The success of human endeavours

The breaking news this morning is the unbelievable achievement of Kipchoge, the marathon runner who has run 26 miles in under 2 hours!!! What an incredible achievement and a testament to the hard work, will power and teamwork required to achieve such a feat.

Having 42 pacemakers, runners whose sole purpose is to keep Kipchoge running at the required pace, and a car with a laser pointer showing up to date markers for a sub 2hr time, Kipchoge was supported by a team who helped drive him on to achieve his goal.

This story got me thinking about the olympics and athletics in general. Year on year, personal bests are being achieved and records are being broken. How? From improved training methods, will power and dedication to the cause.

As a human race, we continue to go from strength to strength. This should serve as great motivation to all students that find their goal insurmountable at this present time. Nothing is insurmountable, you just need to plan how you are going to get to your goal.

I hope Kipchoge’s achievements inspire you - they have certainly inspired me to continue to follow my path in life and hopefully achieve my varied and numerous goals! Have a great weekend!

Excuses season!

So…..

As I write, we are over a month in to the academic year. The weather has started to turn, positive starts are starting to be tested and routines are starting to become struggles.

It is at this point of the year, right up to the christmas holidays, that is the biggest test for students. Do they have the resolve to continue to work hard each day? Complete all homeworks? Stick to a revision schedule even at this stage of the year?

It is all too easy to take a week off and before you know it, exams are around the corner. One missed week becomes one missed month. It is at these testing times that the mindset of a student makes a world of difference. Overcoming that ingrained resistance to continue when the brain keeps telling you to take a break is the biggest challenge of all. However, overcoming challenges like this is what leads to the most positive outcomes!

We are all only human, and no one can be faulted for feeling like taking a day off with all the peripheral distractions and desires that can easily take us away from our studies. It takes a strong mind and willpower to maintain the course and appreciate that by keeping on doing the right things will lead to that all elusive delayed gratification which brings about the most positive feeling of success!

So, are you going to make an excuse for not doing what you should today? Or will you grit your teeth and get on with it so you can continue to improve? I wish all readers the best this week and hope they can maintain their mindset to keep grinding out little wins from each day! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

What will you become?

We live in ever changing times. In the mid 1900s, a job was a job for life. People trained for a job and expected to be in that job until retirement. Nowadays, working professionals are on average having 3-4 different jobs in their working lives, but what about the next generation?

With advancements in technology, robotics and artificial intelligence, there will be many future jobs which no longer require humans to complete. We are moving into a time where students are in education and their jobs in the future haven’t even been created yet!

When I was a student studying A levels, computers were labelled as the future career and that they would become integral in everyday life. This has proven to be true and those with the digital acumen and training at that time have become the coding wizards that head technological companies across the globe.

What is my point? Well, I suppose my point is that we can never know the future, but we can have an inkling about what it may hold. If we have an idea of the future, we can already start making our plans for our future. I know of many students who have little to no idea of what they want to do, but most importantly they haven’t tried to find out what is out there of interest to them. Quick google searches of jobs in areas that interest them would help give students an idea of what skills they need and what they need to do to become eligible for such jobs.

My other point is that, when I hear students say they don’t need particular subject qualifications, they are sorely misguided. If students can understand that they will most likely have 5-10 jobs in their life and these could span a wide range of sectors, then they will soon realise that they will need transferable skills and a breadth of knowledge to give them the best possible chance of success. So I say to those students, do your work, don’t disregard any of your subjects, research careers of interest and try your best each day. It’s never too soon to plan ahead.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that those students with the best credentials will have the wider range of options available to them and are best placed to succeed. And for the more mature students reading this, we are never too old to learn new things and change career paths! Wishing all readers a happy and wonderful weekend!

The parting wisdom of Steve Jobs

Today I read an interesting post about Steve Jobs. For those not aware, Steve Jobs was the pioneer of Apple and led technological developments of products such as the iphone. He died recently of pancreatic cancer, which is a particularly aggressive and notoriously difficult cancer to treat.

