Weekly Wyvern

Weekly Wyvern/College Newsletter

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From the Master
This weekend is a huge weekend for King’s. Elsewhere in the WW you will see all the details and arrangements that are in place but suffice to say there is plenty happening. We welcome large numbers of parents and families who are here to celebrate Parents’ Weekend.
On Saturday evening over 250 people will attend the King’s Cocktail party on the Terrace, Lawn and the Common Room Terrace. If your parents are attending it is expected that you will also. On Sunday, we have the opportunity to watch one of the great ICC events – the ICC Regatta. Best wishes to all crews for an incident free and successful morning. Congratulations to you all on what has been achieved thus far. The ICC Regatta is worthy of your strong support. It would be inspiring for our crews to have huge numbers at the Regatta on Sunday
Thank you to the Kingsmen in the band performing at the Cocktail Party on Saturday night – really appreciate your efforts in being involved and thank you also to the various volunteers.
Best wishes to the Water Polo team who take on St John’s in the final tonight and to the Chess team who take on St Leo’s in the final next Monday evening.
Greg Eddy
  • Saturday 27th May - Parents' Cocktail Party
  • Sunday 28th May - ICC Regatta
There were definitely valuable take home messages including the '20 Commandments of Wealth' to those who attended Noel Whittaker’s talk on Tuesday at King's. 
From the Director of Learning
I’ve sensed a different mood in the Learning Centre these last several days which indicates to me that there is some serious studying going on….or at least I hope so!
At this point in the semester there is little time to waste.  As we approach the final week of the semester teaching period I would encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to take a moment to write down and put in your calendars the items that you need to do/complete for the remainder of the semester.  Of course, this should include attending your last lectures/tutes/pracs, any study sessions provided by your course, and the exam prep workshops provided by the Student Services unit at the university.  You should also be attending the tutorials at King’s as the tutors can assist with preparing for the final assignment/exam.  In fact, many courses/units make past exams available on-line so you can review these during your tutes to get an idea of the type of exam you may be sitting.  If you’re needing assistance with your writing/proof-reading, the Writing Consultant, Brian, is available Monday evening and Thursday morning in Week 13.  Monday slots are starting to fill up so if you need to see Brian please let me know ASAP.
For students whose courses/units have been moved to ‘by request’ on the King’s tutorial schedule, or have not requested a tute this semester and would now like academic assistance please come see me so I can organise for you – the sooner the better!  
On a side note, if I can ask all students to complete a short evaluation form of your tutors and the tutorial program at King’s that would be greatly appreciated.  King’s would like to continue to improve the quality of the tutorial program while employing and retaining the best tutors – so it is important for us to get your feedback.  Please complete an evaluation form for every tutor you have.  We welcome your honesty and encourage you to write comments/feedback on the form.  The evaluation forms will be available in the Learning Centre near the computers and there will also be a box where you can place completed forms.  Many thanks in advance for your assistance with this.  
For those who attended Noel Whittaker’s seminar on Tuesday I hope you found it beneficial and encouraging.  Noel was very pleased with the turnout and the questions that were asked.  If you’re keen to read any of Noel’s books (after exams of course) they are now available in the Learning Centre.   
As always, if you have any questions or need my assistance please come see me.
Be good to yourself and work hard!
Thanks to Trevor Heath for some fantastic photos of the King's team running in the Great Court Race on Wednesday. A fine third placing after an incident earlier in the race left us behind. Well done to all involved!

From the Academic Consultant

Hello Kingsmen
Busy times. Great Court Race done, finals of water polo, cricket and rowing and the parents’ cocktails over the next few days.  And there’s study…more on that later.
It’s such a pity that the Great Court Race generates/d so little interest. It is now a series of races, individual and relay, finishing with the men’s college relay. King’s was defending champion this year. But alas no longer, due in large part to serious interference on the back strait.
The race has a history, being based on a similar run at Cambridge university, and which featured in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’, a hit in the 1980s. When UQ was about to have its 75th birthday in 1985, the planners apparently decided that this could easily be transposed to our Great Court.
The race, run to the tolling of a bell - it starts when the runners start, and finishes at the time of the previous record - was a highlight of those birthday activities. Although 32 years ago, I remember it clearly: masses of people, a minor royal, and a single race for men around the 636 metres under the cloisters. It was deemed so successful that it became annual event, expanded to men’s and women’s individual and relay races. And, given that the surface can be treacherous because of bits of gravel+, the two (almost) right angle corners, and some roughhouse tactics, falls are not uncommon and the fastest runners do not always finish first. But it’s a great spectacle…remember for next year!
On another tack: it been a sad week at the Heath house: Bertha died, unexpectedly. Bertha came to us three years ago after a moderately successful time on the (greyhound) race track, and after raising a little of 11 pups (imagine that many fitting into one uterus, and, later feeding from one set of teats). She must have thought she’d gone to dog heaven (where she now is, via a grave in the garden): from a cold, concrete kennel in the Brisbane Valley to the comforts of a St Lucia home. I mention this, not to seek sympathy, but to extol the virtues of ex-racing greyhounds as family pets.
Greyhounds have had a bad press, but this can all be sheeted back to people: the people who exploit them for racing. They are placid, friendly creatures who require little care or attention and in return provide companionship in a quiet, non-demonstrative way. They are patient and totally safe with children - with everybody - and quiet, barking rarely.  Some people, reflecting on their activity on the racetrack, assume that they need a lot of exercise. Far from it: after being released from the racetrack they are happy to spend >22 hours/day sleeping, interspersed with a couple of walks and a feed or two.
So, after leaving King’s (!!!) if you’re keen for a pet, consider adopting a greyhound. You’ll be  glad you did.
And now to study. I know that all of you, even those new(ish) to university, have already had to submit to some forms of assessment, and probably believe you know all there is to know about the whole exam process. But every exam period we hear of Kingsmen who feel that they have not done justice to their abilities. For that reason I’m adding another letter to Peter D, and hope that it will help at least some of you to avoid problems that could affect your performance.
With every best wish to you all
Letters to Peter Doobes

