Revising Your Revision
With revision schedules now well underway, a myriad of strategies is needed in order to keep students hooked on the long slog until exams. So now is a great time to make sure you think about layering revision across multiple lessons over the coming weeks. Think about:
- Keyword quizzes – “turn to the back of your books and write down the term I’m describing”
- Articulate – pair up students and have them quiz each other with definitions and keywords
- Pictionary – whole class or in pairs: try to draw a keyword or term
- Fact linking – all students stand up and give the teacher a fact that links to the previous fact, then they can sit down, If they can’t think of one they stay standing: a quick way of going through a whole topic verbally. You as the teacher can interrupt to insert a fact to change the direction of the revision or keep it focused.
- Any activity that gets the key language into the kids’ heads is helpful and warms them up for the next level…
- Dance routines – Any set of steps, a process or a case study or explanation can be broken down into gestures or ‘dance moves’. Get the kids up and moving and come up with a movement to represent each step in the process. Combine them together and help the kids remember with actions as well as words. Honestly, it really helps!
- Mark-by-mark questions – verbally answer exam questions by going around the room and asking the students to give you one mark towards a 6-mark question. You can elicit much better responses and encourage the kind of thinking they will need when doing the exam questions themselves. You can even do this before giving them practice questions to boost their confidence!
- Quiz-quiz-trade – students write their own one- or two-mark exam questions on a post-it note with the answer on the back. They move around the room and find someone to ask their question to. They quiz each other, then swap questions and find someone new to quiz with their new question. Do it a few times and then ask the class what the hardest question was to go through as a group.
- These activities build on the foundation of knowing some of the key facts but needing to embed them into memory. Pick activities that are short and snappy to maximise learning time and leave room for the final level…
A deeper understanding of exams
- Matching answers with questions – use examiner reports or student responses from past papers and chop up questions and answers from one paper. Ask the students to match the response with the question and then pick out the good and bad things about that student’s response.
- Group answers – give students made-up long answer questions to cover all the topics to be covered in your lesson. Ask the students to work as a group to respond to the questions and create a perfect answer (effectively the same as a mind map, but using an ‘exam question’ as a stimulus gives students more direction and encourages explanation as well as recollection).
- Writing exam questions – assign students topics and ask them to write exam questions on that part of the curriculum with a mark scheme. Be specific with how many marks the question should be worth so the students start to understand the expectation of different types of question. The questions might not be perfect, but the kids will have to read their notes and the textbook in order to write the questions (and therefore revise!). Swap the questions and the next group doesn’t answer the question, they just give feedback on post-it notes: is the question confusing? Would they have scored full marks or does it need re-wording? Do they think it’s too hard/easy for a 6-mark question? Finally, swap again and get students to do each other’s exam questions.