Revision . . . do you have the right skills?

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Last week, we delivered a study skills workshop to Y10 and 13 as part of their preparation for their mocks in November, and, of course, GCSE and A Level exams at the end of the school year.

We revisited a number of different approaches to studying, using The Learning Pyramid as the basis of our discussion. Although its figures for the best retention rates could be argued, it is a great way to remind the pupils of the importance of being interactive and proactive in their own learning.

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The importance of effective revision planning was also discussed – between Dr Richardson and myself we highlighted how starting early and getting organised in the form of a study timetable was an invaluable approach, not only because it allows enough time to be spent on each topic, but as it also allows for studying to be planned around the pupils’ real lives and relaxation. The website www.getrevising.co.uk is a brilliant tool to help pupils in a number of ways, and in particular we showed pupils how it can be used to create a study plan. On speaking to recent student alumni about the advice they would give to the up coming exam classes, being organised was a number one topic. In particular, it was mentioned that not having a timetable means that any time spent relaxing is not as beneficial as it might be, as the thought of ‘I should be studying’ is always floating around the back of their minds. So future exam classes – take heed!

Finally – we ended the session by talking about motivation, as without it, all of the study tips, plans and strategies we give the pupils will not be as effective. Some pupils are motivated by the thought of getting the best exam grades that they can. Some are not. Ideally we want all pupils to be motivated by the very act of learning and becoming educated as a means of achieving their dreams.

For this reason, I asked the pupils to think about where they would want to be in 10 years time, (such a long time away for 15/17 year olds!) and to think back to the goals that they wrote down at the start of term in tutor time. I wanted them to actually visualise their ideal lives in the future, and we talked about how their learning and these exams are stepping stones to having more choice and freedom. I have already worked with some groups on producing ‘vision boards’ – a wonderful way of focusing and motivating pupils. I always love to hear their dreams and ambitions – and I often encourage them to think more grandly than they do. We then take steps backwards from their dreams to realise that education is the first step to making sure they happen.

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Claire Park

Head of English, Curriculum and Enrichment

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