Revision techniques for school and public examinations | Portsmouth High School

Revision techniques for school and public examinations

If you have children in your household approaching examinations, whether school or public, you may well have the equivalent of a grumpy bear or two living in your home.

It is a miserable time of the year for potential examinees and I remember all too well from my school days warm sunny spring days that were just calling to be enjoyed outside and feeling resentful that I had to remain indoors revising. I did try and convince myself that I could revise outdoors perhaps lying on the lawn whilst listening to Saturday Night Fever on my cassette machine; the truth is experience taught me that I couldn’t and the only way to prepare well for examinations was to put in the time required to make sure I had learned and understood all I needed to know and I could only do that away from distractions and indoors. It is a challenging time and now perhaps more than ever young people are feeling the pressure.

The Guardian this week published ways students can revise more effectively for examinations and thought I would share them with you as they sum up my views gained from years of personal experience:

Start the day with breakfast – 39% of girls skip this meal and they do not get the essential energy boost needed for maximum concentration. It may be the easiest meal to miss but no engine can work well without fuel and your body is no different.

When revising put your phone away out of sight and don’t be tempted to keep looking at it. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), which I have written about often, is so overwhelming young people have no idea how much time they  waste just checking social media let alone responding to comments.

It is always best to spread out revision – cramming never really works – and therefore start the day early and ensure there are enough breaks to keep the brain active enough to absorb more material.

Teaching someone else does help understanding and so sharing revision time with a friend may be useful and explaining concepts to others ensures that topics are understood well. Parents may help children by asking them about their studying and not just how much they have done but by asking them to explain what they have learned that day.  Testing yourself is useful and therefore practising questions is one way of doing this effectively.

The use of highlighters is not always as effective as it would appear and making notes look pretty may be just that and not really a useful aid to learning especially if the whole text ends up highlighted as it is difficult to select out sentences. The most effective highlighting is when just key words are identified.

Trying to revise whilst playing music doesn’t work whatever the argument given.  Studies have shown that students who revise in quiet environments learn more.

Get some fresh air and exercise during the day too and most importantly sleep well – go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up early and avoid the temptation from sheer tedium to doze during the day.

If these simple, straightforward rules are followed revision should be efficient and successful.