How to get the most out of revision time?

Learn to learn better

In just three months’ time, summer exams in Cambridge, including life-defining GCSE and A-levels, will be under way.  How do you get your child to make the most out of their revision time, and end up with the best grades?

They need to know how to learn better.  

The key to learning better is to develop independent study skills.   This is easier said than done.  Like many parents I have spent many hours motivating (sometimes bribing) my children to revise.  However, I have seen that the development of independent study skills helps your children:

  1. Structure revision sessions
  2. Become less stressed
  3. Build confidence.

So, encourage your child to start early, learn in short bursts, test themselves on a subject over several weeks and leaving lengthy intervals between each session.

The last thing they should do is cram.

Successful study skills

To become confident, independent learners at post-16 and beyond student’s should prime and develop their study skills.

Too often attention is paid solely to the content of academic courses at the expense of the development of independent study skills. But a student needs strong study skills to deliver his or her academic potential.

Several generic study skills must be processed but it is important to adapt and refined these for the needs of specific subjects.  The aim of core study skills is to master the key areas of organisation, research, note taking and assignment writing.

On this basis with help and guidance a student should then develop styles of study which are personal and individual.

Organisation

This is a key skill which surprisingly undermines many students who cannot organise their time well.

Students need to know how to timetable and to work towards deadlines. The personal aspect is built in with the student’s realising his or her best places, best times and best styles of work.

Research

So much of post-16 study is dependent upon an ability to research effectively.

Where should students look for evidence for assignments? Libraries and resource centres need to be used in a clear and focused way, whilst the demands of electronic media need specific forms of research skills.

Note taking

Students need to adopt a sharp eye for selecting relevant information when making notes.

Sometimes it is difficult to know what material to collect and what to leave out. Effective note taking requires different levels of reading skills.  This will produce relevant material for use in assignments/exams.

Writing assignments

Whilst different assignments need different ways of putting together material for written assignments, there are some generic rules/tips which can help.

The structuring of thematic paragraphs is important in developing a relevant flow to an argument. In addition, effective and relevant introductions and conclusions can lift essays into higher grades.

This was developed by Richard Perry our scuseme co-ordinator.

Contact Richard for help with revision skills and learning here

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Dawn Giesler is the founder of Scuseme Cambridge, a recommendation website that helps your family run smoothly.  She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advice based on her own experiences. For more information visit scuseme.