Ahoy, mates. This is your captain speaking. I know youre
navigating the rough SEA right now. Chances are youre
feeling a little SEA-sick.
Sometimes you can feel that the vast SEA goes on and on and
on with no end in sight. You feel like youll never reach
the shore. Its tough, but believe me, your ship will
come in. I promise.
When it does, you will find your land legs and youll
be just fine.
In the meantime, let me offer some advice.
1 Just realise a test is nothing more than a test! The SEA
is not the beginning and end of your life. Its an important
adventure, even a milestone, but panic will not ease the rough
journey. Work hard. Do your homework. Reward yourself with
some special activities. No one can ask you to do more than
2 Chart your course! Have a plan. The worst thing possible
is to wander around on that vast SEA. If you go off course,
you could get lost. Routine is good. Decide what work youre
going to do in a day. Work hard, but know your limits. If
you push yourself until youre worn out, who will mind
the ship? It will veer off course.
3 Exercise! I know some of you will have teachers or parents
who say you have to hoist the sails day and night, but you
know what? Once the sails are up and flying well, the deckhands
deserve a reward. If you get exercise, youll concentrate
better and longer. Youll get less headaches and feel
less stressful. Youll have more strength for when you
have to take those sails down in a storm.
4Read! Sailors have to make sure they suck lemons so that
they dont get scurvy on a long sea voyage. Books are
your lemons. Reading a novel 20 minutes a day wont keep
your teeth from falling out, but it will keep your mind sharp
and healthy. Books give you food for thought, build your reading
comprehension skills, reading speed and ability to make inferences,
so make sure you have a treasure chest of books before you
continue on your voyage.
Remember, to do better on any test, all you have to do is
read 20 minutes a day. Im sure you waste more time than
that in a day, so theres no reason why you cant
squeeze in 20 minutes of reading. Even at this late stage
in the journey, youll start to benefit from extra reading.
I really cant stress enough how important reading is.
5 Take stock of your treasure chest! While any book you read
will help you on your SEA journey, I recommend you stock your
treasure chest with books that will maximise your skill-building
efforts. I suggest Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. Its
a small book and a breeze to read. Even boys who dont
like to read have enjoyed this book, which is the best book
I know of to understand theme.
Anyone who is homesick on the SEA knows the importance of
visualising home so I also suggest my book, Legend of the
St Anns Flood, which was written with SEA in mind. When
you get a chance to come to shore, check out RIK and other
leading bookstores for these two books.
6 Keep a journal! You need to get used to writing. One easy
way to start is to keep a journal that reflects your feelings
and what youre doing. Keeping a journal will help you
get into the habit of getting that pen to move quickly across
the page. It will help your ideas to flow. Think of journal
writing like waves moving towards the shore.
7 Write on! Now for the writing tips on your writing trip
across the SEA. Start at the beginning of your story. That
means get into your story right away. We dont need to
know you got up, brushed your teeth, drove across town to
go to the port and got onto the ship. Start your story at
the beginning of the journey with something interesting that
sets the mood. You should already be on the sea when your
8 Use all your senses! If youre on a ship, you have
to rely on a lot more than your vision to get your bearings.
You could look out to sea for days and never see land. You
need to rely on all of your sensessight, smell, taste,
sound, and feel. You can see the sunset, smell the salty air,
taste the fear of an ocean swell and feel the breeze slapping
your face as you ride the waves. Create a tone with similes,
metaphors and personification. This whole column has been
an extended metaphor comparing your SEA exam to a sea voyage.
9 Always carry an anchor! Your essay is a journeyjust
like your ocean voyagewith a clear beginning, middle
and end. It flows with a themea central ideathat
needs to be a concrete image like a ship. You can write about
a journey, an abstract idea, but your journey will come to
life if you can see the ship and what it stands for in the
story. When you write, your mind should be like a camera following
some visual, concrete image through the story.
Well, shipmates, thats all the advice I have for you
Good luck on your journey across the SEA. I wish you smooth