A Levels & GCSE exams can be extremely stressful for students and parents wanting to help their children revise and manage their time effectively. Justin Craig Education has put together some advice to help you help your child plan and execute their revision schedule as productively as possible.
From years working with pupils and supporting them during exam revisions, we have derived several tips which will ensure that your child revises more efficiently. You will find these grouped into 3 categories: exam and revision planning tips, revision techniques which could help your child increase his/her productivity and finally revision resources which you should help your child take advantage of.
1. Exam & Revision Planning
There are many ways in which you can help your child plan their exam revision. Over the years, we have found the following ones to be particularly helpful:
- Get a printed copy of your child’s exam timetable. As simple as it may sound, some children will go through their exams without a printed copy of their timetable and solely rely on their friends to tell them when is their next test. Having a physical copy is more practical and is easier to visualise and plan from.
- Help them plan out a revision schedule. However, remember that you are merely supporting them and that it is up to your child to outline their schedule. In addition, this will also give them the opportunity to take responsibility and learn to prioritise their work.
- Plan realistically. Both you and your child need to realise that there are limits to how much work can effectively be done in a day. It is important that you realistically try to assess this limit, in order for your child to be able to balance leisure and revision and be as productive as possible.
- Timing revision sessions. We recommend that pupils aim to revise a particular subject for around 2 hours in order for them to remain focused yet get enough time to go into a certain level of depth. Ideally, you would want your child to focus on a maximum of 2 subjects on a school night and 4 to 6 subjects during weekend days.
- Plan for breaks. Also remember that your child needs regular breaks or else could become worn out, which would affect their productivity. Ideally, plan a short 5-10 minutes break every 1h30 to 2h and longer ones for meal times. When setting a revision timetable, remember to also reward them with break days or “cheat” days.
- Boundaries. You need to respect your child’s boundaries when helping them revise, if you push or interfere too much, they might not come to you for help as easily.
- Establishing specific location to revise. Having a number of study place is important as having specific locations where your child can sit down and focus solely on their revision is essential to their concentration and thus productivity.
- Somewhere quiet. Whether it is a local library, a quiet room or some other study room, your child needs a space to study. We recommend having various study spaces to choose from as one could not be available one day requiring to have another option at hand.
- Avoid the bedroom. Although very tempting, revising in their bedroom is often not the most productive alternative, due to the many distractions surrounding them.
- Take breaks outside of study spaces. Similarly, ensure that your child takes breaks away from their study space. A study place should ideally only be for studying.
2. Revision Techniques
Before your child can start revising, they need to know how to revise and what method works best for them. Do they revise best through reading textbooks? Doing worksheets? Taking mock tests? Maybe using online quizzes?
Your child needs to try and assess from past experience what revision techniques work best for them, which might also vary depending on the subjects and the learning materials they were provided with.
Some useful questions to help them figure this out are as follow:
- Does he/she prefers studying through visual aids such as graphs, diagrams, and charts?
- Does your child learns best through interacting and discussions?
- Do they tend to revise best reading through notes and textbooks?
- Does your child prefer revising through doing questions and examples done in class, quizzing themselves and practicing mock exams?
Some subjects might require additional effort if they don’t feel as comfortable with the syllabus, for which it could also be a good idea to consider revision courses such as one day courses which are short, concise and intensive.
3. Revision Resources and Materials
Preparing for exams: What resources should pupils use?
You can’t be expected to put up a shelf without a hammer, so why would you expect your child to be successful in their exams without the right resources to help them revise and prepare for them?
- Supplies & resources. Make sure your child has everything they need for their revisions. Besides the usual school supplies, ensure they have the correct and up to date textbooks for their subjects. They need to be able to be comfortable with the various tools required and be able to use them competently in their exams.
- School worksheets. Throughout the year, make sure your child keeps various handouts, worksheets, mock tests, and answer sheets provided to them by teachers and tutors. Their teachers are the best people to ask for mock exams to help them revise with or alternatively, experienced private tutors would also have plenty of revision material to guide and support them.
- Ask the teacher. If they are missing some important material, whether notes, lessons, or practice exams, encourage them to ask for it, notably as teachers are likely to appreciate that they care about their revision by asking rather than missing out on some material important to their understanding of the subject.
- Tutoring, study groups & revision courses. Revising can seem to children like an extremely solitary task. Yet this doesn’t need to be.
- If your child has proven to work well with certain friends or know people who do well in particular subjects, encourage them to reach out to them or maybe form a joint study group.
- Alternatively, having a tutor or signing up to a revision course could benefit your child greatly. Whether they are working one to one with their tutor, or as part of a small revision group, these two options could provide your child with more support and structure they might need to excel. In addition, they can also offer expert advice, show them what to look out for and what the examiners expect from their answers.
- Revision courses can also turn out to be a very effective way to helping your child revise effectively, as would help them structure their study time instead of worrying about revision. This can also give them the opportunity to share their anxieties, discuss topics to help them enhance their understanding, and benefit from each other’s strengths.
These were our key steps to helping your child plan their revision effectively in order to them the best opportunity to get the grades they want on their exams. If you’re interested in how Justin Craig’s GCSE revision and A Level revision courses can help your child with their exam preparation, don’t hesitate to get in touch.