How I scored a KCSE grade ‘A’ of 82 points in a day secondary school
By SAM VIDAMBU
(This narration is based on true story.)
What good thing can come out of a dayschool? That is what many people ask. People believe that dayschools are all about garbage in and garbage out. That is not always true.
I schooled in Likuyani primary school for 10 years. I was there from nursery school to standard 8, but I also repeated standard 2 due to poor performance.
As an 8 year old kid who has just repeated and all my friends have been elevated to standard three I felt so bad. I decided to work so that I would never repeat again.
I thank God I finished standard 8 well and I scored 342 marks.
I couldn’t be called to a national school because my marks were low so I was invited to join St Peters Mumias Boys High School which was a provincial school by that time.
I couldn’t join Mumias because it was far from home and also my parents could not afford school fees for a boarding school.
Three days before form one admission date my dad carried me on his bicycle and told me that he wants to go and ask for a chance at Likuyani Secondary Mixed Day School.
I was against the idea but I couldn’t tell dad. Nobody wishes to study in a secondary school boardering the primary school which he or she was studying.
The Principal accepted that it was okay that I join that school considering the fact that most of the students whom the ministry gave the school had extremely low KCPE marks.
We began form one class, happy I was, extremely. 35 minutes was now 40 minutes. Standing up to answer questions was now just sitting down. Shorts were now trousers.
A boy was evolving to be a man. The happiness took the better part of my mind and that led to decline in my performance.
We had a few boys and girls in that school who had higher KCPE marks than mine. Funny enough, the students who were mostly topping were those who had low KCPE marks than us.
I knew there was a problem and if I couldn’t solve it early, then a crisis would become a catastrophe.
One day when I was looking after my father’s cattle near the swampy areas of River Kipsangui (the youthful stage of River Nzoia), I asked myself some questions. ‘What is the main difference difference between a national school and a small dayschool in the village over 7 Kilometres from Kitale-Eldoret highway?’
I realized that the difference was how we spend our time. Everyday had 24 hours, the difference was how it was utilised.
During the April holidays when I was in form one I met my good friend John Lihasi Aking’a whom we nicknamed Bokelo (from the legendary Congolese musician who was called John Bokelo).
I schooled with John Aking’a at Likuyani Primary and that guy was a genius, he scooped 418 marks in class eight and joined Alliance High School in Kikuyu, Central Province (now Kiambu county).
I knew I had to keep friends that would make a difference in my life. I used to tell myself ‘you don’t make friends but friends make you’.
I used to meet Bokelo on Sundays only because he was a hard boy to find. He was fellowshipping at Likuyani Quakers Church while I was a member of Likuyani PAG Church so we would meet after the service.
By then, Alliance high was among the big 5 and I respected Bokelo so much. As a matter of fact, I feared him by the fact that he was schooling at Alliance.
I was curious about how life was in a big school and he narrated everything. He asked me about my school, I had little to say, I told him, ‘Actually nothing much, just being in school by 7:30AM and leaving at 5PM’. I felt shy and looked down upon my school and myself.
From Bokelo’s conversation with me, I realized that preps time and weekend program was another major difference between students that do well and those who don’t.
There is a statement that Bokelo said that changed my life ‘Sam, the students who get A in my school are those who know where the 3 hours are’.
‘3 hours? What do you mean?’ I asked.
He answered, ‘See, in my school we sleep for roughly 7 hours, teachers teach for 6 hours 40 minutes (10 normal lessons), break time plus lunch is 1 hour 20 minutes, games time is 1 hour, supper time is 1 hour, preps time is 3 hours, assembly is 30 minutes, manual work is 30 minutes. All these adds upto 21 hours, a day has 24 hours, where are these remaining 3 hours?’
That changed my life for the better. I had mental transformation occasioned by mindset shift. My body was in a village school but my mind was in a national school.
When I joined term two in form one I was a different boy. I had a new strategy, Time and Value. I focused on studies and revision.
But I had one challenge, studying from home was a challenge because we did not have electricity, we had ‘koroboi’ which was not effective for studying.
