The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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In the IB Diploma program, I am taking Psychology at the HL level. This course fully revolves around real-life events, and there is a focus on biological, cognitive, and sociocultural levels of analysis. In addition to learning about these aspects, we need to know and understand many studies - which could be experiments, observations, correlations, and etc. These complex studies are used for short answer questions (SAQ) and Essays. Although a SAQ requires one study and an essay requires three (most of the time), students need to know much more to be fully prepared for an exam. From my experience, here are some of the things that I think are helpful.
If you have ever heard of APUSH (AP US History), you probably heard that it is one of the toughest classes at Windermere Prep. Compared to other schools, WPS offers this course at 9th grade, while other schools offer it at 11th and 12th. I am just going to flat out say that if you aren't willing to work hard and put in the time, then this class is definitely not for you, as the work never stops. Now as a former survivor of APUSH, I know a few things about how this class works, and what it takes to succeed.
The first part of this course is outlines. Every night, you basically summarize a part of a textbook chapter in a specific format, which Mr. Zoslow then checks the next day. Every outline is a total of 3 points, so as long as you complete it, you should get full credit. Of course it depends on how many pages your reading is for that night, but my outlines were around 10 pages, give or take a few pages. You might be stressing out during your first outline, and it might take you a long time, but just know that they get easier as you continue on throughout the year. My advice to you is to use every minute of the day for outlines. Even 5 minutes at the end of another class can get you a few paragraphs outlined. Don't worry about making everything perfect, because honestly Mr. Zoslow just scrolls through it, and doesn't actually read everything word for word.
KBATS are just a bunch of vocab words that you think are necessary to study for the unit exam. The catch is that Mr. Zoslow doesn't give you a vocab list, but you have to come up with the words yourself and then write definitions for them. My suggestion is to either underline or highlight your KBATS while you are outlining so you can go back and know which words you thought were important. Some won't agree with me, but I found it easy to complete my KBATS while I was outlining so that way I didn't have to worry about them later. You will just have to determine what works best for you. Make sure you are only doing definitions for words that are necessary, or you will end up with a couple hundred words for each chapter. Lastly, DO NOT procrastinate these. I guarantee the last thing you want is to have to complete a couple hundred vocab words in one night.
EDQs (essential daily questions) are a necessity in this class if you want to succeed. You get a specific question based off of your reading from the night before, and you have to answer it in the form of an essay. When you come to class the next day, there are usually 3-4 readers depending on time, and you get 10 points for reading your EDQ, even if it is completely wrong. It definitely takes a lot of courage to read in front of your classmates, but just know that your classmates really don't listen to the EDQs. Even though you may think that Mr. Zoslow isn't paying attention, he definitely is, so don't try to slide in some wrong information or information from a different topic. There are three main components that you have to include by the end of the year; thesis, contextualization, and synthesis. You will gradually need to do all three, but the first quarter is just composing a thesis. After you read your EDQ, Mr. Zoslow will ask you to repeat your thesis. Don't worry about not knowing how to write one in the beginning, but just make sure you know what you are talking about. Don't try to make up information that isn't true or accurate, because Mr. Zoslow will ask you about it. You want to make sure that you get your readings done as soon as possible. When you get to the end of the quarter, everyone is in the same boat as you, and then there are too many people and too few days for everyone to read and get their points. At the end of the year for me, there was a huge waiting list everyday for reading your EDQs, and some people emailed 2-3 weeks in advance for a spot to read. You want to complete them every night and not procrastinate doing them, because you will eventually have to turn in an EDQ packet at the end with all of your essays. It is definitely harder to write an essay and remember the information from a month ago, rather than just writing it the night you learned the material.
