Revision Guidance #AmpUpTheRevision
The sections below highlight some key and useful exam preparation and revision tips for students.
There are many different techniques young people can use to help them revise. Please could you help your child to try out strategies such as using flashcards, mind maps, quizzes and exam questions.
We have launched some new parent & student leaflets to support young people to revise and study more effectively. Please could you take some time to go through these with your child and to try out some of our top tips.
Learning information for exams can be tricky. Research shows that reviewing information as you go along can help improve memory retention. Help your child get into good habits of revisiting information regularly each week.
Did you know that physically active students have more active brains? Research shows that exercise can also improve exam performance and mental wellbeing. Please encourage your child to keep active and take regular breaks when studying.
Productive people work smarter, not harder. Please encourage your child to take regular breaks when studying and to revise in shorter intervals.
Revising can be a daunting experience. Encourage your child to break down information into bitesize chunks, form patterns and connections to help them learn.
Research shows that we have a limited ‘working memory’. Encourage your child to use varied revision techniques to maximise their memory to perform better.
Distractions can get in the way of your child revising effectively. Help them to create a calming environment to work in and limit distractions such as phones, TV, music etc as these can interfere with the learning process.
Being proactive will help young people take responsibility and action. Support your child to think ahead and to prepare for their lessons in advance by speaking to their teachers about topics coming up.
Research shows that revising for a whole day on one subject is not effective. Encourage your child to mix up their learning by revising for different topics in short bursts of time. This will help to strengthen their memory recall.
Our brains hold onto some information but let go of others. If young people are feeling swamped and overloaded, they can’t revise effectively. Encourage them to space out their revision into regular intervals and to build a realistic revision timetable.
Did you know that revising for eight hours in one day is not as effective as doing one hour of revision for eight days? Think about doing revision little and often and get yourself into good study habits.
We have launched some student leaflets to help you revise and study more effectively. Take some time to go through and try out the different revision techniques and to try out some of our top tips.
There are many different techniques you can use to help you revise. Try out some strategies such as using flashcards, mind maps, quizzes and exam questions.
Learning information for exams can be tricky. Research shows that reviewing information as you go along can help improve memory retention. Get yourself into good habits of revisiting information regularly each week after your lessons rather than last minute cramming!
Did you know that physically active students have more active brains? Research shows that exercise can also improve exam performance and mental wellbeing. Make sure you keep active each week and take regular breaks when studying.
Productive people work smarter, not harder. Don’t overload yourself and make sure you map out your revision to include regular breaks. Studying and revise in shorter intervals rather than for long periods of time.
Revising can be a daunting experience. Try to break down information into bitesize chunks, form patterns and connections to help yourself learn more effectively.
Research shows that we have a limited ‘working memory’. Make sure you use varied revision techniques to maximise your memory to perform better.
Distractions can get in the way of you revising effectively. Try to create a calming environment for yourself to work in and limit distractions such as phones, TV or music as these can interfere with the learning process.
Being proactive will help you take responsibility and action. Try to think ahead and to prepare for your lessons in advance by speaking to your teachers about which topics are coming up. You could carry out some homework prior to the lesson to help yourself understand key topics.
Research shows that revising for a whole day on one subject is not effective. Make sure you mix up your learning by revising for different topics in short bursts of time. This will help to strengthen your memory recall.
Our brains hold onto some information but let go of others. If you are feeling swamped and overloaded, then you can’t revise effectively. Try to space out your revision into regular intervals and to build a realistic revision timetable.
Cognitive Load Theory
Cognitive Load Theory (developed by John Sweller)
Cognitive load is the amount of information our working memory can hold at any one time. The working memory is where we process information and is key to learning.
Top 10 tips to help you apply the Cognitive Load Theory to revisit and learn new information:
What is it?
- Break the problem down into parts. This reduces the problem space and lightens the cognitive load, making learning more effective.
- Look at worked examples to understand how to complete tasks.
- Take advantage of auditory and visual channels in your working memory.
- Start with learning simple information and build on it.
- Create an environment with as few distractions as possible so turn off your phone, music or the TV. Distractions add to your working memory.
- Avoid overloading your brain with too much information at one time.
- Always review information from your lessons as you go along because this will help improve your retention and add knowledge to your long-term memory.
- Focus on one task or topic at a time.
- Rehearse the components of a complex task so that it becomes automated, thus freeing up working memory capacity.
- Create stories from information to be remembered or group information into more memorable categories or more accessible chunks.
We are Limited!
The mind processes visual and auditory information separately BUT too much visual and text displayed together compete with each other in your mind.
When you have multiple sources of visual information, such as diagrams, labels and explanatory text, your attention is divided between them. This adds to the cognitive load, making it more difficult for you to learn.
