At Archbishop Holgate’s we recognise that exams are a stressful but very important time. We are really proud of the support we put in place to enable all our students to be successful in their exams and we are proud of the efforts the young people in Key Stage 4 and 5 make every single year.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
In simple terms students need to:
- Plan their time and make a clear revision timetable
- Identify a suitable place to work and revise – this might be at home or it might be in school
- Identify areas of focus for revision and ensure they are clear on exactly what they need to know
- Plan how they will revise and the strategies that work best for them
- Make sure they build time for rest into their exam planners and revision timetable
Our ‘Steps to Revision’ set out the key processes you need to go through to successfully plan and implement your revision schedule. Throughout Year 10 and Year 11, you will do work on each of the steps here to ensure you are confident with structuring and planning your revision time.
We ensure that all Year 11 students have the tools they need to succeed with revision through our Year 11 revision skills day, ‘walking, talking mocks’ and our weekly exam preparation sessions that are built into the Year 11 tutor programme. Useful advice includes:
- When creating a revision timetable the key is to be honest and realistic. Build in time to rest, in addition to mapping out the time that will be spent on subject content.
- Start early. Revision is reinforcing existing knowledge, not learning anything new.
- Throughout your time at Archbishop’s develop good habits – meet your homework deadlines and spend 10-15 minutes each week recapping any content that you find difficult
- Plan from your exams and work backwards, build in birthdays etc. Be realistic.
- Somewhere to work – ensure that you have a quiet, calm place to work. If you struggle with this at home, see your Head of Year for help and support.
- Everyone needs a flat surface. Beds just do not work!
- Good lighting. You need to be able to see!
- Start early- all homework needs to be completed in these conditions. Get into best routines.
Plan how you will learn
Key to remembering is returning to information regularly. This ‘little and often’ approach has been proven to be the most effective way to retain content over the long term.
- 66% material is forgotten after 7 days
- 88% material is forgotten after 6 weeks
- Reading notes and text books leads to a mere 10% retention
Each time knowledge is reinforced; it enters deeper into the long-term memory and becomes more stable.
- It is not enough to simply read through notes.
- It is not enough to highlight texts and revision notes.
- Writing summaries of information is pretty much pointless, unless you do this in a way that makes you think!
- Copying out information is not usually an effective revision technique
- Students often resort to these methods for two reasons:
- They are easy! They don’t require much brain power. This is why they don’t work well to improve memory.
- They make students feel like they are doing a lot of work, when in actual fact they are not.
- Instead, focus your revision on techniques that really make you think about what you are trying to learn
Some effective techniques:
- When making mind maps or revision clocks, do these first without notes, then add details you missed using your notes, in a different colour. This works because you are forcing yourself to think hard and retrieve information from your memory – not just copy it out!
- Flash cards – these are a great technique for learning key facts. Make flashcards of key information (not too much, about 5-6 bullet points) and put questions on the back. You can then use these to test yourself, or get someone to test you.
- Ask for practice exams from teachers. You can also often find practice exams online too – you just need to make sure they are for the right exam specification
- Teaching someone else – try to challenge yourself to teach give key points to your parents after each 20 minutes of revision you do