Revise wise

30th November 2007 at 00:00

Ages 11 to 16

I had tried several exercises to encourage my pupils to revise for exams. I tried doing "open book" tests to get them to use their notes, I tried creating a formula sheet to make revising easier and countless other ideas all of which only really worked with the pupils that didn't really need any encouragement to revise.

So a few weeks back I tried something totally different with a Year 10 class.

I gave each pupil a sheet of A4 paper with their name and my signature on it and told them they had a test coming up and they were allowed to bring the blank page in with them. It was up to them what they did with the page. If they wrote on it, fine. If they didn't, fine.

Immediately, one of the more troublesome pupils shouted out, "Great! I'm going to copy down all of the examples from my book."

Objective one achieved. They were going to revise.

I tried this with other groups with much the same effect. The revision sheets they have produced for themselves are better than the ones I made when I did my A-levels.

At the end of the test, I collected their sheets to look at them in more detail. It was very rewarding when pupils pretty much demanded that they got them back.

Objective two achieved. My pupils now value all of their revision notes. Other teachers in my department have tried with the same levels of success.

Martin Clarke teaches maths at Greenwood Dale School in Nottingham.

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