Dean of Studies | Mrs Julie Quinn

On Tuesday we celebrated the academic success of our Seniors of 2017, 30 students received Scholars medals for their achievement of an OP score of one – the highest possible result. Our assembly not only gave recognition to the boys who received this OP score but also to their peers and their teachers.

Each of the students listed below shared the strategies that they believed were most helpful in enhancing their study. These strategies along with individual achievements were published in a booklet that was issued to each of the boys at Terrace.

I strongly encourage our current students to read this booklet and use the wisdom of “the men who have gone before them”

Our congratulations to the following students who received the Scholars' medal:

  • William Bingham
  • Hamish Brown
  • Daniel Burgess
  • Joshua Cabucos
  • Alexander Campion
  • Joseph Cappello
  • Seunghwa Cheong
  • William Cook
  • Patrick Cummins
  • Xavier Cunningham
  • Lachlan Dunk
  • Liam Falconer
  • Carl Franzmann
  • Sean Galloway
  • Joshua Hagemann
  • Henry Hanson
  • Jack Kimmins
  • Charles Marshall
  • Adam McNamara
  • Jack Moore
  • Hunter Preston
  • Hamish Quinn
  • Connor Ryan
  • Patrick Self
  • Patrick Sharkey
  • Isaac Wade
  • Callum Waite
  • Benjamin Wilson-Boyd
  • Benjamin Woodrow
  • Connor Wright

Congratulations also to Liam Byrne who received the student award for significant improvement across the year both in results and work ethic.

Below is an extract from the address from Patrick Sharkey (Dux 2017) to our assembly:

“In his final address to the 2017 College community, Vice-Captain Bill Bingham brought a Rubik’s Cube to the lectern. For those of you who weren’t here (or don’t remember because you were distracted by Bill trying to solve the cube), Bill used the Rubik’s Cube as a metaphor for the process of progressing through school. While Bill acknowledged that there are millions of ways a cube can be solved from any one position, there is no doubt that some of these paths would be much more efficient than others. It is all well and good to say that you are going to sit down and try to solve a Rubik’s cube, but without any proper direction or strategy, are you actually going to make progress and be any closer to a solution, or will you end up just twisting faces? In the same way, when you sit down to study, have you made a specific plan that will give you the best chance of improving your understanding, or, like the person who doesn’t know how to solve the Rubik’s Cube, will you just sit there and turn pages? Indeed, it is how you study, not just the act of studying itself, that will assist you in achieving your academic goal. As my recently-retired piano teacher always said, “practice does not make perfect, but perfect practice will lead to improvement.”

When you take the time to study, it is important that you are actually being productive. While it can sometimes feel as if you should be studying for hours on end, shorter sessions with an effective plan can be much more worthwhile. Just as a Rubik’s Cube is simpler to solve if you know the right algorithm, it is easier to maintain focussed periods of study if you can construct an effective plan.

Different techniques will work for different people, but I always found that answering questions was a much more effective method of study than reading material or taking notes. Questions not only require you to recall the information you have learnt, but they ask you to link it to its applications and related concepts. The more you have to think about something the higher chance you have of retaining that information, and it is easy to copy notes from a textbook without actually thinking about what you are writing. While you can be falsely convinced that you know something when you read it, answering a question will show you whether you actually know it, and whether you may need to spend some more time on it. Planning a series of questions to complete in a period of study will help you stay focussed and engaged with the material, and hence contribute to an effective study session.

To study effectively, you must also minimise distraction. With this in mind, you will be a much more effective studier if you write by hand. Not only has handwriting been shown to create a better link to your brain, but you also remove the distractions that are associated with your laptop when you close it, use a hard-copy textbook, and write on paper. Although your laptop is an excellent learning tool, you will be surprised at how much work is possible without using it; you are given hard-copy textbooks – try to use them as much as you can.

You can also maximise your study time by adapting your study materials to make them more effective. For example, just because a revision test is designed as a multiple-choice test doesn’t mean you have to use it as one. Answer the question as if it was a short-answer question, and write a justification as to why your answer is correct. You could even take the next step to write a justification as to why the other options are wrong. All of this means that you are thinking more about the question than if you just circled the correct response and are therefore more likely to retain the information.

Doing hours and hours of preparation does not necessarily mean that you will meet your goal for the upcoming exam; that time must be used effectively. By studying effectively, and using methods that work for you, you can work through more material in more subjects, and also afford to spend a little more time away from the desk. “