The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Senior School

Welcome back to Winter Term. I trust you have enjoyed a wonderful break. The holidays have seen a number of fantastic activities take place across the College. Thank you to all the students with whom I shared time on the Canberra Ski tour. It was a very busy time away and a wonderful experience. The participation and behaviour of the boys was wonderful and the feedback has been terrific. I would like to say a huge thank you to the staff who accompanied the students on tours. Giving up holiday time to enable such opportunities for the boys is greatly appreciated. Congratulations to the students who travelled to Tanzania on the Community Service tour. The group achieved a great deal and contributed significantly towards long-lasting change in the lives of many while they were away. Finally, congratulations to the students who represented the College in the Australian Secondary Schools Team Sailing Championship. Wonderful performances over the week saw the Scotch College team finish second in the country. Well done boys!

Returning to school after a long break is the perfect time to think about study schedules and establishing or re-establishing good study habits. Remember that study involves not only completing homework, but revising work covered over longer periods of time. Regular revision of content through summarising notes and practising skills helps to retain knowledge and skills, making preparation for tests and examinations more effective.

Planning a weekly schedule for the first time can be a challenge and adhering to it even more challenging, so being flexible is important. Below I have written some steps to consider in establishing a flexible study routine.

Step 1. Keep track of how you use your time for one week. Add up the totals for all your different activities including school, sport, eating, sleeping, leisure, homework/study, TV, etc.

Step 2. Plan a balanced weekly schedule. Include all the weekly activities you identified in Step 1. Start by writing in the obligated times such as school, sport and work. Remember to give yourself time off for relaxation and, importantly, schedule in that time. I believe it is a good idea to include those items first and work around the activities which give you joy. The trick is to enjoy this time and stick to the time you have dedicated to study. Now, write in flexible time requirements such as sleep (9.25 hours a night preferably) and recreation. Finally, fill in the time you intend to commit to study. Normal time for study is one to two hours per night for Years 9 and 10 and three hours per night for Years 11 and 12. Remember to maximise this time by removing distractions and plan small breaks every 45 minutes or so.

Step 3. Stick to this schedule for a week. This will help you to identify your priorities.

Step 4. Use a monthly calendar to help allocate your study time on the weekly schedule. Know what is coming up by entering all the important dates on the calendar (assignments, tests, exams) at the beginning of each term. Estimate the time needed to prepare for each of these and enter this into your weekly schedule. Breaking a large task up into smaller tasks is always a good way to approach what may seem too challenging upon first investigation.

Step 5. At the beginning of each week transfer important items from your calendar to your weekly schedule. This will help you use your time more effectively and reduce pressure.

Step 6. Continually review your weekly schedule. Your lives and priorities are continually changing. You need to adjust your schedule accordingly. You should never feel guilty about adjusting your study schedule, just committed to finding the time and being consistent and diligent in your approach.

Please remember to speak to your teachers, your House Head or the staff in the Residence should you need assistance with your studies. We are all here to help. Enjoy a wonderful Winter Term.

Mr Dean Shadgett
Head of Senior School