Top tips to help you revise:
- Incorporate labels into diagrams rather than writing text in separate boxes
- Use acronyms to help you learn so information can be ‘retrieved’ more easily from your memory
- Try talking through the problem out load
- Watch videos with animation and voiceovers
How will using the Cognitive Load Theory affect your learning?
- Improve your long-term memory and knowledge
- Learn new skills more easily
- Remove unnecessary distractions
- Reduce anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed
What is it?
They may tell you what topics are coming up in the next week and you can do some pre-lesson work
They could ask you to read around an issue and then use the thinking hard templates to transform your learning
They may give you videos to watch and to make notes from
- Research the topic area
- Make notes on the key points
- Watch videos with friends and discuss the key themes
- Complete any pre-class tasks and note down any questions
- Write your own revision questions (with answers) based on what you have learnt
- Produce a mind map showing the connections between different concepts
Flipped learning is the pre-lesson preparation; reflection and questioning that pupils undertake to help inform a teacher’s planning. (Mazur, 1997)
How does it work?
Prior to a lesson, a teacher could direct you towards specific resources (often online media) that you need to digest and respond to.
How can it help you?
Find out what your next topics will be by asking your teachers.
Look out for media or activities which could help you understand new topics.
Identify key questions to ask in the lesson.
- Prepare for your next lesson by being proactive and making notes.
- Think ahead to the next lesson or topic
- Take action rather than wait for your teachers to tell you
- Focus on prioritising your work
- Set yourself some realistic goals
- Participate actively in your learning and out of lessons
- Stay consistent and be motivated
You attend the lesson with a great deal of knowledge and many questions, ready to further your understanding
- You are in control of your learning and performance
- It improves your questioning skills
- You become independent with your learning
- You can support each other to learn
- Technology can enhance your learning experience
- It makes lessons more purposeful to you
- You have more time to discuss complex concepts during lesson time
- You are able to apply your learning through problem solving and participation in collaborative tasks
Preparation is very important if you are to get the most out of a flipped learning opportunity.
Keeping Active: It can even help in Exams!
Information for Students
Exercise triggers the release of various hormones and chemical compounds in the body.
- Schedule regular breaks during your revision. This could be 60 minutes of revision, followed by a 10-minute break. Exactly what schedule is best varies from person to person.
- Use your break for something relaxing and refreshing, but which won’t distract you from getting back to work.
- Do something that involves getting up from where you’re revising and moving around.
How can I fit it in?
- Find a routine for you
- Be flexible. Fit your exercise around your revision timetable, and find what works for you.
- Shorter intense exercise is great during the exam period as it doesn’t take too long.
- Take regular walks during the day to help you stay fresh and active.
The benefits of exercise:
Exercise helps to oxygenate the brain and release tension, helping you to keep calm, mentally relax and study more efficiently.
Boost your memory
Improve your concentration
Help reduce stress
Lengthen attention span
Improve cognitive brain function
Improve your ability to focus for longer periods of time
Physically active students have more active brains.
Red areas are very active;
Blue areas are least active
Serotonin – involved in regulating your sleep cycles and boosting your mood.
Norepinephrine – affects motivation and mental stimulation
Dopamine – positively influences learning and your attention span.
Why take breaks in Revision?
- You’re less likely to get distracted while you are revising
- It’s much better to spend 60 minutes revising well and 10 minutes on a break than to spend longer, with half the time revising and half playing with your phone.
- Breaks actually make you work more effectively. After all that mental work, your brain needs a rest.
Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically, you will have used most of it after 60-90 minutes.
So take a break, get up, go for a walk, have a snack, and do something completely different to recharge.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat well
- Sleep well
- Relax often
- Socialise and connect with others
- Take time out for you
Spacing and Timing of Revision
Spacing and Timing of Revision
What is it?
How can it help you?
- Doing something little and often – spacing – beats doing it at once, or cramming
- The time in between revision allows you to forget and re-learn the information, which cements it in your long-term memory
- It cements information into your long-term memory
- We can learn more information over time than in one longer session
- It helps you revise more efficiently
- Research suggests there is an ‘optimal gap’ between revision sessions so you can retain the information
- If the test is in a month, you should review the information around once a week; if the test is in a week, create time once a day
Spacing and Timing of Revision
Spacing is a revision technique which is all about spacing out your revision so you don’t get swamped and overwhelmed.
It means introducing time intervals into your revision sessions, as well as spacing out the days which you use to revise for topics.
To commit something to memory, it takes time and repetition.
The brain requires a physical “prompt” in order to keep something in long-term memory. Otherwise, it is designed to let it go.
1.Know what your revision goals are and set aside blocks of time.
2.Don’t work too much – work smarter, not harder.