I'm not gonna lie; the unit exams you will take for APUSH will SEEM very impossible, but they aren't. After your first few tests, you learn what Mr. Zoslow is looking for, and what it takes to get a good grade. When studying for these exams, don't focus too much about the minor details, but make sure you know the overall picture. You have the whole class period to complete the test, so right when you walk in the door, make sure you already have your pens and highlighters in hand. Trust me: every minute counts. There are 55 multiple choice questions, and there is no possible way that you could get all of them right. I would recommend to spend about 10 minutes on the multiple choice because the essay is where you get the most points. When you get to the essay, make sure you do a little 2-3 min outline of what you are going to write, because that alone can get you 5 points. You get a point for everything you get right, but a point off for something wrong, or even more points if it is a really dumb answer, so just right everything that you know. However, if you are unsure of a date or a specific detail, don't write it, because you may get a point taken off for it. Make sure you frame the narrative, and for every person that you introduce, make sure that you describe him/her and not just simply write their name. If you are given documents, you MUST use all documents or else you will get points taken off. Keep reminding yourself that you are in APUSH, so make sure you don't find yourself focusing too much on other countries. Lastly, sleep is the most important thing. If you don't get enough sleep, your brain can't properly function, and you won't be able to remember any of the information.
Grading the Unit Exams
All of the APUSH tests are curved, which means that points are added on to your raw score. Your raw score is the actual grade that Mr. Zoslow got from your exam, but the curve is made based on how everyone else does. If everyone did really good on the test, then the curve is going to be lower, but if everyone did bad, the curve might be higher. There is what is called a floor, which is the lowest possible score someone could get. If you get lower than the floor, then the floor score is the one that shows up in the gradebook. For example, if someone got a raw score of 20, the curve was 40, and the floor was a 65, then they would get a 65 in their grade book. If someone got a raw score of 80, and the curve was 40, then they would get a 99 because that is the highest grade you could get. Just know that your first probably won't be the score that you wanted, but it will get better from there.
Use your friends for resources, because they are going through the same struggles that you are. Collaboration is key in this class, because there is so much information that you can't possibly remember all of it. Use your prep book, and watched jocz production videos. Before tests, look up practice essay questions and write out a brief outline just to practice to ensure you know the information. Take notes during class so that you make sure you are paying attention and can later use them for a review resource.
The AP Exam
At the end of the year, you will take the nationwide APUSH exam. It includes a DBQ, a long essay, multiple choice, and short answer questions. Your grade is given on a scale from 1-5, but don't expect that you are going to get a 5. Remember that you are going against juniors and seniors, and a 5 is really hard to get. I would definitely study a lot for this exam because you want to get at least the passing grade of a 3. Also, at the end of the year there is a US history subject test that is required for some colleges, so I would recommend taking it so that way you don't have to worry about it when you are a junior or senior.
One thing to know about this class is that it never stops, not even during breaks or on weekends. Even when you finish an outline, you always have one for the next day or another assignment you should be doing to get ahead. Despite all of the work that you have to do, it is really hard to do badly in this class, as long as you complete all of the necessary work. Even if you get the floor on every test but complete all of your EDQs, KBATS, and outlines, then you might end up with a B. This class is very independent, and it teaches you how you best learn and how to manage your time better. One thing to steer away from is comparing yourself to other people. Don't panic if someone already had their outline done for tomorrow when you haven't even started. Everybody works at their own pace and in their own way. By the end of the year, you will be thinking and working 10 times faster than you were in the beginning of the year. Just know that at the end of the year, you will finally be able to say, "I survived APUSH", and trust me, it's a great feeling.
If you've ever found yourself floundering to maintain your grades, barely getting by the first week of school, follow these tips and strategies I have cultivated over my past two years as a high school student at Windermere Prep.
Time management and Organization
When school, sports, and other extracurriculars get crazy, time management is key to maintain a good learning experience. As a high school student, or a student of any grade, you need to recognize what needs to be done urgently and what can wait. The best way to do this is by finding a system of organization. Whether it be a planner, Google doc, or a notebook, find a place where you can organize everything that needs to be done into categories: mandatory work, extra work, questions you might have, due dates, reminders, notes, etc…This will let you know exactly what you have to do, when, and what's coming up.
Talk to your Teachers
As much as you don't want to believe it, your teachers are here to help you! Don't hesitate to ask them for help after school or during SRT. A key piece of information worth remembering is that when you actively invest in your education, your teachers will notice this and think of you more often, finding ways to help you and always keeping in mind what you might need. They will come to you with more detailed suggestions and resources.
Review, Review, Review!
