We are now well into exam season and some students (take a bow, Upper Sixth IB) have already wrapped up their
terminal assessments, although others must wait until after half term to begin their exam campaign in earnest. In case you missed the 11th May Heads Up column in the Senior Courier, I do commend to you the wise words of Mr Burnett on the importance of stress management at this time of year. As Mr Burnett explains, a modicum of pre-exams nerves can actually be a good thing.

But anxiety, if allowed to grow unchecked, can become too much. Students must reach out in good time to their support network for help, and we must all work in unison to steer them back to a positive outlook.

Few people enjoy exams whilst they are in the process of doing them, but as we regularly point out to TS students,
they will be able to look back on them with satisfaction if they know they did their best. Plus, exams of one sort or the other will feature in nearly all students’ futures, so they might as well get used to doing them, and doing them well. Taking exams is a skill which can be improved hugely with proper practice, and I am grateful that this year for the first time our Exams Officer Mrs Ann Ellard has agreed to oversee the running of the Year 9 and 10 internal exams after half term. This will ensure that students get a taste of the real thing with plenty of time to improve their performance if they struggle in certain areas.

Many press articles have been written recently about how best to advise students before their public exams. I
think, at this stage, the key thing is to be upbeat with our young people and help them realise that the exam system
is designed to reward them for what they have learned and what they do know, rather than to punish them for what they have neglected to learn. Therefore they should just give all they’ve got – frequently it’s worth more than they think! In keeping with this urge for positivity, I offer you the following checklist for maximising exam performance. Come on TS students, parents and teachers, let’s nail these exams!

Optimal exam performance: On-the-day checklist

Before the exam:
• Correct sleep routine to prepare body clock for morning start
• Proper breakfast
• Smart and comfortable
• Hydrated
• On time and in the right place
• Clear pencil case with all equipment
• Spread good vibes only

In the exam:
• Breathe
• Maintain good posture
• Timings and word count
• Read the question especially command terms
• Plan – do – check
• Stuck? Make a note, move on
• Final check – no gaps

After the exam:
• Walk out tall regardless of how you think you have done
• Freshen up
• Eat something
• Stay off social media
• Smile and clear head for next challenge

Damian Henderson
Deputy Head