The summer is upon us, and students throughout the school have started preparing for their exams. For some of our younger students this will be the first time they sit exams under formal controlled conditions. For our older students the exams are getting more and more important.
It can be a stressful time for everyone, and one of the biggest causes of worry for our students is being unable to remember information, or not knowing how best to revise. This week we want to share with you five strategies which will help our students make revision fun and memorable, paving the way to exam success. The following information is designed for students. Please encourage your child(ren) to read it and try some of the ideas.
Creating revision cards is a great way to break down large amounts of information into smaller chunks.
- Take some credit-card sized bits of card
- Write questions on the front and answers on the back
- Quiz yourself, or get a friend or family member to quiz you.
- You could make the cards colour coded by difficulty, or by topic.
Associating information with different locations in a familiar place, like your home, can really help you remember it when you’re in an exam.
- Make some posters with some key information about a topic. Write big so you can read it easily.
- Stick the posters around your house in places where you go a lot – e.g. the fridge, the TV, the bathroom door, your bedroom ceiling.
- Try to put the posters in a place that makes sense to you (for example, stick all the posters about rivers and valleys in the bathroom)
- Every time you go to that place – read the posters.
- When you’re sitting in the exam – think back to the place you stuck the posters, the location will help you remember the facts!
Putting all your knowledge down in a big diagram can help you make links between different things. More links = more memories.
- Get a big piece of paper (or lots of A4 paper stuck together)
- Put the name of a topic in the middle, and then brainstorm all your ideas about the whole topic on to the paper.
- Once everything you know is on the paper, draw arrows where you can link the different things. Try to think of as many links as you can.
- When you’ve finished, check your textbook or exercise book and see if you can add even more information or links!
- Finally, stick your finished poster on the wall of your bedroom. Every day, cover part of it with a pillow and try and remember everything under the pillow.
Mark Scheme Challenge
It’s really helpful to understand exactly how exams are marked. If you understand what the mark scheme wants, you’ll get better marks.
- Get some practice exam questions with mark schemes from your teacher.
- Look at the questions but do NOT look at the mark schemes.
- Don’t answer the question in the normal way, instead try to guess exactly what the mark scheme will say.
- Then, look at the mark scheme and see how close you got.
- Hint: the more you do this, the easier it gets!
Sometimes, representing ideas as pictures makes them stick in your memory much more easily.
- Pick a topic you need to revise and turn to that page in your book or textbook.
- Try to draw the whole idea/story in a series of pictures, using NO words at all.
- Then, cover up the original textbook and see if you can remember everything JUST from your pictures.
- Finally, start covering over more and more of your pictures, until you can remember the whole thing with no clues at all!
Hopefully these ideas will help you revise, and make it loads more fun. If you’re finding revision hard just remember, your teachers have loads of experience helping students revise, and they even had to revise for their own exams once! Go and ask them if you need any help, don’t leave it until it’s too late!
Tim Lovatt, Science Teacher – Physics Specialist