In this post, he left behind a range of useful hints and tips for life. His five undeniable facts were….

  1. Do not educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy - so when they grow up they will know the value of things, not the price.

  2. Eat your food as medicine, otherwise you will need to eat your medicine as food.

  3. Whoever loves you will never leave you, even if he has 100 reasons to give uo. He will always find one reason to hold on.

  4. There is a big difference between being human and human being.

  5. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

He also recommended the six best doctors in the world….

  1. Sunlight

  2. Rest

  3. Exercise

  4. Diet

  5. Self-confidence

  6. Friends

All sound advice which will help us to live richer, more fulfilling lives if we follow! Steve also discussed the fruitless hunt for wealth that most people tend to seek. Why have a £300 watch when a £30 watch will still do the same thing. Why have a £100 wallet when a £10 wallet will still do the job of storing your money!

The irony of this comment though is, why did he not mention about keeping your existing iPhone, when it does the same things effectively as the latest model! Food for thought eh?!

Fail to prepare....prepare to fail!

It never fails to surprise me when students ask me what grades they need for college weeks if not days before their exams. At this point in their academic year, it becomes a big challenge for students to achieve their aspirations if they need to improve their current performance by 2-3 grades to get onto their college courses!

I had a lovely student this week, who is above target but who at best will achieve a grade 5, asking me what she needs to do to become a doctor! I had to be honest with her and inform her that at this time, it was highly unlikely that she would be able to achieve the grade required to pursue such a career. It was made all the more difficult because this particular student was a lovely hard working student but has historically struggled in her core subjects. I did however encourage her to explore medical related courses and the entry requirements and offered to support her as much as I can for her to achieve the grades she needs to pursue such a course.

However, this whole experience has led me to think about the importance of planning. As a child I used to find it funny seeing my father write pages and pages of information and calculations, planning 5-10 years into the future. I now see the value of such planning and it has helped shape my future in the last few years, from improving myself personally, academically, professionally and with regards to building my tutoring business.

If students consider their future for the next 2-3 years, they can effectively map out how they can get to the goals they want. They can plan what they will do each week and periodically conquer each part of their journey towards a successful outcome. As I always say, consistency is the key and this is what separates the wheat from the chaff. I hope all of our students can overcome day to day struggles and consistently perform week in, week out, to achieve their aspirational goals!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Early days!

That alarm that’s been off all summer has been reactivated and the early starts are back in full force! The kids are back to school with all the correct equipment and wearing their uniforms beautifully. Silent lessons, good behaviour and positive attitudes are all on show and as a teacher I couldn’t have wished for a nicer start to the term.

Having spoken to several teachers this week, they are all happy with their groups and pleased with the start they have made. So much so, I have felt the need to warn them against falling into a false sense of security! Having taught for well over a decade now, I have grown accustomed to students making positive starts but as the term progresses, resilience tends to wane and standards start to slip!

So the message this week is resilience. Not just for a student, but for all of us in the rat race in our day to day jobs. How often can you turn up, do all the right things and try your best each day? Can you still give your all after many weeks without a break, with the cold weather setting in and the days drawing to a close at 4pm?

Good luck to all those starting school and all those professionals returning to work after a summer holiday! I hope you have realigned yourself to your routines and wish you all a positive start and that you are able to consistently perform to your high standards day in day out! Have a great weekend!

Back to school! Are you ready?

One more weekend to enjoy before another academic year begins, then it is full steam ahead with a new term for all of our staff and students!

Whether you’ve had a difficult year last year or performed admirably, a new academic year represents a fresh start. Time to get off on the right foot, with the right mentality to succeed. Historically, students start the new term with all the right kit, impeccable uniform and a positive attitude to school. However, this seems to wane as the term progresses and the weather changes, leading to students becoming weary and bogged down with the school routine and workload.

The word ‘routine’ is often associated with boredom and bland processes that are repetitive and I believe we need to change our mindset when it comes to this word. To me, routine means the opportunity to get back into a positive and productive way of life, with each daily process cumulatively adding up to lead to future success and achievements. If we can encourage all students to embrace the positive outcomes of having a good daily routine, they will also see the benefits of it.

