Please click here to download a programme for revision classes for Term 4 2015. Obviously it is in all students’ interests to attend as many revision sessions as they can, but as the timetable indicates, it is not possible to attend every session in every subject. By producing this timetable at this point students have time to plan not only which revision sessions they will attend, but also what preparation they will be doing before attending any revision session. The school rightly gives a higher priority to both Maths and English, but students will be advised as to what sessions they should attend if there is a clash between subject revision sessions. An individual’s progress in a particular subject and/or the closeness of an examination date will influence the advice given to a student.
The purpose of each revision session is not for students to go along and learn new content or ideas, but for students to test their current knowledge, understanding and skills, as well as develop their examination technique. To get the most out of each revision session students will need to ask in advance what the focus of each session will be, (in most instances departments will publish a programme), and they should then make the effort to revise the published topic. Successful revision sessions are those where students are prepared to get involved and both ask and answer questions.
Please click here to download a calendar with details of exams, assessments and holiday revision sessions, as well as a revision timetable for Term 4. In addition to this there are documents on how to revise, exemplar revision activities, a model revision timetable together with a blank version for student use and subject specific revision pages. These will also be available on the schools website. All of these documents will be very useful in helping students succeed in all of their GCSE subjects.
Parents and Carers often ask what their child should be doing with regard to revision and how much revision they should be doing. Essentially Year 11 should be revising now. During term time I would expect them to do 2-3 hours in an evening and at least double that on each weekend day. Some students will do a little more; some will do a little less.
Where they have homework or coursework tasks to complete, this should be factored into the time students spend studying. Once students begin ‘study leave’, they clearly have whole days in which to revise. The key point is that if any students say that they have no work to do at any point between now and the end of Term 5, they are not telling the truth! Please impress upon your son or daughter that revision should be an active process with a product at the end of it, it is not simply reading through exercise books. This ‘product’ could take the form of written revision notes; revision cards or spider diagrams, but whatever students choose to do with regard to revision, it is important that they do something.
Below you will find some points of advice from last year’s Year 11 students, who incidentally produced the school’s best ever GCSE results.
- Away from distractions – at a desk in your room/in the dining room. Don’t think you can work in front of the TV or with parents asking what you want for tea.
- If you hate being in silence, play music but without lyrics, otherwise you’ll associate rainforests with the Arctic Monkeys, but not remember the facts.
- Make sure there’s enough light.
- Make sure you have everything with you (it’s very tempting to think actually I really need that ruler, so I’ll just go downstairs, only to return and find another excuse).
- Shut your door so everyone knows you’re revising and won’t shout up to you.
- Drink water (because you can put it in a pint glass and not have the excuse to walk down and make another cup of tea, and it’s good for you!)
- Avoid sitting opposite anything like a window or set of photos – you end up staring at them.
- Revision cards can be useful, but don’t just make them and then forget about them, or think that’s it complete. That’s useless.
- Don’t leave it to the last minute, but if you do, don’t make a revision card – they take too much time and you won’t read it again.
- Find online sites to mix up revision, but don’t always use the computer – it’s amazing how productive you become without ‘Facebook’ available.
- Mind maps are good to start with, as an overview of what you’ve done. Put on everything in the syllabus (without detail) and you can see what you need to cover in detail and it looks a lot less scary if you can fit 2 years on a page!
- Stick post-it notes of key facts/words everywhere, especially by the door or light switch because they catch your eye when you leave the room. Honest it works.
- Try to revise almost every night for a couple of hours. Make sure this is at a time before or after your favourite programme on TV is on.
- Revision cards are handy.
- Keep going through past exam papers.
- Don’t revise when tired – it just doesn’t go in!
- Nag a wee bit, but too much has the opposite effect, so just make sure they’re not on Facebook etc.
- Also make sure coursework is done and ‘revision’ isn’t an excuse for avoiding actual work with deadlines.
- Understand that a stressed teenager may flip out or be short – don’t have a go or this will increase their anger!
- Ask to see revision cards and test them.
- Talk to them about subjects and see what they can tell you about it.
- Write exams on the family calendar so everyone knows when they are and can make sure they’re revising and brothers and sisters aren’t distracting them. Also don’t book a family meal/outing etc the night before an exam, or decide the weekend before would be great for a family dog walk.
- Know everyone else is suffering too.
- Keep your mind on the end goal – a LONG summer – make sure you deserve it.
- Take it a week at a time, even a day – what needs to be done, and break it down.
- Work hard on school days (what would you honestly get done socially on a school evening?) – save meeting friends until the weekend. Just an extra half hour/hour after school each evening will be invaluable.
- Remember the more you do, the more you CAN do. Don’t give up sports or hobbies – and hour or so each week to distract you will work wonders and you’ll realise you can still do that hour of work afterwards.