Tuesday 12 December 2017

Yr 11 Revision - Thornhill School Yr 11 Revision

Posted by Louise Newton at 11:05AM on 06 November 2017

Year 11 Revision Timetable

A timetable of all revision sessions available to our year 11 pupils has been issued this week.

We all know the importance of revision in preparation for GCSE exam success, but what do we know about effective revision? There is significant research regarding the effectiveness of revision strategies including very popular strategies that are proven to have little impact.

Three commonly used revision techniques that appear to have very little impact on learning were:

  • Highlighting texts
  • Re-reading
  • Summarising text

The reason these are so ineffective, is that they require very little cognitive work…and it’s cognitive work i.e. thinking about things, that makes us remember things. 

It’s easy to see why are they are popular with pupils though.  They are very low demand, they make pupils feel as if they are ‘doing revision’ and for highlighting and summarising, there is a product for their efforts.  They can come bounding downstairs from their bedroom and show highlighted sheets of text of revision that they have ‘done’.  Gratifying? Yes. Effective? No.

So what does work? Below are three of the most effective approaches to revision.

1. Distributed Practice

Rather than cramming all of their revision for each subject into one block, it’s better to space it out – from right now, through to the exams. Why is this better? Bizarrely, because it gives them some forgetting time. This means that when they come back to it a few weeks later, they will have to think harder, which actually helps them to remember it. Furthermore, the more frequently you come back to a topic, the better you remember it.

2. Practice Testing

This technique is pretty straightforward – pupils keep testing themselves (or each other) on what they have got to learn. This technique has been shown to have the highest impact in terms of supporting pupils learning. Some ways in which pupils can do this easily:

  • Create some flashcards, with questions on one side and answers on the other – and keep testing yourself.
  • Work through past exam papers – many can be acquired through exam board websites.
  • Simply quiz each other (or yourself) on key bits of information.
  • Create ‘fill the gap’ exercises for you and a friend to complete.
  • Create multiple choice quizzes for friends to complete.

3. Elaborate Interrogation

One of the best things that pupils can do (either to themselves or with a friend) to support their revision is to ask why an idea or concept is true – and then answer that why question. For example;

  • In science, increasing the temperature can increase the rate of a chemical reaction….why?
  • In geography, the leisure industry in British seaside towns like Barry Island in South Wales has deteriorated in the last 4 decades….why?
  • In history, in 1929 the American stock exchange collapsed. This supported Hitler’s rise to power….why?

So, rather than just trying to learn facts or ideas by reading them over and over, students should get into the habit of asking themselves why these things are true.

Each half term we will update our revision timetable for pupils and they will be encouraged to plan their time effectively to support their progress in all subjects. Revision sessions will reinforce these strategies and by telling students that these techniques have a track record of success, we will hopefully reduce some of their anxieties around revision and exams. We ask for support from parents and carers to encourage their children to make the most of every opportunity available to them as exam preparation starts now!

Revision TT

revision

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