Effective Revision

revision-guideIt is that time of year again when exams are looming and students are being urged to revise. That being said, many parents are happy to leave their kids to their own devices on study leave and hope for the best. This is not going to get the results their children want. Many students will end up frittering away their study leave and doing nothing constructive. It could be from lack of motivation but it also can be from not really knowing how to revise properly. So what exactly makes for good effective revision?

If in your youth, like me, you sat up for hours chanting passages from your textbook and notes like a mantra hoping that it would sink in, then keep reading because that has never worked. Trying to cram everything into your head in a few hours prior to the exam doesn’t help although countless students can be seen nervously flicking through the pages of their book just outside the exam room.

Firstly when revising, students are best to focus on the things they don’t know and clear these up so they understand them. There are usually very good revision guides produced for GCSE and A Level courses and these, if done properly, with the exercises and checking answers can be very helpful. The bottom line is making sure the student actually does the exercises and completes the book. Online quizzes, such as for GCSE, are also a very good way of testing knowledge. Using these and finding areas that are weak can then lead to more study on those topics to try and strengthen them. Quizzes also can boost confidence by showing a student what they do know and should not be underestimated as a tool.

Multiple choice type questions can only go so far however, and every exam always has some ‘big answer’ and hence big mark sections. These need to be practiced because students most often lose marks on these types of questions by not answering fully and in enough detail. Getting the teacher to give your child past papers and marking schemes so that they do the questions and can check their own answers is a very good way of tackling these.

Talk to the teachers; be aware of the predicted grades of your child and then talk to your child. Don’t be a stand-off parent, get involved and help them to plan out their revision and time off so that it’s used wisely and not wasted. Include some rewards for time well spent, targets met and to also make It fun. If they are going for particular grades then this time is all-important for them so get on board.

Another good way of helping your child could be private tuition just in the weaker areas of a subject; it can make a huge difference in a short space of time. Be aware that tutors get very busy just before exams and so finding one at short notice can be harder than normal.

Helping your child to make revision effective and productive is part of the recipe for examination success.

music-revisionGuest Blog by David Evans Bailey

David Evans Bailey is currently studying an MA at the University of Brighton in Digital Media Art. He taught ICT and Photography at Secondary School level for several years as well as being involved in many theatrical and other endeavours. His background is an IT professional. You can see some of his artwork at www.davidevansbailey.com

Play With A Purpose

kids-gamesThe quizzes on this website work because a quiz is a kind of game: a challenge that takes learning onto the level of fun. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of the learning games I so enjoyed as a child as did my own children and now my grandchildren too!

Not only do they provide practice and familiarity with some of the essentials of grammar, they also bring the family together – unplugging their ears and lifting their heads from their phones or tablets for some interactive fun. Continue reading

Perfect Song Recipe

greensleeves-ladyA song for all time.

Among the many thousands of lovely songs that have come down to us from the past, some stand out as ‘super giants’.

Did the lady in the court of Henry VIII in that beautiful dress with flowing green sleeves, ever dream that we would still be singing about her more than 500 years later?

‘Greensleeves was all my joy, Greensleeves was my delight, Greensleeves was my heart of gold, and who but my lady Greensleeves?’ Continue reading

Gifted and Talented

clever-childDoes your child have go faster stripes? Are they going through a subject quicker than Usain Bolt in the 100 meters? It is possible that your child may be gifted and talented. But how do you know and more importantly how does the school know?

The Department for Education already has definitions for these terms, which are meant to be used as guidelines for schools: Gifted learners are those who have particular abilities in one or more curriculum subjects and talented learners are those who have particular abilities in the creative arts (such as music, art and design, drama, dance) and PE. Some schools may prefer to call them ‘more able’ or ‘high ability’ as it sounds less elitist. Continue reading

Enthusiasm and Education

gemstonesDoes your child have a passion or excessive enthusiasm for some particular subject? Often this can be quite surprising. My seven year-old grandson was mad about semi-precious stones. I have known children of similar age who were absolute encyclopaedias on subjects as varied as national flags, frogs and the Battle of Waterloo. Sport is of course a very popular area and, controversially, war and weapons are perennially fascinating to masculine youth! Animals are very much loved by children. Continue reading

Importance Of Song Lyrics

adele-songHow important are the words in the performance of a song?

We all like to hear the words. What’s the song about? It’s the joys of Spring, it’s the tragic tale of a lost love, it’s a moving story of heroism above and beyond. It’s a hymn of praise or a re-telling of a familiar folk tale.

When we listen to a symphony or a piano recital, we do so without the complication of words and poetry for the most part. We are moved by beautiful melody, harmony, drama, mood, the rich variety of the sounds of the instruments.

The power of a song is very much dependent on all the above, but with the additional factor of words and, poetry – the singer is a narrator. Continue reading

To Tutor Or Not To Tutor

high-gradePrivate tutoring is an option taken by many parents. As a private tutor and also a secondary school teacher I have taught on both sides of the fence.

Why should you pay good money to have your child tutored outside of school? Most parents turn to tuition when their child is in trouble or not doing well at school. Others feel that it is going to boost their grades by having one-to-one tuition. In places like Hong Kong some tutors achieve an almost mythical cult status. Continue reading

The Rise Of The Choir

old-choir“Music is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing” – wise words from one of our great Elizabethan composers over 400 years ago.

Why is it so good a thing? We know of its health-giving effects – using the full stretch of the lungs, oxygenating the system, improving posture, stimulating the brain.

We also know of the life-enhancing effect of meeting with other people, enjoying the social interaction of life in a choir. Continue reading

Making Writing Fun For Kids

kids-writingIf you’d like to help your children to have fun with those writing tasks and at the same time raise their grades significantly there is one simple tool that is pretty new on the writing market: Your Mobile.

There is so much as yet untapped potential in this wonder of our age! All that is required is that it has a camera. Are there any nowadays that do not?

Take, for example, the dreaded end of holiday task: Write about your holiday; your Christmas; your trip; your outing. Does that ring a bell? Do you have a child that leaves this till the night before school starts? Continue reading

Pushing Your Child

successWe all know that as parents we want our children to succeed in everything they do. We also will have encountered the so-called ‘pushy parent’. So how pushy is pushy?

There are many talented children around the world. What you do about your child’s talent is the important thing. You need to ask yourself a very honest question along the lines of “if you help your child to pursue their talent or their dream, who are you doing it for? Is it for your child or is it for you?” Continue reading