The best way to lighten up on studying for a final, midterm, or even a test or quiz, is to constantly review. Create a system where you review your classes, whether it be 15 minutes daily for each class, or a couple hours on the weekend. Doing this keeps the knowledge fresh, which will ultimately help you study effectively for big cumulative tests or exams. This will also keep you from cramming, giving more time to process the information. When you do this, studying is truly just review, not relearning!
Prepare for Classes
Another great way to stay on top of classes, especially challenging ones, is to introduce the next topic to yourself with some light textbook (or whatever resource is best for the class) pre-reading. This sets up the unit for you and puts you at an advantage. Don't worry if you don't understand at first, when you begin learning with your teacher and other students, your questions will be gone! This gives you more time to understand and process the concept.
Make use of your Resources
This might be obvious, but don't overlook any resources your teachers give you! These resources are an opportunity, use them wisely! The most accessible and best ones are those added by your teacher on Canvas. One of the best and most useful resources I have found is the canvas calendar. With all your future assignments and tests listed, you can see the exact workload for the upcoming weeks and plan accordingly. If you still find yourself struggling with the class, ask your teacher for more practice or good websites. You can also do your own research and find websites and books to help.
Take Good Notes and be an Active Student
Arguably the most important of these tips is to be an active member of your class. If you have questions, ask them! They are most likely legitimate questions that everyone else also has. They also might bring up a good argument or sub topic that needs to be addressed to avoid confusion later. You might just be doing everyone a favor when you ask questions. You should also try to make connections and share ideas to the class, as this could facilitate a well-rounded discussion with your peers. Lastly, take. good. notes. Find what works best for you and stick with it. This could be hand written notes, flashcards, typed notes…anything! Good notes does not necessarily mean copy every word down. Good notes are ones that summarize main ideas and include key details. You might also want to analyze the information you have and apply it in different ways to test your understanding.
Learn, do not Just Study
Make sure your priorities and reasons for studying are well-intentioned. Do not just study to attain the "perfect grade". Understand the information given to you, and be able to apply it. This is how you truly make use of what you learn in school.
Recognize the Importance of your Education
As much as we think the things we learn in school are useless, and while we might not remember them or use them later, that doesn't mean we shouldn't learn them! The benefit of learning something "useless" is not in its content, but in the skills developed and used. These classes teach us to think critically, analyze the information, and apply it. Attaining knowledge at our level is an opportunity, so seize every minute of it, whether you think it minuscule or not. And perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you, do it for yourself. Do it for your self-improvement, for your enrichment, and for your enjoyment. Find what makes you love learning and pursue it, no matter if it isn't the safest bet. Be a reasonable risk-taker. No matter what you pursue, if you do it whole-heartedly, you will find your way to success. Enjoy what you learn and do it to become the best version of you, to become a well-rounded and worldly citizen. And remember, grades are not the final and only measurement of intelligence. As long as you are trying, improving, and working hard, your grades will reflect that. If they don't, there might other aspects of an education that you are stronger in, and those are just as important!
Having effective study habits can reduce time and stress that comes with schoolwork. Here are some way that can make your life easier:
#1- Learn the Way You Learn
Everyone is individual with the way that they learn. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic are the three different ways of learning. Knowing what type of learner you are lets you study the information in a better way. You will find better results when you personalize the way that you study.
#2- Deadlines and More
After receiving an assignment, creating a schedule including deadlines and extracurriculars will help you prioritize tasks. With less procrastination more sleep and less stress will come. Having everything in the same place, like planner or calendar will make life much easier.
Learning how to talk to your teachers can be very beneficial. Most teachers are more than happy to provide extra help. Not only will this help you on your further assignments and tests, it also shows that you care about your academics. Some grades are given though work ethic so talking with your teachers can also a major grade booster.
#4- Studying for the Test
When studying try not to think of everything thing that has ever been said in class, this will add even more stress. When you start to study, focus on the most important topics. Once you have those topics and are confident with them, if there's still time before the test, you can then move on to the smaller details.
#5- Distractions Vs. the Quiet
When studying it is easy to turn on the T.V or your phone and get off topic quickly. Doing this however breaks your concentration and makes it harder to focus. With less distractions, more studying can be done and the amount of time it takes to study is cut down. If there is no place that you can study quietly, consider studying at the library. Distractions also come from getting up and getting things that you need to continue studying. Once you sit down to study, make sure you have everything you need.