I visited the Deputy’s office and asked him if I could be allowed to come to school earlier than others and leave the school later than others for the purposes of studying. The deputy knew my father, and he knew I was quite well disciplined so he accepted.
I started going to school by 5:30AM and I would leave school at 8PM. Remember, my home was around 3 kilometres from the school so I would spend around 45 minutes to be in school.
From what Bokelo said, I realized that successful students do not manage time, they create time. Everyday I created 5 more hours than others in our school. In the morning I created 2 hours (5:30AM to 7:30AM) and in the evening 3 hours (5PM to 8PM).
I was doing this from Monday to Saturday, those are 6 days, so in a week I was having 30 more hours of studies than others (5 hours daily × 6 days). In a month I was having 120 hours of studies more than others (30 weekly hours × 4 weeks in a month).
In a year I was having 1080 hours of studies more than others (120 monthly hours × 9 months of being in school in a year). Across the four years I had 4320 hours of studies more than others in our school (1080 yearly hours × 4 years in high school).
4320 hours! Just imagine.
Remember, in the morning I had 2 hours and in the evening I had 3 hours. So in the morning I would study one topic in one subject, and in the evening I would study two topics in two subjects. In my studying, I used topical KCSE questions from revision past papers.
I would answer the questions without referring and if I had a challenge I would confirm from note books and reference materials e.g KLB books.
I focused on consistency and not intensity. I knew the power of organisation, preparation, sacrifice, hard work, perseverance, extramile, prayers, determination and never giving up.
I did the program from form one term two and at first I could not see results, actually I continued declining in performance.
I remember one day the Deputy called me (he was teaching Geography and CRE) and he asked me ‘Vidambu, is there a problem? Last exam you were position 3 in form one with a B-, this exam you are position 7 with a C+, do you really remain in school to study as you had earlier suggested?’
In my mind I knew that Rome was not built in one day and the curve of life can only be straight when someone is dead. In life we must experience challenges. I knew that.
I also knew that it gets darker before dawn. I knew my time to shine would come. All I needed was a little patience and consistency.
In form one I didn’t have a star. In form two I had a star but it was deam and it was in form three when my star started to shine. I left form one with a C+, I left form two with a B, I left form three with a B+ and in KCSE I got an A of 82 points. From a day school, with 342 KCPE marks.
I trusted the process, I kept the faith and I never lost hope in myself. Just because I was born in poverty didn’t mean that poverty was born in me. Just because my daddy never reached the university did not mean that form four was it all for me.
I never defined myself by the size of my school, I defined myself by the size of my dreams. I never benchmarked my success through the failures and mistakes of my father, I benchmarked through my ambitions and capabilities.
To be fare and honest, most of the students in my school were low in terms of academics. I knew that you can’t be a giant defeating dwarfs then celebrating that victory.
No. Giants compete with giants. And the only way to be considered a giant even if you are a dwarf is by defeating a giant.
If you doubt the above statement kindly ask Goliath in 1st Samuel 17:50-53.
My good friend Bokelo at Alliance scored an A of 83 points, I from my village school scored an A of 82 points.
What can you do when you have nothing to loose? Start from where you are, use what you have and do what you can.
To God Be The Glory.
Sam Vidambu is an Academic Mentor with over 3000 high schools in Kenya running his academic programs.
His Academic Mentorship Programs revolve around Syllabus Coverage, Syllabus Understanding Strategies, Content Mastery, Content Retention, Content Delivery, Proper Revision Techniques, Time Management Strategies, Working Timetable, Study Book, Classroom/Staffroom Intercordination, Academic Cultures, Study Habits, among other great topics.
He is a Trainer of Principals during KESSHA conferences and teachers.
He is the President of Global Student Mentorship Center, He is an author, and a Lecturer.
To Have Vidambu launch their Candidates Academic Mentorship Programs in your school and be a Class Mentor kindly call/text/whatsapp 0743480435 (Sam Vidambu).
To have Mr Vidambu mentor your son/daughter call/text/whatsapp 0743480435 (Vidambu).