So, my message as we approach the new term is - embrace the positive routine, give your all each day and know that by doing this, you will be in a great position when those end of year exams come. Your reward will be the self-satisfaction of knowing you’ve given your all throughout the year in addition to the positive results you will achieve!

Success! The hard work pays off!

The waiting is over and what a GCSE results day we had! From a personal perspective I was delighted with the performance of my students who did very well and I was humbled by the cards and nice emails received showing gratitude for the support provided over the year. We go again in September and I hope our new batch of year 11’s can hit the ground running in the hope of achieving successful outcomes this time next year.

Congratulations to Ava who came to CBA Science struggling in Physics and ended up with it being her strongest science score and achieving a grade 5!

Congratulations to Hafeeza who came to CBA Science at a grade 3/4 and achieved a combined grade of 5-4!

Congratulations to Hamza who came to CBA Science at a grade 4/5 and achieved a combined grade of 6-5!

Hard work pays off and I look forward to welcoming new students to our tuition programme this year, we start on September 8th so enjoy the rest of the holiday while you can!!!

Back to life....back to reality!

Apologies for the belated nature of my latest post, I’m going to put it down to the holiday blues after my return from wonderful Andalusia!

In a way, it is good that I am writing this on a Monday, as for me, this day is the fresh start day. It is the day that I get back into my usual positive routines and look ahead to a successful week of productivity. I look forward to the exam results on Thursday and wish all our students well, a fitting reward for their hard work throughout the academic year.

This week can be a nerve-jangling one for many students, one where regrets start to set in about how much revision was done. It’s easy to enjoy the holidays right after the exams, but this gets progressively more challenging as the dreaded results day approaches.

My advice to students always has been and always will be the same. Work as hard as you can during the academic year so you can enjoy the longest summer academic break you’ve ever had with no regrets or nerves come results day! Although this advice may be as belated as the blog post for students awaiting results on Thursday, I hope it can provide some value to students yet to enter their final academic year.

Re-apply the suncream!

As I sit here on a beautiful Saturday morning in sunny Andalucia, I can’t help but keep asking myself why i didn’t reapply the suncream after a four hour session on the beach yesterday! My shoulders are a lovely shade of rose red and sensitive to even the lightest touch, which makes me a little daunted by my remaining days in the scorching heat of southern Spain!

I am a fan of metaphors and analogies with respect to my blogs, and I can’t help but link this to the concept of revision and study skills. Just going over a topic once isn’t enough to protect you against the challenging out of context style questions in GCSE exams, just like applying suncream once isn’t enough to protect skin from prolonged exposure to 30+ degree sunshine on a beach!

Heed my words wisely and if you are fortunate to be in a sunny place, re-apply that suncream!

The importance of being idle!

The holidays are in full swing and I am currently enjoying a road trip through the wonderful Andalusian area of southern Spain. As you can see from the picture below, it’s a beautiful area of the world and the temperatures are currently in the late 30 degrees!

Whilst I have been taking in the vast array of culture on offer in all the little towns and cities along the way, I have been making a conscious effort to spend quality time relaxing too! If you’re anything like me, sometimes a holiday is needed after the holiday to rest and recuperate from all the excursions! Not this time!

It is important for staff and students alike to really take advantage of these holiday times we are fortunate to have, as we will soon enter another academic year which brings with it a rigorous work load, where a week can feel like a month and a term can feel like an eternity! So my message this week is to relax, enjoy the time off with friends, family, have good food and take advantage of the holiday season!

cf1d1e35-5a39-4482-b8d9-57064f9dd4f5.JPG

There's no easy way out!

So, the summer holidays have started and this year my first DIY project is the decking in the garden. Funnily enough, it is the same DIY project that I undertook last year!