Hello Peter
Being assessed
So it’s assessment time again, with both progressive assessments (tute papers, midsems, assignments, prac write-ups etc) and final exams on your agenda. What can I tell you that might be helpful?

Although it might seem fairly obvious, it is worth mentioning that assessment plays more than one role in education. The more obvious  - sometimes referred to as summative assessment – is to assess whether the objectives for the course have been met; whether the student has passed the course. But at least as important is ‘formative’ – usually progressive – assessment, in which the student receives feedback to help them learn what is required. Although you probably had plenty of this at school, you may find that your university teachers vary a lot in the amount, timing and usefulness of feedback that they give on items of progressive assessment. That, as you have no doubt found already, can be frustrating.

When working towards pieces of assessment it is essential to plan ahead.  Draw up a timetable that includes each piece of assessment, and give yourself some indication of the lead-time needed for each piece. This is especially important where several pieces are due at about the same time, and you need to ensure that you are able to complete each, as well as everything else in your life, before each deadline. In doing this it is important to give some attention to the relative importance of each piece, both in terms of what you can learn from it, and the marks assigned to it.

If you have final exams, pay particular attention to planning your preparation, bearing in mind when each exam is scheduled, and following that plan (unless and until other factors dictate modifications to the plan). And think about where you can work best, preferably remote from friends, phones, computer games or other distractions, and in a place where the lighting, temperature and desk/chair combination give the best chance of working in the most effective and efficient way.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous letter, don’t be spooked by a large mass of material, but divide it into chunks that can be managed in a single session, and start with the easiest. Then you can build up momentum to deal with the harder bits.  When thinking about the sequence in which you will attack the material, make sure that you master the basic principles before taking on material that is based on those principles. Otherwise you may struggle, and not be able to work out why.

Also set (realistic) goals for each study session, and try to make sure that you achieve them before quitting. On that point too: try to finish on a high note, when things are going well. That will make it easier to get started again after the break.
Finally, as far as preparation is concerned: stay fit and healthy by paying attention to diet, exercise and sleep. Some students let these things lapse when obsessed by the task ahead, and forget that they will probably work more efficiently and effectively if they try hard to stay fit.

So much for the preparation, now the task itself: the assignment, the exam. Firstly, it’s really important to make sure that you understand what you are expected to do, both in terms of the instructions and the questions themselves.  In exams make sure that you are clear on how much time is available, how many questions must be attempted and whether they are of equal value, then calculate how much time should be spent on each, and then be meticulous in staying within the time allocated. So often when marking I’ve been saddened to find students spending too much time on earlier questions, leaving insufficient time for later question, without realizing that any extra marks accrued by going over time will almost certainly be lost if the final bell goes, especially if they have to leave out some questions altogether.

Then the questions themselves: pay particular attention to the verb: is it to describe, discuss, compare and contrast – or something else? Then plan out  - in your mind if not on paper – what you intend to say and in what order to provide a clear, logical and accurate answer.

As you develop the answer itself, keep checking to make sure that you are (still) answering the question that was asked, and doing so as economically as possible. Many students waste time by using unnecessary words (…’at the current point of time’, instead of ‘now’…sort of thing), or by including irrelevant material. And remember to attempt all questions, even if you feel that you know little. A few words may just earn those extra marks that you need.

And finally, an exhortation: check and check again to make sure that you do what is asked and at the designated time. For exams in particular, take steps to make sure that you are at the right place at the right time, that you follow precisely the instructions on the paper, and that you provide a clear, logical and accurate answer to the questions asked (not the ones that you’d prefer to have been asked). All this sounds blindingly obvious I know, Peter, but I stress the point because I’ve known so many students who have transgressed, and paid a high price. Please don’t.

Your ever-encouraging Godfather, Trevor
Thanks again to Trevor Heath for more fantastic shots of our rowers from the weekend. Aside from the great shot of Blake de Zwart's steely determination the second photo shows the University of Queensland IV, who will also be attending the Henley Royal Regatta, getting in the action.  
Tuesdays @ 7pm in the Chapel!
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