Revise With Pearson18th September 2023
Students need to hit the ground running when term starts in September to feel fully prepared for their GCSE exams next summer.
It may feel a little early to be talking about exam season, but we know that planning students’ revision from the start of term will help grow their confidence – and their knowledge. Revision is most effective when it starts early and continues over several months. So with that in mind, how can we support students to be organised, mindful, and effective as they prepare for their GCSEs?
Our tips below could help get this year’s revision off to a winning start.
‘Little and often’ beats cramming
Short, regular revision sessions are far more effective than spending hours trying to cram. By allocating 15-minute blocks to a particular topic or subject, students will be better engaged and motivated. This is especially effective when learning lists, e.g. French vocabulary or scientific definitions. It’s often helpful to leave increasingly bigger gaps before returning to topics to make recall more challenging for students (and to force them to think hard about their answers!) We can help students to map-out how many study sessions they will need at home, too, ensuring they don’t feel overwhelmed or under-prepared.
Include extra-curricular events in revision timetables
Encourage students to include extra-curricular activities, family commitments and other important tasks in their revision timetables. This will help them to manage their time and juggle any other commitments. Breaking up long revision periods with other events will also help make the exam period seem less daunting overall.
Steer clear of rote learning
To be effective, revision should avoid learning by memorised repetition. Ideally, students should steer clear of reading and rereading their classroom notes and should make use of self-quizzing to check their knowledge and understanding. It's also a good idea to encourage to leave spaces in their notes where they can test themselves later, when they could be encouraged to write their answers down to boost that all-important long-term retrieval more effectively than saying answers aloud or in their heads. Using weekly quizzes in the classroom that repeat content can also help students relearn and remember. There are plenty of options to do this on Pearson Revise’s new online platform.
Introduce ‘social media detoxes’
With technology and social media such a major part of our lives, and often a source of stress or anxiety for some, it’s a good idea to introduce a social media detox during revision periods. Encourage students to switch off their phones, or move them to another room, during timetabled revision sessions. It‘ll help remove the temptation of distraction and focus their minds.
It really helps to think about how successful each revision session was. At the end of each session, encourage students to list five things they’ve learnt, three things they’ll confidently remember and three things that they’re still unsure about. When they return to their notes for further revision, they can focus on filling in the knowledge gaps.
Keep things in perspective
Remind your students that whilst exams and qualifications are stepping-stones to their future, they aren’t the be all and end all. There will always be options and alternative pathways that they can explore at school, and in later life. Approaches like mindfulness also help to create a more calm and objective mindset.
And finally... the most effective revision resources from the exam experts
By using the same or similar revision materials and tools in class as students use at home, they become more familiar and comfortable with the approaches used. The back to school period is a great opportunity to take a look at the Pearson Revise series of revision guides, workbooks, practice papers, revision cards and revision planners. The new Pearson Revise Online platform offers students access to 50+ revision guides and quizzes for less than the price of a cup of coffee, too.. and there’s free access for teachers.