The BBC claims that its Bitesize service is the most comprehensive. It incorporates integrated television, books, CD-Roms, internet and video which can be used together or individually as a stand-alone service. The website at www.bbc.co.ukschoolsrevision provides a direct link to all the BBC's revision sites (Bitesize for GCSE and key stage 3 exams and Revisewise for key stage 2 tests). The site also has support pages for both teachers and parents.
In the age of text messaging, what better way to get revision notes to teenagers who seem to be physically attached to their mobiles? Txt Bites builds on a successful pilot developed last year. Students dial 09066 800 603 to register for between one and five subjects (English, maths, biology, chemistry and physics). They then receive 24 questions and 24 answers for each subject over three months (from mid-February to mid-May).
Bitesize also offers SOS Teacher (www.bbc.co.uksosteacher) - an online service that enables students (key stage 2 to AS-level) to submit questions to a bank of teachers for help and advice on homework, coursework, revision and exam technique. Responses will take a maximum of 24 hours.
With an archive containing thousands of previously asked questions, students may be able to find the answer to their query on the spot. This service is similar to one offered by Channel 4's Homework High site. Homework High's library holds more than 30,000 questions and the 20 teachers online answer more than 300 questions daily.
Bitesize also offers three CD-Roms for key stage 3 and three for GCSE, priced at pound;9.99 each. Each CD-Rom provides a bank of practice questions and has a unique "teacher inside a computer facility" (Live Learning software) that allows students to watch and hear examples being worked out before they tackle questions on their own. Network licences are also available. Being the Beeb, television has not been forgotten. Students can video a full range of programmes (see times below) to help their preparation.
Egghead produces material on CD-Rom for GCSE biology (Bear), chemistry (Care) and physics (Pear). The material is licensed to a school and may be downloaded on the school's computers as well as teachers' personal computers at home. According to Roy Bevin, Egghead's publisher: "The spirit of the licence is that the material may be used by teachers for the benefit of students." Egghead produces three products specifically for the NEABAQA examinations and a general version "for all major examination boards and the national curriculum".
Essentially, Egghead's aim is to save teachers preparing hundreds of exercises by providing attractive worksheets (and copy sheets) with pro-forma answer sheets. A variety of record sheets are provided to help teachers and students keep a record of performance and identify areas that need more treatment.
MMT is another well-established producer of CD-Rom revision material. Since it started in 1996, it has produced some 20 titles covering 10 A-level subjects, and recently commissioned authors to work on an A2 Chemistry and an AS ICT ready for September. Some of the CDs have variable background music styles, and even sound effects from the exam room itself, down to the coughing and the invigilator's approaching steps. Revision will never be the same again.
Everyone loves a quiz and, thanks to Letts Schools Challenge, teams of pupils can compete to answer questions based on their GCSE courses. Questions are drawn from the Letts Revise GCSE Success Guides covering English, French, maths, science, geography and history, and are randomly delivered in a fairly even mix. All core subjects are covered and the teams can enter the quiz any number of times (different questions across the curriculum each time).
The Pass my Exam website combines free revision tips with paid-for model answers relating to questions from past AQA, Edexcel and OCR papers. It currently covers eight subjects for GCSE students, with five subjects available at A-level. Teachers or students can buy subject-specific books with model answers online.
BBC TV Revision: GCSE Bitesize Revision programmes are on Sundays from 3am and Mondays from 2am. Key Stage 3 Bitesize programmes are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2am. Revisewise programmes cover key stage 2 National Tests on Saturdays from 3am. From late March, BBC GCSE Bitesize will also be available via digital cable, satellite and web TV.Homework High: (www.channel4.comhomeworkhighEgghead: www.EggheadPublications.co.ukMMT: www.MMTLTD.comLetts Challenge: www.lettschallenge.co.ukOther useful sources of electronic revision materials include: Crocodile Clips: www.crocodile-clips.comDorling Kindersley: dkcurriculum.dk.comgcseGSP: www.gsp.cc and www.gsp.ccdkinfoLogotron: www.logo.comwww.s-cool.co.ukwww.learn.co.ukA comprehensive guide to CD-Rom and website services can be found on Becta's educational software database (BESD): http:besd.becta.org.uk