Every great achievement in life requires preparation. There may be certain events – such as acts of great bravery – that might initially appear to be quite spontaneous; however when carefully examined, there has inevitably been significant preparation behind-the-scenes, through the development of character, values, physical and cognitive skills, that occurred long before the brief event on which there is focus.
Athletes train extensively; students prepare assignments and study for exams to demonstrate their knowledge and achieve specific educational goals; academics research and present the knowledge they have acquired; actors read scripts, learn lines and rehearse before performing; artists develop skills over time, prepare materials and draft ideas before they begin to create. Preparation – in various forms – is required, in order to achieve. The most effective preparation is specific to the task, involves persistence, diligence and attention to detail. A layered approach to preparation means that requisite skills are developed incrementally and preparation takes place over time prior to demonstrating what one is able to do.
Students who want to achieve academically must prepare prior to assignments and exams. A significant amount of preparation should be undertaken in order for students to be able to acquire knowledge and skills pertinent to the task which enables them to demonstrate their capabilities via the specific form of assessment.
Preparation begins in the classroom with immediate focus and sustained attention required in order to access relevant information, conveyed by the teacher. Although many high ability students have established a passive listening and learning pattern, this approach is no longer sufficient as students progress through their education – especially if they hope to achieve well. It is critical for students to become active participants in learning. Preparation begins in the classroom through active listening and note-taking; via engagement with the teacher, by listening and asking questions; with the topic being taught, by reviewing what is previously known and answering questions about the topic.
Preparation continues beyond the classroom with regular revision of notes taken within the class and the completion of homework tasks designed to reinforce learning. Students prepare for assignments by carefully understanding criteria and responding to the task. Students undertake research related to the topic and prepare a plan for how they will convey knowledge as well as time allocation to ensure completion of the task, on time. Likewise, successful preparation for exams includes allocation of the amount of work to be studied across the time available.
© Michele Juratowitch