GCSE revision techniques

20th January 2006 at 00:00
I believe you shouldn't use the word "revision" with pupils: it turns them off. So after completing a course, I work out how many lessons I have left for revision and allocate time to each topic.

I get pupils to complete a self-assessment on which topics they feel confident about and which they feel need more work. I then write a scheme of work for these lessons using a variety of revision techniques which they can use at home.

I spend the first lesson discussing what revision actually is. It's important to tell pupils what it means and give them the right techniques.

Reading through notes is not the best way for many pupils. We brainstorm as many ways as possible that they can revise. Some of the techniques I use are: mind mapping; games; sample exam answers; making revision cards; using silly or unusual wayspictureswords to remember ideas. To ensure they know what they should be revising, they all get a copy of the exam specification and are encouraged to use this as a checklist.

They are all given revision files and cards for each topic within the subject content. The file content can lead to an A*, but the cards are for those that are working towards anything up to a C grade. Giving pupils content at too high a grade can confuse them. Revision lessons should also benefit the teacher. If there are large gaps in pupils' knowledge, I can improve my teaching of that topic for the next year.

Dawn Cox Assistant principal for humanities, the Harefield Academy, Hillingdon

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