Playing your way to exam success

12th May 2006 at 01:00
Geniass. The Kick-Ass GCSE Revision Game! pound;29.99 + pound;4.95 pp. Extra cards at pound;4.99 per pack. Smart Aspirations. Email: sales@geniass.co.uk. Tel: 0845 130 737. www.geniass.co.uk

With exam time almost here, Peter Ransom reviews a game which makes revision more fun

I found this genuine fun and so a generous genuflection to the inventor of this inspiring game. It definitely puts the fun back into revising for both key stage 3 and GCSE as it claims on its website. It was originally conceived when Jayne McLintock, a mum with teenage children, experienced the stress and frustration caused by exam revision and decided to do something about it.

Geniass is attractively packaged with a minimum of equipment to lose.

The basic rules are swiftly learnt and so players are quickly involved in the game which can be played with 2 to 6 people. It comes with five sets of revision cards: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and religious studies. Further sets on history and geography can be purchased to supplement those provided. Each set consists of 100 cards with three questions on it.

As far as the mathematics cards go, Level 1 is aimed at key stage 3 (with examples from levels 3 to 6) or Foundation level GCSE; Level 2 at Intermediate level GCSE (also suitable for key stage 3 levels 5 to 8) and Level 3 at Higher level GCSE.

As an example, here are the questions on the polygon card: L1 What is the name of a polygon with 8 sides? L2 How would you calculate the exterior angle of a polygon? L3 How would you calculate the interior angle of a polygon?

Answers are given on the reverse of the card.

There are two circuits of the game board. On the outer circuit you take it in turns to answer the questions on the cards until you have answered the requisite number correctly, each player storing their incorrectly answered questions in a special envelope.

Then, on the inner circuit, the incorrectly answered question cards are removed and re-answered. The first person to have emptied their "revision wallet" then heads for the finish. To make it more than just a question and answer game there are "Assin' about" squares. If you land on one of these then you take a forfeit card and do one of the two options, one of which is less crazy than the other! For a successful forfeit a carrot card is awarded which can be traded in one of two ways.

I trialled the game with my Year 9 KS3 maths revision class. This was a small group that thoroughly enjoyed the single-subject revision cards. In fact it was a problem keeping the Year 11 pupils who had also turned up for revision away from the game (they will get their turn shortly).

It would work extremely well with small groups of pupils and be a great way of involving family members in revision. The questions are short and by their nature are more inclined to oral work, so tend to supplement more traditional revision rather than replace it.

The cards would have benefited from careful proof-reading - powers do not always appear as such and sometimes a spurious question mark is included.

However, this does not detract too much from the game as a whole. Since the cards are subdivided into topics within each subject you can take out specific cards and use them to revise just one topic at a time.

So, not the cheapest revision materials on the market, but one that gets young people away from the computer and encourages family andor friends to get actively involved and so broadens everyone's knowledge.

It will also give me lots of quick-fire questions for lesson plenaries at this testing time!

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