3.Establish good habits and a structured revision routine.
4.Don’t procrastinate- don’t waste precious time worrying or thinking about what to do –just do it!
5.Review your work – prompt your brain with short review exercises.
Create the perfect revision plan
1.Organisation: determine where you need to focus your time – e.g. which subjects, topics, what you know, what you struggle with etc.
2.Planning: map out what you are going to revise and when. Use a timetable or revision planner to do this. Choose a mixture of a subject’s topics to focus on each day to make sure you are spacing them out.
3.Review: build in different revision techniques to help you do some quick 5–10 minute reviews of your topics throughout your revision plan – e.g. reading through notes, highlighting information, making post-it notes.
4.Transformation task: these are 30 minute activities to help you take in information – e.g. writing summary sheets, flashcards or mind maps for topics.
5.Practice testing: test yourself on the area that you have reviewed, such as with quizzes or by testing yourself with a friend.
6.Exam questions: complete an exam question or questions on the area you have reviewed and mark this yourself, using a mark scheme.
Five hours of time, spent in smaller chunks and spaced periodically, is a far more effective way to learn something than five hours spent the night before.
The 5 Rs of Revision
The 5 ‘Rs’ of Revision
Reducing content forces you to engage with it.
Produce content when revising: force yourself to create things that use memory recall.
Test yourself: who, what, where, when, why.
Produce flashcards with questions on the back of them so that you can test yourself.
This is about using your knowledge in different contexts (like the exam).
Don’t just revise what you already know. Review your learning and focus on the areas you are weaker at.
This is about repeating and going over what you have learnt, regularly
‘Spaced Learning’ – evidence suggests that students do better when they go over revision again and again, but with gaps in between.
The Interleaving Technique
The Interleaving Technique
Pan (2015) says, ‘Mixing it up boosts learning’ compared to more traditional methods of block learning where students master one topic before moving on to the next in preparation for exams.
How to apply it…
- Break units down into small chunks and split these over a few days rather than revising one whole topic all at once.
- Decide on the key topics you need to learn for each subject.
- Create a revision timetable to organise your time and space your learning.
Do little and often, and mix it up every day!
Interleaving is a method to use when revising, to help you remember more for the exam and to understand it better as well.
It is about what you do with your time when revising.
How does Interleaving work?
By revisiting material from each topic several times, in short bursts, you can increase the amount you remember in the exams.
Each time you revise information, it strengthens your memory recall.
The students’ tried and tested favourite method of revising!
- They engage you in ‘active recall’ – this creates stronger connections for your memory to recall information
- They promote self-reflection – also known as metacognition, which firmly commits knowledge to your memory
- Metacognition – When you make and use flashcards, you take control of your own learning. You have to decide what to put on each card, how often you’re going to use them, and then evaluate how well you know the information on each card
- They can help you memorise facts quickly
- Flash cards help you to practise the same information over and over again – and as we know, practice makes perfect
How do they help?
Use spaced repetition – review your cards at specific, increasing intervals: for example, on Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 8 and so on. Spaced repetition works because it activates your long-term memory, while leaving small breaks in between studying uses your short-term memory.
Make sure you have a ‘thinking pause’ after picking the card up and reading the question, then turn it over to read the information.
Once you get an answer right using your flashcard – DO NOT DISCARD IT! You need to keep repeating the question even if you get it right multiple times – otherwise it will ‘fall’ out of your memory.
As well as retrieving your knowledge, try writing the answer or definition in your own words and giving examples; this will help your learning and recall.
How to make them…
Using a system…
The Leitner system is a well-known and very effective method of using flashcards. It’s a form of spaced repetition that helps you study the cards you don’t know more often than the cards you already know well.
- Ensure that the flashcards have a question or key term on one side and the answer or definition on the other:
– The flashcard must work the memory.
– If flashcards only contain notes then no
- Ensure the right questions and knowledge are on the cards.
- Keep information as short as possible.
- Write clearly. You should be able to read what you wrote at a very quick glance.
- Use different coloured cards or pens to categorise your flashcards. For example, use a different colour for each subject or topic. This can help your brain to categorise information better.
- Make your flashcards as soon as you’ve learnt the topic in class.
- Using flashcards is a repetition strategy
- They are a simple ‘cue’ on the front and an ‘answer’ on the back
- Flashcards engage “active recall”
Studies have found that it’s more effective to review a whole stack of cards in one sitting rather than to carry them around with you and glance at them every so often!
Weekly Revision Timetable Planner
This document may help in planning revision activities for the week.
How ready are you to perform / We can all grow / Growth mind-set:
Physical Activity: How to beat exam stress
Rest and recovery: The importance of taking breaks when in revision mode/ the importance of a good nights sleep