The exams are over - what did your teen learn?

June 28, 2016

Advice about coping with exams really needs to begin at the front end of the semester as last-minute advice is almost always too late. So this week I'm making suggestions about being ready to go in semester two right from the start.

In the end, it is the spade work your teen has put in well-before the exams that will determine success or failure so if they are stressed and anxious because they have skipped class, burnt the candle at both ends and so on, the last exams would have been a very anxious time.

I encourage you to point out the Study Smart workshops available on a continuous basis at AUT that they could take up in early second semester if they haven’t settled in the first semester or they were disappointed with their results. At the risk of sounding like an old person, I would like to emphasise the message that university is hard work. You need to put the hours in in order to succeed and while there are lots of support services, your teen needs to attend classes, engage with the lectures and do the follow up.

Preparation from day one is usually the key to success, and I’ve just finished reading an American article called The 14 Habits of Top College Students.

In summary they are:

  • Have a schedule
  • Divide up the tasks
  • Be organised
  • Hang out with smart friends
  • Don’t kid themselves
  • Manage feelings
  • Challenge themselves
  • Be consistent and persistent
  • Be open to feedback
  • Ask when they don’t understand
  • Don't be shy
  • Look out for number one
  • Keep themselves in tip top shape
  • Have a goal-plan

The list above isn't a quick fix list. It is something students work on so you could perhaps encourage your teen to develop one or two things on the list that might be a weakness for them for next semester.

I have talked to students who want academic support late in the semester but who have chosen not to go to lectures because they were too early in the morning. I have had a student come to me wanting help with an essay that was due in two hours’ time. Suffice to say that is too late and the non-attendance is a choice they have made (unwisely). It is critical to identify problems early on and get help as soon as possible after the first small assignments.

If you think that during these last exams your student was suffering from more than the usual and completely normal stress or anxiety, go with your gut feeling and get support. Our Student Services can be a good starting place.

Next semester AUT is offering free 'mindfulness courses' to students in return for being evaluated as part of a research project. Mindfulness, while the trendy word of the moment, has now a substantial body of scientific research supporting its beneficial effects. If you think your teen might benefit, perhaps encourage them along.

An invitation to learn Mindfulness - and participate in research.

An opportunity for your teen?

  1. We are inviting AUT students who have not practised mindfulness before to take part in a six-week Introduction to Mindfulness course (normally $230). The course involves six 2-hour sessions where you will learn to be mindful - at home, work and at play.
  2. Mindfulness means being focused on the present moment – in a relaxed, receptive and open way. There is increasing evidence that it can assist people’s general health and wellbeing.
  3. If your teen  wishes  to take part or would like more information, please ask them to contact :Dr Tamasin Taylor (Research Officer): of Psychology, AUT, North Shore Campus

In the meantime, enjoy the semester break and enjoy watching your teen grow increasingly independent. Hopefully they have mastered semester one. In many of my second interviews with scholars they all commented they were happy and had overcome any initial homesickness but were still looking forward to going home for some family time.

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