The A-Z of revision
Whether your teen's studying for GCSE or sixth form, they're likely to be taking mock exams this winter so they'll probably need to get on with some revision! Revision is different to studying and homework. It's about consolidating knowledge, understanding the subject matter and learning some facts off-by-heart. You can't revise for your teen, but you can help them develop a good system that works well for them.
In an ideal world, your teen will do a little revision as they go along with their studies, rather than leaving it all to the last minute, but most teens don't revise as they go along. That's why the weeks leading up to exams are so important.
There's still plenty of time to revise in a sensible way that doesn't create a sense of panic; fill in any blanks if lessons have been missed or if there's something they haven't grasped; and time to create revision notes which will help them learn and be useful to them in those crucial days ahead of exams when they need to refresh their minds about what they know.
There's more to effective revision than you might think
Revision isn't just about the time sitting at a desk studying text books. Your teen needs to plan how they will use their time, create revision notes, practise past papers, test their knowledge as well as maintaining a healthy balance between study and play. It also includes making sure they look after their mental and physical wellbeing by getting enough sleep, being active and eating the right things so they're feeling fit enough to stay on top of everything they have to do.
A great way to get them thinking about what revision entails is to play the A-Z of revision. Sit down together and come up with a list of things, one for each letter of the alphabet, related to what they'll need for revision. Some may be physical items - such as notebooks or highlighters, others might be things they'll do - such as making flashcards or re-reading their notes. Some letters of the alphabet are easier to assign than others, and where those trickier letters crop up, it's time to get creative and think about broader considerations that contribute to effective revision - such as not feeling hungry or over-tired during study times.
The outcome, or final assignations, of the A-Z list is less important that the process of compiling it. It's the conversations that highlight how many things can make a positive (or negative) difference to revising well, many of which are not instinctively linked to study. This creates an understanding that for revision to be effective it should be incorporated into an overall lifestyle that balances healthy lifestyle choices - not cramming hours of late night swotting into the final days before exams.
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If you need inspiration for the A-Z list, here's one we've created:
Abbreviations - Create your own abbreviations so they mean something to you Breaks - Take plenty of breaks to keep fresh Content - Think about the content of what you're studying
Distractions - Avoid distractions so you remain focused on the task in hand
Environment - Choose an environment that suits you so where you're studying feels right
Flashcards - Create flashcards to help learn and remember things
Goals Set plenty of small goals so you get a sense of achievement as you go along
Highlight - Highlight important facts to help remember them
Internet - Use the internet to help - you're not on your own!
Jargon - Make sure you understand jargon - don't skip it in case it crops up in an exam question
Keep focused, which is why it's best to revise in small bursts of time
Laugh - Laugh while you learn - find the fun in what you're doing
Manage - Manage yourself, you know how you work best, so demand the best of yourself
Notes - Make notes to summarize key points
Organize - organize yourself in small batches of time so you know what you're doing when
Phone - Turn your phone off - no distractions from notifications and incoming messages, and look forward to catching up during a break time
Quizes - Quiz yourself - to check what you've learned
Repeat/Review - Repeat and review - once isn't usually enough
Set time - Use a set time each day - the mind appreciates routine and regularity
Timetable - Create a revision timetable so you know what you're doing when, and to distribute your time evenly
Upset - Don't get upset - if things don't go as you'd hoped, set it aside and start afresh later
Verify - Verify information - you want to learn facts not fiction!
Wake - Wake up early to get started ...
relaX - ... and leave time at the end of the day to relax!
You - You are the key to your future - your doing this to create the life you want
zzz - get enough sleep!
How you can help:
There’s plenty more about what you can do at home, so why find out in: The Parents' Guide to Homelife and Study - GCSEs and The Parents' Guide to Homelife and Study - sixth form