As exam season looms in the not so distant future and our fun filled bank holiday break is now fading to a vacant memory, all you teachers may feel that sense of dread that only the word ‘revision’ can conjure up.
Yes, true, we all thought that when we left school, we wouldn’t have to worry about cramming for any more exams, spending hours on end in the library and frantically recalling lists of information ready for the big exam day. Teachers however, are responsible for making sure all of their class pass these dreaded tests, no pressure.
So here are some tips and advice on how to educate your pupils to revise to the best of their abilities.
- Don’t Cram
One of the best pieces of advice you can give your students is not to cram. Leaving all their revision to the night before the big day is never a good idea and although we’ve probably all tried pulling an all nighter, desperate flicking through textbooks and notes trying to get some information to stick in our brains, it is not advisable. Encourage them to start revising early, spend an hour or so a night reading through past papers and notes so they can build up their knowledge. It will also feel less overwhelming for them as they can build up the amount of time they are spending revising rather than leaving it all to the night or week before.
2) Sleep Well and Take Breaks
It is imperative that students get enough sleep in order for their brains to function, but when preparing for an exam it is even more vital. Stress can stop us from sleeping but it is important to let our brains refresh overnight in order to fully focus on anything.
Trying to stay awake through the night to get the most out of revision is never going to be a good idea, getting enough sleep will help pupils feel calmer and ready for the day and exam ahead. Stopping revision at a certain time and relaxing before going to bed a little earlier will ensure that stress levels will be at a manageable level.
Taking regular breaks is also so important, cramming and forcing yourself to read and study all day every day is not healthy and a frazzled brain will not be your friend in the actual exam. Advise your students to take a small break at regular intervals, the information will stick better in their minds this way too.
- Eat Regularly
Eating regular meals is also vital for good brain function and should be something you encourage your students to do. Although we all may turn to energy drinks and coffee to get us through long study sessions, our bodies wont thank us in the long run. Getting enough nutrients will help the brain focus on all the information it has to process and remember. Adivise that students take a bottle of water into the exam with them and make sure they have eaten breakfast or had a snack before, their minds will be able to think more clearly and no one will be put off by a rumbling stomach echoing through the exam hall.
- Study with others
Why not encourage your class to get into groups to study, or you could run some revision classes. Sure, we may assume we focus a bit better away from our friends sometimes, however group study is proven to work wonders in a lot of instances.
Here at RealiseMe, we recently asked our instagram teacher followers to vote on which they thought worked best, independent or group study. The consensus was 75% thought that group revision sessions trumped solo study.
Get creative, make a fun and interactive after school revision class and get the students to bounce ideas off each other. There will be all different ideas and alternative interpretations that not everyone would have thought of, they can learn from each other and be more likely to succeed. Also it gives you a chance to check in and see if there is anyone who is especially struggling and may need some extra help.
- Make a timetable
Lists may not be everyone’s cup of tea, however timetables can often help us feel more organised and capable. Encourage your class to make a to-do list or a revision timetable, again, get creative, colour code it add pictures or anything to make it engaging and spend some time telling them exactly what needs to be covered and which exams are coming up first. Encourage them to make multiple copies for their lockers, at home and to carry around in their bags so they know what they need to be revising each day. That way, if they get a few extra minutes at the end of class or at lunchtime, they can read through a few pages of notes if they know exactly what they are meant to be preparing for.
- Do past papers
Past papers are one of the most important and vital pieces to have in your revision arsenal. Setting past exam papers as homework and having mock tests will help your students get in the right frame of mind and will also prepare them better than reading a whole textbook can. Sometimes we can revise and read everything we are meant to but a badly phrased question or an alternative meaning of something in the actual exam can throw us off and stop us from achieving our best grades. Past papers can prepare students for question types, phrasing and will allow them to get a feel of the kinds of things they may be asked. Of course, just doing a few past papers is not enough on its own, but combining this with other revision tips will ensure that your students will perform and give the exam their all.
With all these tips and tricks in mind, you and your students should breeze through exam season. Good luck all!