Monday 23 April 2012

Ave Praeceptor! Morituri Te Salutant

In just under three weeks' time I shall be sending my little AS Biology lambs off to the slaughter. Or the Unit 1 exam, as I think they prefer to call it. I haven't taught them everything I know, because then they'd have total recall of the Eagles' back catalogue and they'd never drink Southern Comfort. But I've taught them a massive amount. And the survivors get to come back and do another year of it before starting university.

My father continues to be impressed that I've got as far as finishing the syllabus (apparently this was something of an aspirational target rather than something expected of teachers when he was in the business). That said, I haven't told him that I'm frankly shitting myself over whether I'll finish the A2 syllabus in time to give those poor buggers sufficient time to revise.

I'm feeding my AS and A2 students bits of exam technique as I go along. Last week I gave one of the classes the news article claiming that "Drinking water improves exam grades", and they examined the claims before reaching their own conclusions on the quality of the study and how they would eliminate some of the rather obvious flaws (e.g. whether bringing a water bottle and drinking from it was a proxy for overall preparedness).

Of course, then I had to tell them that Omega-3 and Brain Gym are a load of old codswallop, and that it really was a little too late to be looking for short-cut ways to improve "brain power". But then again, no one ever got a marketing deal out of "Eat a healthy balanced diet, do a bit of exercise and work your bloody socks off". I ate marmite on wholemeal toast for breakfast for a month before my finals at Cambridge, and I don't imagine it did me any more good than if I'd had a bacon sandwich from Nadia's Patisserie.

Any useful tips I can pass on to my students other than RTFQ and ATFQ?

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