#6-Night Before a Test
It is tempting to hold off studying until the night before. You might tell yourself that it is easier to learn more closer to the test in order to remember more. Create a schedule for a couple days before the test. Take some time review your notes and re-read important things in the textbooks. It might seem that that is a lot to do, but that lets the information sink into your brain in a way more natural way. Sleep is also very, very important. If you are tempted to pull an all-nighter you will only be hurting your chances of getting an A. With a proper amount of sleep, your brain will be in good shape on test day.
#7- Stay Positive!
Positive reinforcement is a very important and powerful thing. After finishing something for school, reward yourself. Whether that be taking a break from studying to get some food, or watching some Netflix, rewards are important. Breaks also can help improve studying, your brain can only take so much hard work at a time. It will keep your stress levels down and the information will also have a chance to sink in. With this new mindset implemented, procrastination can be cut down!
Many students dedicate a lot of their time to extracurriculars, sports, volunteer work, jobs, etc. I myself have dedicated my entire life to gymnastics, where I spend every afternoon of every week practicing for just a few moments of glory every year. Spending all of this time involved in something like this makes you realize how important time is, especially when you're involved in the IB program. After all of these years, I have picked up a few tips and tricks on time management and how balancing your social life, extracurriculars, and school work can be done effectively. I've finally learned that balancing my time would help me in the long run and would relieve a lot of unnecessary stress as well.
Firstly, realizing where your time is going helps you understand how you could be using your time better and create a more efficient schedule that lets you control where your time is being spent and how it could be spent better. Setting priorities helps you focus on activities that are most important and allows you to categorize the most important to least important things you need to get done. The best way to manage your time is to stay organized. I recommend using a calendar or planner and daily to-do list, to check off items as you complete them. I also recommend doing tough tasks first while you're fresh and alert and breaking large projects down into smaller chunks to complete these projects more efficiently. I know my main drawback when it comes to time management is procrastination. I've learned that the best ways to avoid procrastination is to set daily priorities, try focusing for short amounts of time instead of hours at a time, and attempting difficult tasks at your high-energy time since your concentration will be easier then. Don't allow interruptions, like a loud room to study or your friend's bothering you, get in your way or else juggling your work may seem much more difficult than it actually is and you'll just become more discouraged. These few tips and tricks may just save you from a sleepless night of studying in the future.
1. Don't write down any reminders or set any alarms about when the assignment is due.
Does a recently received assignment seem too difficult or tedious? Simply don't put any measure in place to remind yourself about it. Out of sight, out of mind! This is an important first step to procrastination, as it allows you to remove the assignment from your present conscious and reduce the current amount of stress in your life.
2. Take frequent and lengthy breaks from your work.
Once you've settled in to your desk or other preferred workspace after school, feel free to play a few rounds of 2048, browse the internet, or check social media. After all, if you never took breaks, you would quickly become overworked and your work quality would suffer. Take breaks whenever you don't feel motivated to work: you need them!
3. Don't set aside time dedicated solely to working.
It would truly be a shame if your work was regimented in constricting blocks of time. Your workflow is arrhythmic, and trying to 'plan' motivation would make you even less motivated than you already were. Therefore, don't make any schedules or timetables. In this way, you'll never have to work on an assignment until you truly want too. The inspiration will strike you when you're ready!
4. Do less challenging assignments (and complete other obligations) first.
If you don't want to start that 4-page essay, you can easily put it out of your mind by doing simpler work first. Complete small assignments and do chores so that you aren't forced to cope with the difficulty of writing the essay, At least you're doing something productive, right? The essay can wait until tomorrow while you do this work.
5. Fulfill every requirement for you to work optimally.
If you find that the assignment you're working on is becoming dull and your quality of work is suffering, it's most likely because something is preventing you from working well. Perhaps it's because your room is unclean—the aura simply isn't right. To put yourself back in the right frame of mind, clean your room for now and work on the assignment later. While you're up from your desk, be sure to make your bed, eat a snack, watch some TV, and play a few games of table tennis. Once you've gotten all of that out of your system, you'll certainly be able to work much more efficiently on your assignment.
