Revision & Exams

Revision/Study techniques: a tale of 2 students

Standing on my right is Emma and on my left, Jed. Both are popular, like to socialise a lot and love sport. Both are intelligent but getting down to work is difficult. Emma likes to talk to friends in the evenings on social networking sites and rarely feels sleepy before midnight or 1 o’clock. Jed runs to a similar timetable but he likes playing games and chatting in the evening. Consequently when both struggle out of their respective beds in the morning they are grumpy and disorganised. No time for breakfast, they rush of to school but are late again which gets them into trouble. Not a good start to the day! They are both behind with their homework but just don’t know where to start, there’s just so much to do now.

Emma finds it difficult to make decisions, whether it is what to wear to a party at the weekend or what exactly are the main points of plate tectonics. What should she highlight and what should she leave out? Everything seems to be a bit of a challenge. She can think of 101 things to do rather than homework and the more her parents nag the worse it gets.

Jed likes the subjects he’s studying but finds it difficult to get down to work too. His elder brother is a bit of a geek and always does brilliantly so what’s the point in competing? When he gets home he just wants to chill but his mother is constantly on his back ( he feels) trying to get him to work. He knows he should, he wants to really, but like Emma, there’s a bit of a backlog so where do you start? It’s easier to watch sport or play games. He just can’t sit at his desk for hours like his brother, he’d go mental, but when he tries to work downstairs and listen music at the same time his mother gets angry.

Both are easily overwhelmed and need help in ‘chunking’ their work into manageable pieces. Both have mule like tendencies if they are given direct orders and prefer a more light hearted approach. Think carrots rather than sticks. Both probably have problems with concentration and again there are strategies to help this but most of all their motivation and self esteem needs some work too. Sleep is crucial for the developing teenage brain and it is very difficult to be on top form if suffering from sleep deprivation and a difficult start to the day. Strategies can be put in place to help with all these points.

At the other end of the scale is Carrie the workaholic. She puts in hours and hours but doesn’t always get the results she might expect. She (and they often are girls) is a perfectionist. Her notes are extremely neat, if she makes one small mistake there’s not the option to cross it out and carry on. No, the whole page has to be re-written! Her files are ordered (take note Emma and Jed) and her bedroom immaculate. As soon as she comes home from school she goes to her room and starts work. Because she is so meticulous, it takes her a long time to complete a piece of work and she constantly feels under pressure. Unlike some of her classmates she reads EVERY article the teacher gives as handouts and follows up references.

Carrie needs some downtime and to think about what techniques work best for her. Its not about spending hours looking at books but working in a more effective manner and leaving time for relaxation and extra curricular activities. Reading through notes is rarely effective because it is so easy for the mind to wander. Generally,effective learning needs to see active engagement – it might be teaching your parents ( or the dog), pacing up and down while reading from flashcards etc. It has to be in the students own language to be understandable.

So wherever you are on the spectrum left, right or in the middle, there will be a combination of strategies and techniques which will work for YOU. Find out what they are today and get your action plan in place. Revision can be fun!

 

My daughter benefited from receiving a plan of revision for her GCSE’s. She was of an age and attitude when parents’ advice was neither welcomed or listened to… it was most beneficial and led her to gain the results she wanted.Thank you very much, your input was greatly appreciated.  (Monmouth Comprehensive School parent)

 ‘From zero to hero!’ said one mother when her offspring received GCSE grades. A clutch of A*’s, A’s and B’s showed that this was time well spent when at Christmas grades had been less than stellar. (Monmouth School parent)

Yippee! It seems like a miracle, no shouting or tears about getting homework done at 10 P.M. on Sunday. ( Monmouth parent after workshop at Monmouth Comprehensive School)

Comments from previous workshops:

Very good information Frances very approachable and easy to talk to. Loads more information than I expected.

Frances clearly has vast experience, personal and professional and shared these in a really useful, interesting way.