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Succeeding in Tests: A Case Study.

Hey there again. Today, I have something new for you.

People often ask me, ‘Katie, how do you do so well in tests?’, and the truth is, I don’t actually know. And what better way to find out, than to do a case study? In the next few weeks, I have a two tests, one on Introduction to Business, for Business and Enterprise, and the other on Models of Growth: Logarithms for Mathematical Studies II. They’re worth about 15-20% of my grade, and they’re both for subjects in the year above me, so I’m a little bit nervous.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be keeping a regular journal of what I do each day, so you can check it out, maybe take a few things away, and we  can both a be a little more wiser. You can take a look at the page here.


Ponderings of Identity

While I was rewriting my about page the other day, I got to rambling, as I often do, and came up with a few questions. I thought I’d share.

It’s a pretty standard page on any website, particularly a blog, but it’s quite a difficult one to write. Who am I? What defines me? Who am I to define myself? Surely it’s irrelevant how I define myself, because I’m somewhat bias. So then, it’s more important for someone else to define me from the outside? Although, can an outsider really know the inner workings of such a complex system? Read More…

My Thoughts on Success

Success. It’s supposed to be a big thing, isn’t it? But is it really? I mean, how many people are successful in a lot of people’s eyes? And I mean, a lot. A handful. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Rupert Murdoch, Nelson Mandela. You might have heard about them. But does that mean that no one else is successful? The immigrant who now owns a small-business, do a lot of people know about him? Does that mean he isn’t successful?

So if you think you’re successful, you are? But, in this sense, what does that really mean? Is it doing something you love, is it being able to survive when no one said you would, is it having money, or is it something else entirely. For starters, it’s intangible. You can’t grab hold of success with two hands. I think being successful is achieving something, anything, that pushes you to the limits. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you truly work hard for it.

Of course, to be truly successful, you shouldn’t worry about being successful. In fact, most successes of really successful people are a surprise to them. You can’t tell me that Nelson Mandela doesn’t think everyday, wow, what have I done? To be successful at something, you shouldn’t need to have the reward of being labelled a success. Success comes from within.

If being successful means not worrying about success, then success shouldn’t hamper your efforts. Those five people I mentioned, they’re all successful, sure, but have they stopped? Have they said, this is enough for me? No! Then why should you? Push yourself, challenge yourself, and success is just around the corner.

And sometimes, success doesn’t come at the end of something, in fact, it’s just the beginning. I have an example, for a change. I play soccer, a lot, and recently, I was invited to attend some trials, conducted by NSR which were looking for players to represent. Their agency promotes players from around the world in a number of sports to USA College coaches.

My hard work at the trials, and in the years leading up to the trials that I had been playing soccer led me to be selected for the next part of the process: an interview. Because, shockingly enough, colleges don’t just want athletes, they wanted to know more about me, and my grades. So, my commitment to school over the last however-many years meant that I was chosen to be part of the program.

When I was training, doing homework, and studying, not once did I think, I’m going to get a college scholarship out of this. But I did think many times, I’m going to be in a representative team because of this effort. And that didn’t happen. So stop worrying about goals that you might have, and start enjoying the things that you do, because you’ll be successful, without even knowing it. And who needs a big ego, anyway?

image copyright pontuse

4 Tips for Choosing a School

We are often told to write what we know, our past experiences, our thoughts and opinions. So today, I’m going to go anecdotal on you, and share a story from my past.

Image copyright Jascha400d

When I was in grade 5, my brother and I started talking about high schools. We were going through a rough patch at the time, and I decided that I didn’t want to go to the same school as him. I pretty much had two options: the school my elder siblings attended, which was the local Catholic school, or an all-girls Catholic school, which happened to be closer to the city, and the provider of my mum’s high school education.

Being the naïve 10-year-old that I was, it didn’t take me long to decide I would go to the school my mother did, purely and simply because it was closer to the city, and therefore would definitely provide me with a better education.

Can you see where I went wrong? Aside from the fact that I thought being closer to the city made you a better student. That I didn’t take a look at the school before deciding it would be my second home for the most defining time of my life.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t choose the school for me. I’m a very academic person, but the College seemed to support vocational and international students more than those with high levels of expectation on their shoulders. They focused on developing their students into respectable young adults, and aside from the fact that they failed miserably, they didn’t place as much importance on academics as they did being polite and attentive. Don’t get me wrong, it will always have a special place in my heart, because the people there were some of the greatest I’ve ever known, but it really isn’t the school for me.

