Dean of Studies | Mrs Julie Quinn

One of my favourite youtube clips shows the antics of several young children when given a marshmallow. These young children were instructed they were going to be left alone in the room and when the supervisor returned they would be rewarded with an extra marshmallow if the original one had not been eaten. Results from this experiment showed:

The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years and repeatedly, the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeed in whatever capacity they were measuring. In other words, this series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life.

• If you delay the gratification of watching television and get your homework done now, then you’ll learn more and get better grades.
• If you delay the gratification of buying desserts and chips at the store, then you’ll eat healthier when you get home.
• If you delay the gratification of finishing your workout early and put in a few more reps, then you’ll be stronger. 

Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about. The message emphasises a link between distractions on social media, technology and focussing on a task. If we use a similar comparison in training for sport, we would not expect or condone multi-tasking while learning how to tackle in rugby or feather the oar in rowing. The importance on focussing on one task at a time is imperative in successful learning.

With the end of term and exams in our sights, I quote some of the key strategies given to the community at Scholars’ assemblies:

“Use your diary: it is the best quantitative measure of your study.
Attend as many tutoring sessions as possible: these are great opportunities to clarify topics with teachers, seek advice on answering questions and even complete some revision.
Make sure you are revising from day one: rolling revision will ensure that you know every type of question that will appear on your exam paper.”
“If you want to achieve to the best of your abilities, you need to be motivated. Motivated to study when you’d rather be distracted, motivated to skip events to revise your Maths outline a third time, and motivated to move past a bad grade and keep pushing for your limit. 
When studying, write a detailed plan of all that you need to cover; break it down into 30 dot points if need be. Every time you sit down to study, aim to tick as many off as possible. The reward from seeing a large section of “what I need to do” ticked off, incentivizes you to keep going. 
Before beginning to study, switch off your phone until you decide to take a break and use the "self-control” app on your computer to block social media sites – you can study less if you’re efficient.”

Exam timetables will be distributed in the coming days that will allow boys to further refine their study plans to accommodate the placement of each exam. Consolidation of learning needs to happen now and not in the week leading into exams. Our aim is that we finish the term knowing that we have done the best we can.