6. The assignment is due 8:00AM tomorrow and it's 10:00PM? Take an all-nighter.
Plenty of people, from mathematicians to musicians, write out their most influential proof or greatest opus in one long, uninterrupted, feverish session. What separates you from them? You need to get this assignment done somehow, even if it costs a few hours of sleep. Why not work through the night and ensure the assignment gets done.
Turn in the assignment late—or don't turn it in at all!
If you're truly opposed to doing this assignment, you don't have to finish it before the deadline—or at all! For the former, it's easy to postpone working on an assignment if a teacher only takes off 2% for each day late, or better yet, doesn't deduct points at all if you turn it in shortly after the deadline. For the latter, there's no easier way to procrastinate an assignment than if you never actually do it. So omit summative work that's difficult yet takes up a small percentage of your grade, and omit formative work entirely.
As you may have guessed while reading through the above list, I don't actually advocate that anyone procrastinate. Procrastinating is an unhealthy and unsatisfactory habit, but it's one that is remarkably easy to slip into. Because of this, everyone procrastinates to some extent. In fact, I procrastinated writing this very blog post. Since many people procrastinate, it's important to note some of the factors and justifications that contribute to procrastination. As such, the "How to Procrastinate" list is an exercise in looking at some negative actions we take so that we may see what not to do. Instead of tackling the difficult assignment, which requires effort and focus, many of us would rather resort to doing something from the list. However, it's critical that you recognize the true stress that procrastinating generates, and avoid the items on this list as you see fit. I find that in general, it's beneficial to take the opposite actions of those on this list, and the quality of your work will increase while the amount of work-related stress will decrease. Take all of this with a grain of salt though, as something that works for me may not work you, and vice versa. But no matter how you conquer procrastination, doing so is certainly advantageous
What are some tips you have for students that are on the fence about doing IB diploma due to Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
There should no reason for students to be on the fence because half the week is a study hall and you will still have opportunities to get work done for your other classes and also the course is not hard. There is a a lot of reasons why one should be on the fence about doing diploma and taking TOK should not be one of them. It is also fun to be in the class, the good thing is that instructors can do whatever they want with the material of the class. So I try to choose fun activities and I think that the topics in the class are very interesting.
Could you give a brief summary of the TOK course?
TOK is about growing as a knower and putting together pieces of what you learn in your other IB classes. It is also about synthesizing knowledge.
And for students that are taking TOK, what are some tips for succeeding in the course?
To have an open mind and to be inquisitive.
Also what do you think would be better taking the online course or the actual class? And why?
I think the actual class is better because a big part of the course is discussions. And the online course lacks that. There is a lot of things you could do with the online course and you could still have discussions but the responses online would not be as thoughtful or as instantaneous as our live in class discussions.
Time management is a key skill in high school, but also in your life afterwards. Having time management allows for you to be less stressed because you have spaced out your work and also allows for you to revise your work to make it better. Playing a sport forces you to have good time management skills. Being a student athlete takes a lot of prioritizing, responsibility, and motivation to be successful in the classroom. Having good time management skills makes you create a balance of work time and down time. People with these skills know how to organize their lives so they accomplish everything they have planned for that day whether it's in school, in your sport, or with your friends.
1. Evaluate the last quarter.
How much effort did you put into the last quarter? Did you do all formative work, and all of the summative work? Did you study? These are questions that you can be asking yourself. If you find something that you could do better, like trading an hour of video games for studying, or getting to school on time, or even just getting eight hours of sleep, you can create easy ways to achieve this to make this an easier and better term for you.
2. Write down what you have learned.
Although it was just the beginning, there was a lot of subject material that you have learned. It may not seem important, but these topics will be on the midterm exams, though you learn them so long ago. This leaves many people reviewing in the last week and forgetting what to study. A way to resolve this would be writing down key themes from each of your subjects. This would be the most important things to know, and it doesn't have to be very detailed, just a sentence or two to help you remember. For example, in US history I would write "The Colonies" and "The Great Depression", and important figures during that time.
