Grade Transformation Blog

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Archive for September 2021

When to start a new paragraph in any task or essay

I hate to admit it, but being ‘forced’ to read huge novels as a teenager put me off reading for a LONG time.*

I didn’t actually mind Shakespeare,**
but that was because I approached the analysis more like a dissection and translation exercise than an appreciation of literature.
(I liked structure and box-ticking even then!)

That’s why I loved Gemma’s (our English Focus Coach in Next Level Coaching) clear and easy system for knowing when to make paragraph breaks in any piece of writing.

I see LOTS of students struggle with paragraphing in their writing;
either because they’re under exam time pressure and forget them,
or because they’re not quite sure when or how they should insert them.

The TIP-TOP system works for any type of English task or exam response and in fact, for ANY subject at any level.

* I didn’t read a book for ‘fun’ again until I was about 24 years old and it was like re-discovering the joys of going for a walk.
[Fun when you’re a little kid (yay – an adventure!),
annoying and boring as a teenager (um, what for?),
joyful as an adult (let’s meet up – we’ll do a good walk and catch up).]
I think you officially know you’re an adult when you decide to ‘go for a walk’ or ‘admire the view’ without being forced to by your parents.

** We did Julius Caesar and Merchant of Venice, and I still remember the bit about revenge and the pound of flesh, and the “et tu Brute” bombshell.
(Can’t remember a thing about Oliver, and just ‘something about witches’ for The Crucible. Embarrassing to admit, but true.)

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How to practise exam technique, when there aren’t any formal exams

The beauty of your teen mastering the 6 elements of exam technique
is that these skills are essential for ALL aspects of their study.

Not just exams.

So, if your teen hasn’t had exams,
they CAN still practice, refine and hone their exam technique.

In fact, they absolutely should be doing that every single day of their study, by:

  • identifying the command word in every text book question
  • predicting the mark scheme in every extended response
  • working to time limits to be efficient now (and used to working to time limits for the real thing).



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2 keys to strategic revision planning

When it comes to revising, most students:
– Make a pretty wall planner that shows how many hours they are going to study on different days.
– Run out of time to cover everything they want to.

And yes, those two things are related ?

That’s why I developed and train students to use the Reverse-Engineered Revision Planning System to ensure they:

  • Cover the content they’ve strategically prioritised (using the 2-factor priority system)
    because they’ll almost always find there’s not enough time to cover everything in the detail they ideally want to when they PROPERLY plan.AND
  • Organise their revision according to outcomes in given time segments.

This excerpt from a recent Next Level Coaching Call (for grads of the 10WGT) gives details of these two keys to strategic revision planning – in real life exam prep.


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