As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘There are so many different methods people can use to revise for their exams; I have chosen the best method for my learning.

I try and split up my nights after school into hopefully 3-4 different subjects, spending about an hour on each or so. I have 5 higher subjects altogether and so the ones I miss that night I will do the next day during school in a free period. To start my revision, I base my studies on the theory of the subject. For example for Higher Biology at the moment, I’m using the textbook to write out notes on each of the sub-topics and also concentrating on the topics I struggle with. Once I have completed these notes I move on to practising past papers.

Writing notes, I find is the best way for my revision but it is different from others. It is also very important to practise past papers, and get used to the techniques you require to understand the questions. Past Papers also help you find points you might have forgotten about or struggle with, which I then refer back to my school notes, textbook or the online Scholar site. Scholar is very useful as an online resource; it supplies each student with the revision material for each subject and goes into detail on subjects that are usually found to be difficult. It also gives you examples and questions to work on. Working through Scholar it also gives you a topic test, where you can see how well you have progressed and also what else has to be worked on. I have also started my revision quite a bit before the exam as each subject’s capacity is large and it’s important to revise each as thoroughly as the other. ‘

Pupil (S5 Higher)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.

Also see other blog posts by parents and learners:
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another Learner’s perspective (S4)
Parent (S4 pupil)
Parent (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)

As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘At the moment I am trying to be patient with my child as I know she is under a great deal of pressure, so I am also trying to shield her a bit from unnecessary distractions or extra demands on her time, ie if she is actively revising I won’t ask her to complete her chores within the household.

I am trying to almost cocoon her a bit from the noise and bustle of a busy house where she has older and younger siblings getting on with their lives. We have rearranged her room and provided a desk so she doesn’t have to study at the kitchen table (which is a nuisance for everyone) and has a place to leave her materials undisturbed. I am encouraging her younger sister, with whom she shares a bedroom, to play in other rooms to give her a bit of peace. I am fortunate to have the space to do this.

Similarly I am keeping an eye on her diet and sleep patterns to ensure she is getting enough to eat and drink and is not over tired. I will continue to do this until the end of the exams and will up the ante considerably in the days leading up to them. I encourage her to take a break from her desk to watch TV or go out with friends to keep her from overworking.

My dad bought her some specimen papers from SQA for a few of her subjects, Maths, Chemistry and Physics which have helped her become more familiar with the new type of questioning involved in the N5 papers. She has been provided with some revision booklets etc for some subjects from school but this has been very patchy. I have been web surfing to find any extra resources to plug gaps. The new revision guides from the NPFS will be very helpful in the next few weeks providing extra examples of questions for the N5 question papers.

I am trying to keep calm myself and not get worked up if she becomes anxious or stressed.I know that I have to provide support as she needs it and to suit her…’

Parent (S4 pupil)

More posts:
Parent’s perspective (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another learner’s perspective (S4)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘The countdown to the exams has really begun. All that teachers are talking about now is revision, revision, revision. Some teachers are making classes a bit fun by doing quizzes and games to go through the topics and I like that.

At home I am trying to do a bit extra every night. It is hard to fit everything in and so I have made a timetable which has helped my time management a bit. I get stressed when I can’t fit it all in. I know I have to have some free time too and I am trying to get the balance right. I don’t really like all this studying so I am finding it quite hard to motivate myself.

I have some specimen papers for the subjects I find the most difficult and they have helped my studying quite a bit. They really helped me prepare for the prelims too. I am going to start using the revision pages from NPFS too now.

As I am doing N5 music I try to play my violin most days for a change of focus. I have already completed the music practical exam which gave me a little sneak preview into the tension that overcomes you when entering the exam hall. This is my first ever sitting of exams so this part of it frightens me a little.

I have been going to supported study three times a week after school and some subjects have lunch time revision classes too.  I am going to go to Easter School during the Spring Break.

The exams still feel a wee bit away but I know that nearer the time I will have to prioritise a bit for the next exam.

I will be glad when they are all over….’

