Tag Archives: revision

Which revision techniques work?

No apologies for recycling this blog from last May – it’s still relevant!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22565912 This link is to an interesting article questioning whether some of the techniques we teachers suggest for revision actually work. They have rated techniques’ effectiveness low, medium or high. However, a word of caution! We all have different learning preferences and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. For example, some people have very visual memories so re-reading texts and notes works well for them. Some respond well to auditory prompts so recording crucial facts and replaying them can be effective. Others find mnemonics (Richard of York etc) useful, although as the study points out, these aren’t going to be appropriate for complex theories. The associative memory technique has never worked for me. Also, the study is very negative about last-minute cramming but I found it always worked for me! Perhaps the best approach is to try all the methods and that way, hopefully, you’ll be covered! As you take more exams and study more you will discover which method suits you best. And if it works for you, who cares what a research professor says!


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A month to go…..

… until GCSE and A levels start. Have you drafted your revision plan? Hopefully you’ve already made a good start on your revision. It’s still not too late to book a couple of lessons to sort out a tricky piece of the syllabus. Perhaps you struggle with the poetry section of the Literature paper or can’t get to grips with writing non-fiction?  Perhaps you need more practice with French listening? Two or three lessons could make all the difference to your final grade and push you up to that all important A or A*.

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Plan your revision

Making a plan is vital. Not only does it help give structure and organisation to the revision process but the very act of putting pen to paper makes a commitment. That plan will pull them back to revision more effectively than any nagging parent!

Another useful tip is to get a friend/teacher/parent to help mentor this plan. Once the plan has been drawn up it’s so much easier to hold pupils to a timetable already agreed upon.

Prioritise your subjects – find out the dates of your exams and plan your revision accordingly. Don’t forget that oral exams for French will be early on so the work for those needs to be covered NOW.

Identify the subjects that give you most trouble and give them priority. It’s always tempting to spend hours on the subjects you enjoy and avoid the tricky ones. Be honest about your abilities and spend time on those subjects and topics that need the work.

Revision can be broken into 3 main stages: learning the material, practising on past exam papers and lastly fine-tuning your exam techniques. Practising past papers will help with time management and working under pressure.

Revision sessions can either be time related or goal related. Most experts seem to favour goals such as learning 5 vocabulary topics or   reading through 2 acts of a Shakespeare play.

Don’t forget to schedule in breaks too – they’re very important. Breaks help you absorb and process the information so plan in plenty of them. Lots of short revision sessions (30 mins) plus short breaks (10 mins) works best. This is especially true when you are trying to take in new information. Nearer the exams when you are going over topics you are familiar with you can extend your work sessions to about an hour, possibly 2.

Don’t forget to stay healthy – see my  last blog Keep fit !  for tips on this too.

And lastly if you’re struggling with your revision plan why not book a lesson or two with a tutor to give you some guidance.

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Keep fit !

It’s getting towards revision time of year again and it’s all too easy to forget to take care of yourself. Keeping fit and healthy is more important than ever so here are some tips:

  • make sure you get enough sleep. Having the standard 8 hours per night has been proven to increase memory retention by up to 35%. So don’t stay up studying too late as it will affect how much you can learn the next day.
  • keep hydrated. Again studies have shown how important it is to drink lots of water for the brain to function well.
  • eat sensibly. Avoid those fatty snacks like crisps or chips and try to eat balanced meals which include your 5 a day fruit and veg.
  • try not to overload on caffeine – it may help you stay awake to cram but you’ll end up feeling tired and stressed.
  • take some exercise every day – don’t stay hunched over your books or laptop for hours on end. Even a short walk with the dog will help.

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Contact me for revision sessions

If you need specific help with Edexcel or AQA poetry, Shakespeare or other literature texts please contact me and we can set up a Skype revision session via Helping Learning at a time that suits you. You can book either a 30 minute or an hour session whichever you feel works best for you. The revision will be tailored completely to your needs.

Please call me on 07855301904 or 01189737686 to discuss further and fix a date/time.

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School closed?

Worried about your son or daughter missing lessons in their crucial GCSE/A level year? The snow need not be a problem.

Why not book a couple of Skype lessons with me? There is no obligation to sign up for a specific set of lessons or make a long-term commitment.  Some pupils just require a couple of lessons to fill in material that they have missed at school due to weather closures or illness. Lessons can be tailor-made to suit your needs. Similarly, revision lessons can be arranged to focus on specific problem areas. I have experience with AQA and Edexcel  GCSE English Language and English Literature. Skype lessons cost £25 per hour session and £13 for a half hour.

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Skype weather


Like many areas of the country Farley Hill has received its fair share of the snow. My lessons for yesterday and today have cancelled, understandably not wanting to take the risk of getting stranded in the snow.  Many schools closed yesterday, at a time when many pupils are faced with exam modules for A and GCSE or mock exams.

But, of course, my Skype lessons can continue unaffected by the weather. I now have four Skype pupils and I am sure many more people will consider this option in future. Apart from the weather factor, there is the convenience of parents not having to be available as chauffeurs or having to while away an hour as their offspring are tutored. There are some limitations – having to scan pages from text books unless the pupil also has a copy at home, for example –  but there is so much material available on the net that there are usually ways around it. Typically lessons on Skype require more organisation in advance and it’s harder to suddenly switch topics. Written work has to be shared by sending files, correcting them online with tracked changes and returning them for discussion. Instant messaging is useful for short answers or exercises.

All my Skype lessons so far are for English and it will be interesting to see how French tutor sessions will work. Written work will need some thought. Although there are ways to register accents etc via the keyboard they are rather time-consuming. Listening comprehension will also be a challenge. Does anyone have any experience of tutoring French via Skype?

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**Edexcel Language Unit 2 : Of Mice and Men Revision sessions**

Exam on Thursday 10th? Get some last minute tips to maximise your marks!

2 new online  revision sessions available via helpinglearning.co.uk

Designed for Edexcel English Language Unit 2:

Identifying language features and effects

Connecting language to presentation of character, settings and themes

Based on Of Mice and Men

30 minutes, £13 each, Monday January 7th at 1830 and Tuesday January 8th at 1900.

Register for free at helpinglearning.co.uk

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** NEW ** AQA GCSE Moon on the Tides anthology revision sessions

Two revision sessions are now set up on helpinglearning.co.uk for poems from the Conflict cluster of the AQA Anthology.

For these sessions I have not specified the poems – the student can choose which  two poems  he/she would like to revise. The sessions are on Saturday January 5th at 10am and at 11am and each lasts for 30 minutes. Registering with HelpingLearning is free and the sessions will cost £13 each.

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Sonnet 116

Struggling with this sonnet? Need some help?  It’s not too late to book my online tutorial on this sonnet plus ‘Our Love Now’.

Friday December 5th at 1700 – it will last 30 minutes and cost just £13.

You just need to have Skype and to register free with helpinglearning.co.uk, then follow the instructions for booking the session. Full details of this and other revision tutorials can be found on the Helping Learning site.

Don’t leave all your revision until the last minute!!

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