ALL IN THE PREPARATION
With changes to GCSEs and extra pressure at A level, Bella Audsley, of Enjoy Education, says it’s key to get the basics of revision right
WHILE EXAMS test knowledge and understanding, revision tests organisation and planning. Supporting teenage children through their exams can present its own unique challenges.
Mock examinations give pupils an opportunity to experience co-ordinating a range of exams for different subjects – and in close succession. They offer
an excellent insight into the topics and study skills to target in revision.
This may be your child’s first experience of sitting examinations across all subjects, and although they might not directly ask for support, they may find it helpful to talk through their revision and exam schedule with somebody. Due to the breadth of subjects at this level, and the number of exams, we recommend making a revision plan as early as possible to ensure that students avoid last-minute intensive studying or missing out a key topic.
Try prioritising and specifying particular topics (past tense conjugations) and not just the general subject (French). This will cut down procrastination time and make revision more efficient and focused.
The new numbered grading system, and updates to the curriculum involving sitting exams at the end of the twoyear course, with fewer opportunities for coursework, put more emphasis on in-depth understanding as pupils will be tested on two years’ learning. If students organise a calendar of topics to revise, working backwards from the exam dates, they can allow enough time to cover all the necessary content.
A levels allow students to specialise in favourite subjects. The exams require thorough understanding, analysis and often a more personal response than at GCSE level. It may, therefore, be appropriate to incorporate different methods into revision, such as listening to podcasts, watching debates and discussing topics with peers.
As sixth formers take on more responsibility for their learning, they may find it helpful to revise at school or in a library, free from the distractions of technology. Nevertheless, due to the pressure of these final school exams, and their impact on further study, students may find it helpful to have an adult around when they are working. Parents can provide support by encouraging their children to take breaks and exercise; an evening trip to the cinema can help to disconnect from studying.
Although everyone is different, and some teenagers may prefer starting work early to free up the afternoon. They should try spending around five hours a day on revision, with regular breaks, to divide learning into manageable blocks. Encouraging your child to get sufficient sleep and eat healthy meals is a good way to support them – and if in doubt, it also helps to have a rainbow selection of stationery items on standby...