Pupil (S4)

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘How am I preparing for my exams?

‘I am in S4 and this is the first year that I have had to cope with preparing for exams and up until now I have been trying to keep up with the course work and units which seem to have all come at the same time.

Now I am starting to revise for the actual exams.  Some of my teachers are running supported study classes after school.  This is good as it lets me ask the teacher some of the stuff I have not quite picked up yet.  I am studying at home but I still need to fit in all of my other activities – football training, table tennis and playing the X-box.  Doing these other things takes my mind off too much studying.  At times my head feels as if it will burst.  A set of drums might help!

I am going away at Easter and I will be taking as many books as I can carry.  I will have to find time before going out to study.  I want to practice with the specimen papers and questions, and look over my course notes.  For some subjects, the books and notes are better than the question papers.  I still have time when I come back.

I am not stressed one little bit but even if I was taking a penalty in the World Cup I wouldn’t be stressed.’

S4 pupil

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘Motivating a National 4/5 boy and a Higher girl has thrown up two different sets of problems. The boy, typical of his age, has better things to do. The girl motivated, determined, single-minded, all these things apply, as well as studying has a part time job and believe it or not has a boyfriend, whom she makes study with her.

Leading the boy and persuading him to work has been at times a trial. I have had to side with him in his attitude and make him believe I was just the same and how much more difficult it was to get on in life, to a certain extent true. The biggest mistake was to compare him with his sister, he totally rebelled. The answer was to become his buddy and slowly it is starting to work and I hope to get a pleasant surprise when the brown envelope comes in.

The girl doing Highers is very motivated but has had the occasional confidence drop off. ‘I never get an A’, she says. Then we do a mock exam and in comes a good result. At Parents night she tells her Physics teacher I am no good at this subject and has to be reminded she got top marks in Standard Grade and is leading the class in all the results so far. The point I make is she is smart but the confidence drops off very easily at times and needs boosted, lots of dairy milk chocolate does it. I have had to provide Chemistry tuition at home for her, as during the first term there was no teacher and a lot of the basics had been missing for Higher. This did not help her confidence but we have turned it around.

The key to dealing with both of them is support, support and remembering they are kids.’

Parent (National 4/5 boy and Higher girl)

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )

Science Resources for the Nationals

Following the SQA/ Education Scotland joint publication of Past Paper Guidance for N5. Education Scotland has published copies of the identified questions on Sciences Glow 365 site, in the N5 folders for each subject. This compliments the previously shared N5 Biology questions. Further support materials for N5 will be published in the near future.

Shared on the Sciences Glow 365 site new class spreadsheets for tracking assessment standard passes at National 4 and an updated version for National 5. Look in the N4 and N5 folders in your subject.

Nominations for the next three rounds of cross authority working groups are due by 5pm on Monday 10th of March. If you’re interested in attending please contact your local authority organiser.

Glow TV events:

Ask the Expert – Neil Kermode      11 March 10.30       http://bit.ly/1g9zh90

As part of the Get Energised with the ScottishPower Foundation project, this series of broadcasts from the National Museum of Scotland will help N4/5 students in STEM subjects to learn more about renewables in Scotland. Hear from leading experts in the field and ask them about their work. 

Past papers identified by Education Scotland and SQA as appropriate for N5 Biology have been collated and shared by Invergordon Academy. These are posted on the Sciences Glow 365 site.

Geneious software suitable for case studies, a free download suitable for case studies in the Genome key area of DNA and the Genome unit at cfe Higher Biology is available from.

http://geneious.com/

A free online Environmental Studies textbook, Earth’s Dynamic Systems is available at http://earthds.info/ particularly good for Geosphere, Hydrosphere etc.

 Dave Edwards from the Open University asked Education Scotland to publicise this MOOC.

The OU’s free Moons MOOC is at; https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/moons  and I am gearing up to facilitate some of the discussion.  It starts on 17 March.

We envisage it taking around 3 hours per week, for the eight week presentation.

Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre have a S1-3 poster competition running currently, copies can be downloaded from their website under secondary education – ttp://www.abdn.ac.uk/biodiversity/education/secondary/cfe-support/

Education Scotland continues to add sciences materials created by local authorities to the NQ Glow Portal and is grateful to the practitioners and authorities across Scotland who have contributed to date.

We greatly appreciate the most recent contributions from colleagues in North Ayrshire for sharing materials at National 4 and National 5 for Physics and Cell Biology and Multicellular Organisms and we’re also grateful to colleagues in Moray who have shared their N5 Cell Biology materials.

Aberdeen City have kindly shared a range of National 4 and National 5 Chemistry materials.

Education Scotland is also in the final stages of editing course materials for all N3 and Higher sciences qualifications. These will be posted to the NQ Glow portal in February. Please see our STEM e-bulletin for ongoing updates about NQ support.

If you have any materials you would like to share the please contact Jennifer.Moore@educationscotland.gov.uk

As a Curriculum for Excellence reaches 4th year in secondary education, RHET, working with schools, wishes to contribute to the real life scenarios that students will be working with for the new National 5 in Business Management.

RHET is looking to recruit 12 secondary schools from across Scotland to use real life farming and agriculture examples to enhance learning in the National 5 Business Management course during this academic year 2013-14.

We would do this by working with the schools concerned to:
a) Have a trained classroom speaker visit school to address one of the business management scenarios:

Human Resources
Tertiary food industry
Diversification
Working as a co-op

b) Introduce the pupils to the business by taking them to a farm/agri -business where they can see the variety of roles on farm to appreciate the business case for the farm. This can be from any of the above business models.

c) Visit a second part of the same farm, or if this is not appropriate another type of farm business (from the types of business above) to allow pupils to see multiple facets of business.

In many schools the Business group is relatively small, and so costs for transport (fully funded by this project for one year only) should be minimal.

The schools concerned will represent a variety of socio-economic conditions and the businesses involved will be chosen with respect to their location and local impact. The project will be evaluated with each school, farm hosts and processor and taking part.

Further details about this project can be downloaded here – Teacher’s notes – Business project.

Interested? What to do now.

Email RHET at rhetinfo@rhass.org.uk by the 11th October 2013 (no later) requesting to take part.

Mark your email clearly “Clydesdale Bank National 5 Business Management pilot”

You will be informed if you have been successful in late October 2013

Education Scotland has recently published annotated exemplification which is deemed to typify the achievement of a level. This work is billed as ‘early insights’ as it should be viewed as a starting point for comment, reflection and amendment. It builds on the Assessing Progress and Achievement professional learning resources which have been used to guide the exemplification. Each exemplar contains a mixture of annotated exemplification, pupil voice and practitioner notes/reflection. The amount of each of these has been determined by the staff involved. The resources are a work-in-progress and draw on emerging practice from practitioners from 3-15. There are currently one exemplar at one level across most of the curricular areas although the aim is to add to these. This Annotated Exemplification of Work is available on the Education Scotland website.

It is anticipated that this resource could be used to:
• Inform any review of the quality of learners’ work which is deemed to typify the achievement of a level.
• Identify the range of work which typifies the achievement of a level across the learning in a curriculum area.
• Appreciate how the quality of work being produced by their learners compares with that in the exemplars.
• Identify aspects of the approaches used which might inform their own practice in their context.
• Contribute to identifying gaps in the learning of their learners.
• Provide a focus for professional dialogue involving a group of staff within or across establishments.
• Provide a focus for dialogue involving parents.

Tell us what you think
We would like to hear what you think about what has been produced so far. Your feedback will help inform this on-going work on annotated exemplification which typifies of achievement of a level in each of the curriculum areas to be shared through Education Scotland’s web-site. In particular we would be interested in your views on how well the exemplars support your understanding of assessment and achievement of a level.
In your comment response please can you let us know which sector you work in – early, primary, secondary, special and also the curriculum area you are responding to. Many thanks.

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