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One of the major complaints from parents is that their children are told to revise for homework but they don’t necessarily know what this means. Sometimes students try the ‘well you can’t really revise for this so I’ve finished my homework tonight and I can watch Game of Thrones!’ If a teacher has set revision for homework it is possible to revise for the test! I wrote an article on how to revise and today I’ve brought together suggestions and ideas from others on what to do in revision sessions.
Preparing to revise
Having looked at your site, I realise this tip is far from being a novelty, but I thought I would reinforce the value of revision timetables. When I was at school, we had a history teacher who provided the entire class with blank revision timetables which we could use to plan our revision over the weeks ahead. He was an extremely methodical man – there were jokes about him numbering individual paperclips in his desk tidy – but he was the only teacher in our school who provided these sheets, and I can testify to the difference it made. I had the sheets photocopied and planned my revision out for other subjects, with the result that when the exams arrived, I *felt* as if I was well-organised and prepared because I had been following a programme. Quite apart from ensuring the relevant ground is covered, the psychological benefits are also helpful.
Make sure you don’t spend too long making or finding the revision timetables.Every year I post revision timetables for GCSE science (B1, C1, P1), GCSE Additional Science (B2, C2, P2) and GCSE single Sciences on my site and you can contact me via drnicholls(at)virtuallytutoring.co.uk for further help. Some people can use making revision timetables as an excuse to put off actually starting revising as teacher and examiner Phil Turner of Time Money Problem says
Stop procrastinating!Stop making revision timetables in beautiful colours. Stop planning and start work!
What to do in your revision sessions
1. Creating summary notes for quick review of the topic
Organize your information as you go, creating a cheat sheet study guide. Even a Trello board can help to organize things with links to more information that you can study for the exam.
I create lots of cheat sheets summarizing various data and formulae. The cheat sheets are intended not to bring to the exam, of course! Cheat sheets are great for organizing your knowledge. They work great for visual memory as well (Sometimes I remember what my cheat sheet looks like and I can instantly remember the topic). If you create a thorough cheat sheet of things you have trouble to memorize, you’ll keep things in your mind much easier and for a longer time period.
When I was at uni, I used to wake up very early on the morning of the exam and quickly go through all the material. My photographic memory seemed to work best at that time (quiet, fresh mind, no distractions) and I’d be able to recall the information I needed easily during the exam. I don’t recommend this method for long-term learning, at least not on its own. A few hours after the exam I wouldn’t be able to tell you the first thing about the subject. But it helps to pass the exam and it enhances your learning, if combined with other methods/activities.
2. Go to revision classes
Philip Turner from Time Money Problem advises looking at your revision from a different perspective
Revision classes are good, especially if it’s a different teacher from your normal one because you get a different explanation that will help with understanding
It’s about understanding, not memory. Try explaining it to someone else, a friend is best.
3. Practice past exam papers
A good place to start in preparing for exams, is to review and practice questions from past papers. Generally exams follow a pattern over a period. There may be recurring topics, or specific aspects of a certain subject area which examiners repeated expect students to explore. Examiners tend to like everyday topics which students will have to deal with as professionals or recurring problem areas. It’s a good strategy to review past papers and try to spot trends. But it’s not enough to review papers. Practice makes perfect. Take time in advance of exams to practice and master past exam papers.
Do you have any additional tips for revision sessions? Do you disagree with any of these tips. Please leave a comment.