I’ve come to a point in my schooling where I’m just not happy with my education. I need to be challenged, I need to be around like-minded people. I need to have the freedom to learn what I want to learn, not what my school thinks is important (don’t get me started on Religion and Information Literacy classes). I want to be treated as an adult, not a silly little school-girl.

You might be wondering why I’m writing this post. Well, this weekend is the Open Day for the school I want to go to. This school is everything I’m looking for, and seems to provide me with the opportunities I desire. That got me thinking, about why I went to my current school in the first place. And then I thought, you know, there are a lot of people in the same position as me. And I don’t want you to make the same mistake as me. So here are some tips to make sure you choose the right school.

  • Decide what you want from your school. Do you want to learn better study techniques, learn a wide variety of topics, or have a strong pastoral care support group? That was my main problem. I didn’t realise I wanted an academically minded school, because it was never an issue before. Make it an issue.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Just because it’s private, or even in a fancy neighbourhood, doesn’t make it a good school. The opposite also applies. Also, don’t assume your experience will be the same as someone you talked to. Schools can change a lot in a short time.
  • See it first hand. Everyone sees things differently, so try to get out to an Open Day, or request a tour of the school. It’ll help a lot, and you won’t just be seeing what they want you to see. You’ll see the rest of it as well, even if your guide doesn’t realise it.
  • Make your own decision. My dad doesn’t think I really want to go to this school, and that I’m happy where I am. I’m not, I’m just tired of complaining. But don’t let your family, friends or even guides at the school, change your mind without a valid reason. You have to be happy at school, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time there.

So there you have it. What do you think? How did you choose your school, and are you regretting your choice?

Pride without Arrogance: How to be Student C

Two weeks ago, we talked about how to be humble, yet proud of the work you’ve done. There is a fine line between pride and arrogance, so this week we’re going to talk about how you can best fit the description of ‘humble’, in the classroom.

As you can see from the first post, the aim is to be ‘Student C’

I know two people like this, and they are two of the most caring people I know. They’re smart, but they also engage with their peers. They know when to accept a compliment, and when to shake it down. If they haven’t really worked for something, they won’t appreciate you telling them it’s great. This is the ideal we’re talking about. For the two that I know, they haven’t worked on this, they were just born to be humble, and brilliant. Fortunately, this is something you can work

  • Be Honest

    The best way to be honest with your peers is to be honest with yourself. Saying your work is terrible, because you’re worried about people’s perception of you will be damaging to your self-esteem. Allowing your perfectionism to get in the way of self-evaluation can also lead to drops in confidence. People respect others who speak what they believe. Your peers will trust you more if you can tell them what you really think about your assignment.

  • Don’t Compare

    Judging your work on others is bound to make someone feel bad, so don’t do it. The best medicine is prevention, so be honest, but don’t focus on the differences. I’m assuming that if you struggle with arrogance, you get pretty good grades.Even if you’re talking to the student with the lowest score in the class, be honest with them. If you feel your work is bad, instead of saying ‘mine’s terrible’, tell them that you think you could have put more effort in.

  • Show Compassion

    Compassion doesn’t just mean consoling others, it also involves telling them the truth gently. One of the worst signs of arrogance is bluntness. If one of your friends is disappointed in their work, don’t tell them to stop complaining, explain to them why their work is so great. If it falls desperately short of their standard, offer ways to improve. The help and support you provide will be much appreciated, and hopefully returned, in the future.

  • Process, not Results

    Be happy with the effort you put in. If you’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to complete an assignment to the best of your ability, you should be proud of it. If you haven’t, resolve to fix this in the next assignment, and tell people such when they ask.

  • Compliments

    Learn to take a compliment. If someone tells you your work is the best in the class, say thanks, congratulate them on their mark, and leave it at that. Don’t go on about all the flaws in your project, leave that for your self-evaluation. Further more, don’t say something arrogant, like ‘Yeah, I know.’ Worst thing you could do. People will think you’re egotistical.