes, please email us at ENQUIRY@THELEARNINGLAB.COM.SG  or call us at 6733 8711 and we will be happy to assist you.

Topics: secondary school