Revision – Repetition, Recaps & Repetition
The GCSE countdown has started. Even if your students don’t realise it yet, senior leadership are focusing on the end of year results. There are ways to make the run-up to exams nice and easy for both yourself and your students, but as you start to complete content you need to start planning for revision.
1. Plotting Lessons Left
As discussed in a previous blog, it is helpful to count out how many lessons you have left with individual classes and plot out what you are going to be covering. If you still have lots of content to cover, discuss as a team where you can streamline lessons or can you convert some content into homework booklets to save class time? Also by planning revision sessions in advance, you can afford to be flexible with your long term plans. It is also a chance to start thinking about interleaving in past topics.
You’ve gone through the specification to plan out your curriculum but do students have their own checklist? Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs) for the entire course can be daunting but when split into topics make a simple and efficient method for students to identify strengths, weaknesses and any missed learning, all to help inform their revision. Here are some posts about using PLCs along with a few examples:
- Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs)
- Personal learning checklists as a means of boosting exam grades
- Mock exam analysis
- Blank PLC
- TeachIt Geography PLCs
- Lots of schools have them published on their websites (e.g. Sackville and Blenheim) – NOTE: before using blindly, make sure they are for the correct specification.
3. Revision Planning
Revision planning should never be generic revision lessons but planned specifically for the knowledge, skill or exam skill of those specific pupils. Use their PLCs and analysis of their mock exams for you to identify where you can help bridge the gap. Specific exam skills and reinforcing basic concepts are often easy wins. Ensure you read the last year’s exam report and identify any ‘silly’ mistakes that were frequently made so that you can prepare your students to not make them this year!
Some teachers/departments/schools like to use the same format for each lesson. This can provide a comforting structure for many students but maybe too ‘boring’ or restrictive for others. Remember to use what works best for your students. An example of this format may be: for example:
- Exam question based on what was revised in the last lesson.
- Marking/feedback from the last lesson’s exam question.
- Learning objectives for the topic or skill being revised today.
- Teacher input on top tips, recap or more difficult areas of the topic.
- Pre-planned revision activities including past questions – for more ideas see below.
- Independent study time.
- Plenary quick quiz.
Ultimately remember that revision is like riding a bike or driving a car. Students should be so comfortable with skills or content, that in the exam they can answer questions with ease. The key to this is repetition. You must revise content and then test, recap knowledge, learn from mistakes and then repeat.
Here are some links to boost some energy into revision lessons or sessions to avoid the hours of poster making, lecturing or ‘silent revision’ that can lead to over-stressed students getting burnt out.
- Use past papers, exam-style questions and mark schemes from your specification as often as possible.
- Interleaving revision topics
- Six last-minute GCSE revision activities (the revision clock is a personal favourite of Josh’s!)
- Revision strategies that work
- Revision lessons don’t have to be boring – some ideas to spice it up!
- Top Tips For Delivering Effective Revision Sessions
- Retrieval Grids
- Revision dance routines, actions and mnemonics.
- Memes – there are loads of EXAM memes out there that will cheer up students at the start of another revision session.