Tag Archives: revision

****Revision sessions****

****STOP PRESS****

I shall be offering a series of revision sessions covering the poems from Edexcel GCSE Poetry Anthology. The sessions will focus on the Relationship Cluster dealing with 2 poems in each session.

The sessions, each will  last 30 minutes and cost £13, are held via the website Helping Learning – helpinglearning.co.uk

So don’t delay – register now for free and then you can choose from any revision and tutoring sessions that are on offer.

Dates so far:

Tuesday December 4th 1630 – 1700 Valentine and Rubbish at Adultery

Friday December 7th 1700 – 1730 Sonnet 116 and Our Love Now


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Need help revising?

It’s only just over a month until exams start so you should have started revising now. Many students have no idea how to go about organising their revision or even how best to revise.

I give some hints under my posting All Work and No Play which may be of help, but some students need more assistance. A couple of hours private tuition may be just what you need to set up a revision plan specifically designed for your needs. The problem with using one of the plans that you can find on sites like BiteSize, for example, is that they don’t take into account your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you are fairly confidant about An Inspector Calls but quite clueless about Of Mice and Men? It would be a waste of time to divide your revision time equally between the two texts. This is a simplified example, but I’m sure you get the idea.

So why not call me to book just a couple of lessons to set up a personalised revision plan?

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Easter Revision

Why not consider some tuition through the Easter holidays to help boost GCSE grades? The margin between GCSE grades can be very small yet make a huge difference in terms of university entrance and careers. Many schools run revision classes at Easter which are excellent, but another perspective, a different style of teaching or simply a new face can work wonders. Private tuition will be tailored to your son or daughter’s needs specifically – not to a whole class. I still have availability during the holidays – why not send me an email to discuss further?

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Online assistance

My pupils are so savvy about all things technical (many’s the time one of them has helped me out with some computer glitch) that I’m often surprised how little they make use of all the help that is available online. There are several excellent revision sites around that are geared up for the needs of GCSE. English as a subject is particularly well served (I’ll deal with French and Latin in another post).

BBC Bitesize is a good solid site for English revision – particularly for those doing AQA exams. Unfortunately last time I visited it hadn’t updated to the new anthology Moon on the Tides nor to the format of the new syllabus. It does still feature good, straightforward analysis of some of the literature texts such as Inspector Calls and To kill a Mocking Bird. My main criticism would be that at times it is slightly simplistic – aimed at a B/C grade rather than an A*.

Another site that I have found useful over the years is Andrew Moore’s which goes into more detail than Bitesize and covers a wide variety of texts. It was excellent on the old AQA anthology (especially the poetry) but hasn’t been updated. The site is also excellent for A level English Language with a lengthy section covering this.

A site I have just discovered is www.helpmewithenglish.co.uk which does feature the new AQA anthology – although this section is still under construction and not all poems are yet covered. Mr W, the site author,  gives some very good advice on improving your writing skills and improving your grade. His section on the importance of drafting and editing is first-rate.

Several sites offer critical analysis of texts – Sparks Notes is one that is often useful.

BUT and it is an important but – all these sites are aids to be used wisely and sparingly – cut and paste amounts to plagiarism or cheating as we used to call it!

There is no substitute for a personal response in your own words.

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Holiday work

Everyone needs a break and I’m not suggesting that you force your children to study during the summer holidays, however there are painless ways to help boost their literacy skills.

Why not choose a family book that you can all read together – taking in turns to read a chapter out loud. This works particularly well if you are on holiday with another family or are a large group. Younger children enjoy this especially and don’t forget to encourage people to try out character voices for the dialogue. Roald Dahl’s The Witches was a great success for one of our family holidays.

Encourage them to keep a holiday diary.

Why not take your youngsters to a play? Introduce them to Shakespeare with an open-air production – usually great fun. There are regular open-air productions all over the country from London (Regents Park) to Cornwall (Porthcurno). Taking them to any type of play/musical will encourage their powers of concentration if nothing else.

Many theatres run activities for young people over the summer – check out The Watermill in Newbury, for example, in this area. Museums and art galleries also offer similar opportunities – The Lightbox in Woking is a good example in the South East.

If you’re going on a long car journey, what about an audiobook? It’s a great way to revise a setbook, for instance, or to get a head start on one you will be studying when you go back in September.

If you’re going to France don’t underestimate how much French you can all pick up by listening to French radio or watching French TV. I particularly recommend silly quiz games – it’s fairly easy to follow these.

If they see you reading – they might too! Reading is one of the best ways to increase vocabulary and improve spellings. Encourage them to read anything and everything – football mags or OK are much better than no reading at all.

If you’re staying somewhere with plenty of outside space why not challenge them to devise a treasure hunt for the adults (you buy the prize!) perhaps with rhyming clues – or if that’s too tricky you write one for them. A good bottle of red wine can provide excellent inspiration (for the adults that is!).

Learning isn’t just something that happens at school.


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All work and no play

It’s very easy to overdo revision and get into the scenario of diminishing returns.

Planning is key:

Revise in slots of 45 minutes to an hour maximum and then take a break.

Mix up your subjects – don’t spend all day on one subject area.

Try different methods of revision – use the internet – there are several excellent revision sites such as BBC Bitesize. For French listen to French radio as a background while you get dressed/clean teeth/put on makeup etc. Record French vocabulary and play it on your i-pod.

Revise with a friend or form a study group and swap ideas.

Build in those breaks and give yourself rewards – watching a fave TV programme, going to the cinema.

 Spending hours hunched over a computer or a desk can stress you physically as well as mentally. Try to fit in some exercise such as taking the dog for a walk or playing a game of footie.

At the end of the day a long soak in a hot bath (scented candles and calming music optional extras!) will help you unwind and get a good night’s sleep.

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Revision Tips for Parents

If your children are heading for exams there are a few things you can do to help:

  • make sure they have a quiet dedicated space in which to revise
  • ensure they’re not disturbed by siblings
  • encourage them to make a revision plan
  • occasionally check they really are revising – not just on their Playstation/Nintendo or gazing into space
  • encourage them to take regular breaks from revision – at least 10 minutes for every hour of work
  • insist on one complete evening OR one day at the weekend revision free
  • feed them lots of healthy, additive-free food to increase that brain-power
  • offer to help with testing (but don’t insist!)
  • make sure that they have all the equipment they need for the exams well in advance
  • most important of all – reassure them that you only expect them to do their best!

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