3. Look at the Syllabus!
What better way to prepare for the new quarter by seeing what you are going to learn? If you know the subject material, not only will you not be lost in class, but you will know what is coming up. This means you can also prepare beforehand, by reading or researching the main themes and facts.
4. Talk to your teachers
There may be things you are doing wrong or should be doing that you do not even know about. Ask your teachers on how you did in the quarter and what you can do to improve, from homework standards to classroom etiquette.
5. Make some goals!
Thanks to Skyward and Canvas, our grades are always there to see. You may not have reached a grade level you wanted to, or there may be a grade you want to achieve by the end of the year. A semester grade consists of the two quarters plus the midterm exam, which means if you know what your grade is this quarter, you can find out what grade you have to get the next quarter and in the exam to achieve the grade you want. This end grade will be a goal, and you can have certain goals leading up to it, like studying every night or getting or completing all of the reviews, and getting A's on the formative assignments.
In conclusion, don't waste time before the quarter, or think there is nothing you can do. Make sure you do what you need to do to have the best year ever!
During my time in middle school, everything seemed easy. Now there were a couple exceptions like TAP, but for the most part it was a breeze. I could go home do my homework in an hour and then watch TV or do something else. I had a lot of free time on my hands. At the beginning of the 9th grade year, I didn't think that 9th grade could be much harder than 8th grade. You would not believe how wrong I was. Now, most of the hard work came from my AP Human Geography class (which required at least 2 hours a night) and I was forced to learn how to manage my time well so I could have time to do some of my extracurricular activities, and other homework. The most efficient way to clear up time is to make use of your weekends. This may seem hard at first because your weekends are your only time off from school, but to manage an AP class with other activities you must utilize it. Utilizing the weekend can reduce the workload. You must stay organized during your 9th grade year or you will fall behind on your assignments. There are a few different apps that I recommend to get organized as they have helped me in the past. Using technology was a big help in knowing what is due and when.
The final difference between 8th and 9th grade is the immense pressure put on by college. When entering high school, you will have a moment of realization that now everything matters. Each test, each project, each choice that you make in high school will affect college. So in May, when you are looking at your course selection actually look at what classes you choose because those decisions can come back and haunt you. Make sure to pick classes right for you, not too hard or too easy but just right. You must put all your effort into each an every assignment because every grade matters and one grade can affect your quarterly grade in a positive way or negative way.
Many people have the desire to succeed, however sometimes it takes a lot of work to get to the point that you want to be at academically. My main tip to doing your absolute best is being on top of things. If a teacher were to give you a test a week in advance the best thing you could possibly do is study a bit every night until the assessment approaches. Many students will wait until last minute to study and will not perform at their best. This could be applied to any project given as well. As you get into higher grades the work amount will only increase, so if you started bad habits on procrastinating then it might be hard to break out of it. However, you will for sure see benefits when you begin to do your work in advance instead of cramming it the night before it's due.
My second most important tip is to use your class time. Many teachers let you complete work in class, to prevent the amount of homework you will have at home. Many students slack in class and talk to their friends or not pay attention, and that just will increase your stress levels in the future. It is way easier to do the work at school when you are supposed to than leave it to do when you get home in the afternoon. Following these two important tips, it is guaranteed that you will see an improvement in your performance and your stress level will begin to decrease.
As a student of Windermere Prep you are expected to strive for perfection and attain excellence, but this doesn't mean that you must be stressed all the time. With good time management you can be less stressed, get more things done, and even have some free time for other activities that you may enjoy. I used to always be stressed about getting good grades and doing all of the homework that I was assigned. I had to learn how to manage my time in order to get more things done and have free time do the things that I loved. I had tried many time management tactics, such as writing everything down in my planner, or even skipping some after school activities in order to get the best grade possible. This ended up stressing me out even more, I had to find a method that worked for me. I ended up using a time calendar. I know it sounds weird, but I got a white board and marker and would write down what I would be doing every half hour. This helped me to see exactly when I should be working on a certain assignment, or studying for a specific test. I now had seen where I had free time to spend with family and friends, and even go to all of my after school activities. This has helped me manage my time, but it might not help you. Find a system that works for you and stick with that method. Make sure to keep up with the method you choose as well. As long as the system works for you, it doesn't matter how weird it seems.