After hours of cleaning and hard graft on the decking boards, last year we painted directly on it and it looked great! However, the effect only lasted for a few weeks, as the paint began to chip away from the decking boards. In all honesty, after cleaning the boards for hours, the last thing I wanted to do was sand them down and make them ready for the paint to bind onto them.

However, I am now paying the price, literally! More paint, new boards and more time required to do it properly. When it’s finished it will look great and last for years I hope! This whole series of events ties in perfectly with studying for exams - cutting corners doesn’t work! It takes thorough preparation and completing all aspects of the course to ensure a positive outcome.

I feel like a student who underachieved in English or Maths and now has to do it again while they’re at college! Please don’t make the same mistake I did, prepare effectively and do the job properly first time so that you can then enjoy the fruits of your labour!

A Historic Week!

Wow….what a week we have had!

It started with what can only be described as an unbelievable cricket world cup final, where England became champions of the world after a super over due to a tied 50 over game. Now, I have to admit, cricket is probably my least favourite sport, but on Sunday I was gripped by the action - there were some truly astonishing events that unfolded on that pitch and it can only be described as destiny that led to England overcoming adversity to win the cup.

What probably impressed me the most was New Zealand’s humility and respect for England. They recognised the cumulative effort the English side had put in over 4 years to get to the position they are in and despite the luck they experienced on the day, that they were worthy winners. To be on the losing side, commenting to the reporters so soon after a devastating loss and showing the humility they did made me have a lot of respect for the New Zealand players and it is a lesson to all of us about how to lose gracefully and remember that failure is part of the pathway to future success.

This week also marks the historic moon landing which took place 50 years ago, which symbolises the ingenuity and determination of humans to achieve what most thought was unachievable at the time. I watched a documentary which detailed the intricacies of the journey and it is truly mind-blowing that we were able to achieve such a feat when our technogical prowess was a fraction of what it is now! In case you are planning to watch said documentary, I will give nothing away, but the sheer distance from the moon and manoeuvres which needed to be employed to complete the journey, and let’s not forget, to get back home, beggars belief. It just goes to show how much can be achieved when you have a plan, a good team around you, and the right mindset to get the job done.

I finish with the time that teachers and students look forward to each year - the summer holidays are here! Cue the perennial complaints from friends in the private sector about excessive time off, followed by the rebuttals from teaching staff about how the time off is well earned for all the efforts during the academic year. I can only speak from personal experience and until you try it yourself, it is hard to describe how intense school life is on a daily basis. The holidays, from the outside, might appear to be too much. However, I’m sure you’ll find few teachers agree with you. Teaching staff and students have worked incredibly hard all year and showed great resilience to crack on even when they are tired, unwell and just generally drained! So, on a personal note, I’d like to wish all staff and students a wonderful time off over the holidays to recharge the batteries and take some time to appreciate the finer things in life and ‘switch off’ from academia for 44 days!

I will continue to be posting each week and I hope you all can stay tuned! Please feel free to comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Why are we so resistant to change?

Welcome back! It is time for another weekly post, this time it is about change.

Now I don’t know about you, but for me change is something I always tend to be a bit cynical about. Having worked in the teaching profession for over a decade, the concept of change has become something of a joke amongst teachers… and for good reason. As governments periodically change, they bring new initiatives that schools are obliged to follow. This process, over the years, has led to teaching following the path of fashion, whereby teaching styles fall out of favour over several years only to come back to the fore later on.

With this in mind, sometimes it is difficult to accept change. In addition to this, there is, for most people, a natural resistance to changing processes and procedures. We are habitual creatures and once we become accustomed to how things work, we naturally want to keep things that way, as we are now comfortable with the systems and routines in place. It takes time to learn a new habit/technique!

Yes, change is difficult, but without it what will happen? If a school has poor results and doesn’t change what it does, how does it expect to improve? What about business - even successful ones? If they don’t continually reinvent themselves, they become overtaken by their competitors. What about us on an individual level - if we don’t change how can we possibly improve our lives?

