Do you have a son or daughter who is taking exams this year? Do you want to know how best to help them with their revision – aside from turning up and taking the exams for them. As a parent, you want to take away any stresses and strains but this is one occasion where they have to go through it themselves. You can help them though, with some simple solutions:
Not all Techniques work for all.
First of all, it is important to remember to find a revision technique that suits your child. My son tried revision cards, but then found these hard to absorb, preferring to read out of printed revision guides with images rather than just text. Mind maps are also a great way to learn for some and we have had some success with these.
Make their revision time as enjoyable as possible.
Our son revises away from the hustle and bustle of the family and his favourite place to revise is on the settee (with the TV off, of course), a blanket (for comfort), a hot water bottle (if it’s cold), a drink and a snack. He has a small table to rest his books on and make notes.
Use a Revision Timetable
One of the best things we have done is draw up a revision timetable. There are websites that you can sign up for FREE which will produce one for you. All you need to do is enter the dates of the upcoming exams and it will format one for you based on that.
Make your Own
We made our own simple revision timetable. In all, he has 20 exams to sit between 16 May – 20 June 2017. Each subject is split into components – for example, in Science he has 6 exams and they are split into:
- Biology – Module 1, 2 and 3
- Chemistry – Module 1, 2 and 3
- Physics – Module 1, 2 and 3
- Biology – Module 4, 5 and 6
- Chemistry – Module 4, 5 and 6
- Physics – Module 4, 5 and 6
I created a simple table and then listed the subjects, spilt by component, in the top row. I find by using a timetable, my son knows exactly what he needs to be revising during each particular slot and it ensures that nothing is missed. He also uses this timetable to make notes on where he has got to, if there is a section he needs to go over again, or if he has extra revision cards for a particular subject.
Start Early and Make the Time Count
Much to our son’s annoyance, we have ‘encouraged’ him to begin revising NOW and I am sure he is not the only one. He does 2 hours each night after school as well as up to 6 hours each day at the weekend. Starting early will allow time off in the future if he is ill or has something he needs to attend and means they won’t be panicking about lack of time.
Short Bursts of Revision and Mixing Up the Subjects
Our timetable has 50 minute slots, with 10 minutes break between each session and an hour and 10 minutes for lunch. This almost replicates the school day and means that if he starts at 9 am on a weekend, he is finished by 4 pm and free to do whatever he chooses. Each 50 minute slot is a different subject, keeping the learning fresh.
There are some subject which my son struggles to revise on his own – maths being the main one – so we sit together and work through practice questions and techniques.
Make Use of Past or Practice Exam Papers
Using past or practice exam papers is invaluable. We have been given quite a few from the school but you can also find these FREE online. Check the relevant exam board website.
Last, but not least, just be there for them. Sometimes they don't need anything but to know you are there if they need you. Let them know they have your full support. We are constantly telling our son that ‘we are in this together’.
I hope you find some of these points useful. I hope things go really well for the exams and that our young people achieve all they wish.
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