There are 2 halves to my job as a teacher, to teach and to help a child to remember what I teach. I can go through a whole GCSE English poetry anthology with a student, but if the child does not have the skills to remember it, then it’s teaching time I have wasted.
When faced with upcoming tests and exams, students can get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work. This task of revising is like asking a student to tidy up a rubbish dump, they don’t know where to start, how to sort it and what to do with after it’s sorted.
So I break down revision into three parts.
Find out what you need to know.
Most school teachers give out “I can” sheets at the beginning of every new topic. These are just a list of statements which summarise what the student should be able to do by the end of the topic. Edexcel 1MA0 Linear Exam Topic List – Foundation.
Then take each statement and make sure you have notes and explanations on it. If you don’t, then you need to make your own notes either using school textbooks or revision websites recommended by your teacher. You can also make your own flashcards on websites like QUIZLET.
Do Some Past Paper Questions
Now that you understand the statement, you need to test your understanding. So collect exam questions or practice questions on the topic WITH ANSWERS. How will you know if you are doing it right if you can’t check the answers. Good sources of questions are end of chapter questions in textbooks and worksheets you might have in your books.
This three-step method works for any topic and for any age group. Try it!
Some good websites for making notes:
BBC BITESIZE – syllabus specific notes on most topics covered in school. It’s a big site and can be difficult to navigate. If you have a specific question, for example “how does osmosis work” then search “osmosis bitesize” in google and it will take you to the best page.
MATHSWATCH – educational videos explaining how to do maths.
WOODLANDS JUNIOR SCHOOL – better for years 1-6, but also useful for older children to recap. The writing is simple and easy to understand.
ENGLISH BIZ – great revision site for GCSE english. I love the way each section has examples of student’s work and professional examples. A good place to start for cntrolled assessments.
MR BRUFF’s YOUTUBE CHANNEL – if you want a different way to revise, try watching youtube videos. Mr Bruff’s videos give excellent tips on how to answer exam questions in GCSE english. He uses real exam questions and goes through the paper one question at a time.
Good websites for exam questions:
KESH MATHS – a great website for exam questions broken down by grade.
MYMATHS – only works if your school has given you a password.
MATHSWATCH – this used to be available on a CD but now most schools have online access. You watch a video where a teacher explains how to do a maths question, then you try a question yourself. If you didn’t understand what you did in class today, watch a video on Mathswatch.
EXAM SYLLABUS WEBSITES – make sure you know which examining board you are studying and then navigate to the syllabus you are following. Download past papers and mark schemes. the common examing boards are OCR, EDEXCEL and AQA.
Practice loads! do loads of past papers and if you run out of past papers to do, do them again, especially the questions you didn’t do so well on.
After revising a topic, go through past papers but only do the questions on that topic. For example if you’ve just revised circle theorem, do past paper questions on circle theorem only.
Your textbook is full of explanations and worked examples you can follow, study and use to improve your understanding. It’s generally a good idea to find a topic you need help with, read through the explanation (looking up anything you don’t understand), before following along with the examples.
After every exam paper, make a list of what you did poorly on and revise it.
Revise with a friend or work in a small group.
You can explain maths to your friends.
Your friends can explain things to you.
You can work together on problems.
You can test each other.
One of the most effective ways to learn a new skill is to write down the steps you have to take – either as a list or as a flowchart.
Make flash cards, but double sided ones, the reverse side having questions on it or page numbers from your text book where you can find these questions. You could have a set for each of the following:
FORMULAS. The formulas you need to memorise for the exam
METHODS. How to work out a problem, for example the method for working out Pythagoras.
DEFINITIONS. Write down the meanings of maths words you need to know.
NEED TO KNOW. In maths there are quantities and number you must know off by heart. Such as grams in a kilogram or square numbers. One side has the question, the other side has the answer.
Make a cheat sheet. This is one sheet of A4 paper with a summary of everything you need to know.
Go online and revise topics by watching videos or practicing questions online.
Create mind maps. There should be a word/question or something in the middle of the page, with questions, facts or methods coming out.
Create posters. Make them colourful and big so that they catch your eye. Display these posters on your walls so that you see them all the time.
Use highlighters and shade/colour in important facts from text books and workbooks.
If you have a really good set of notes or still have your maths workbooks from school, then you can write questions in the margins to jog your memory as you read.
Use sticky notes to write down formulas and facts, they are quick and easy to do, as you learn each fact, just throw the sticky note away.
LOOK at a worked example of a question. COVER it. WRITE it yourself and work it out from memory. CHECK to see if you’ve done it right. If you’ve missed something out or done it wrong, TRY AGAIN.
If after all this you are still not getting anywhere, let us do the work for you. Book a free assessment and let us take care of things.