As a society, we have become entrenched in the concept of instant gratification. If you’re bored, watch TV. If you want to see the next episode of your show, download it using a boxset. If you can’t be bothered cooking, fast food is a click away - I mean… they even deliver McDonalds now! But what happens once you have watched the next episode, or you have just had your delivered fast food? The mind looks for the next form of instant gratification, so we are caught in this routine of looking for short term satisfaction but miss out on long term gains.

Delayed gratification is the answer and it is becoming more popular with people. The only problem is, it takes time and being the impatient species that we are, this is a challenge to embed in our daily habits. Deciding what to change, implementing it and patiently waiting for the delayed gratification of a successful outcome leads to a much greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You don’t have to take my word for it, there is plenty of information online to back up my statement.

The question is, what do YOU want to change in YOUR life? How can you do it? Are you prepared to take the journey along the delayed gratification route? Have you mapped out how long it may take before you achieve your goals?

In summary, change is incredibly difficult to implement and even harder to stick with for a sustained period of time. However, if we don’t change, how can we possibly expect things to be any different to how they already are? I hope you can use this information in a way that will help you become the person you want to be.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment and share!

New Beginnings

So…..

As I write this there are two more academic weeks left until the end of term. We recently said goodbye to our year 11 students, who worked their socks off this year and I salute them for all their efforts in such a difficult and stressful year of their young lives! It was nice to see them visiting teachers after they have officially left, bringing cards and gifts to show their appreciation.

My mantra during the gruelling exam preparations was for students to keep going right until the end, so that they could enjoy their extended summer break before moving on to pastures new. It seems as though the work ethic they adopted in school has extended to the summer - the students I have seen since they left have explained how bored they are after a couple of weeks off and how they are looking for summer jobs to keep themselves busy! Fair play to them and I hope this positive work ethic continues to serve them well in the future!

Well, the title is new beginnings because at this time of the year I always wonder. What do I wonder? Well, I think about what people are planning to do with themselves! At this stage in the year, there are two options, the first being to get through to the end of term, have a nice holiday and recharge the batteries ready for the next academic year. The other option, the one I prefer, is to keep going in a positive manner to the end of term, have a break but most notably, reflect on the year and how to improve upon the return back to work.

Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing time and time again but expecting a different response/outcome. Isn’t it time that we didn’t just understand and acknowledge the insightful statement, but instead choose to act on it. Have you performed to your maximum this year? Have you been seeing the same results but not tried to do things differently to achieve a different outcome? This doesn’t just apply to education, it applies to all walks of life!

How often have people signed up to the gym as part of a new years resolution, only to find themselves still paying a subscription in september having only visited the gym a handful of times? Or how about starting a new diet and gradually having more ‘cheat’ days than diet days?

New beginnings means deciding to change something in life. However, for it to truly become a change, it needs to become embedded in your routine, which only happens through discipline and consistency. I hope this post has helped readers reflect on their year and importantly how they can change to do even better next year!

Thanks for reading :)

Welcome to our community!

Whether you are reading this for yourself or for someone you know who wants help with their GCSE exams, we are here to to help. Are you struggling with exam stress or just stressed in general? Are you tired of doing the same thing each day and not achieving different outcomes? Are you looking for ways to develop academically or more holistically as a person in general?

Sometimes, we find ourselves treading water - coping with the daily stresses of life, work, family, friends, finances etc. The keyword is ‘coping’. Isn’t there a better way? Couldn’t things be done differently to improve the quality of life you are currently experiencing? Isn’t it time to begin the journey towards a more successful life and in turn a more successful state of mind?

At CBA Science, we are passionate about developing each individual we tutor. Face to face, we help develop student confidence and ability in their subjects, whilst also developing communication skills and making students feel better about how they are performing during the stresses and strains of the academic year.

However, it doesn’t stop there. This blog is designed with the aim of helping. Nothing more, nothing less. This help can come in various forms and cover various topics, from healthcare to state of mind, from revision tips to daily life suggestions. I hope that by reading this blog you will find help and support in all walks of life and that it provides readers with the support they need to continue on their journey to success!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for regular updates, please keep comments clean and positive!