Taking a fresh look at revision - how can you help as parents?

We know that exam success requires a ‘team’ effort around the child – parents and carers, every teacher and Tutor, friends and extended family, everyone in the school community. The exam period can be a stressful and emotionally charged time for everyone involved. Research shows that the most important thing a family can do to support during revision and exam preparation, is to show care and interest.

If you’d like to support your child with some practical tips on how to revise effectively, you may wish to encourage them to use some of the following strategies:

Dual Coding

  • When your child is looking over class materials, revision notes or watching revision videos, they should find visuals that go along with the information and compare the visuals directly to the words. Asking themselves, how are the words describing what is in the image? How do the visuals represent what is described in the text? Make a flash card, notes, mindmap or other resource, that incorporates both the key information and the visuals they have come up with. They can then review this as often as needed.
  • They do not need to just reproduce the exact visuals they see in class materials. Coming up with a visual themselves, that makes sense to them, is more effective.
  • Certain types of visuals work very well with certain types of materials. For example, a timeline may work well for remembering events in History, and a diagram may work very well with Biology. Encourage your child to get creative with the way they approach this.
  • Work their way up to the point where they can put away their class materials and write out the ideas in both words and pictures, diagrams, etc.
  • Use retrieval practice to go OVER and OVER these…
  • Remember – dual means two, double the chance of remembering!

Retrieval

So much of students’ time revising is re-reading or re-writing something. This doesn’t actually help us to remember or recall. It is the process of remembering or recalling, that helps us in an exam!

  • Students are missing out on using the techniques that help them revise most effectively, and spend hours and hours on an activity that does not help them in an exam …
  • If we can help students do more of what we know is effective, they will use their time more wisely, remember more, and do well!
  • This is the major learning point:  it has to be a bit hard, a bit uncomfortable, a bit challenging – in order to stick.

Some suggested ways to use retrieval as a revision technique:

  • Make flashcards – have a visual prompt on one side and notes on the other
  • Cover the notes, then try to remember all the information on the card whilst looking at the visual, write it down… did you get it right?
  • Help them by testing them – ask questions
  • Put away or cover up their notes or books and encourage them to write or sketch everything they know about a key topic – be as thorough as possible. Then, check their notes with them for accuracy, going over important points they missed
  • Recall words and definitions, main ideas, how things are related or different from one another
  • Use assessments and tests to practice, practice, practice at home
  • Help them make their own tests, which they can trade with friends
  • Always correct errors

Spacing

Start planning now!!! Set aside a little time each day. Five hours spread across 5 days, is better than 5 hours in one day. Research shows us that a break is good – by spacing the revision, they will be training their brain to ‘go back’ to the information

A little bit over time, adds up…

Contact the Year 11 Team if you’d like more support with supporting your youngster with revision – eogrady@brunepark.gfmat.org or dstokes@brunepark.gfmat.org

Contact Info
  • Brune Park Community School, Military Road, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 3BU
  • (023) 9261 6000
  • enquiries@brunepark.gfmat.org

Website feedback