Revision tips... for parents!

Revision and education expert, Patrick Wilson, from The Tutor Crowd, shares his tips to get your child’s revision on track.  From kick-starting and planning your schedule, keeping motivated to some creative ways to make revision more colourful, Patrick takes you through some quick fire ideas to help you crack the art of revision!

warburtons breakfastPlanning and Preparation
Planning is critical to the revision process.  We find that the majority of students who don’t make the right type of plan end up kicking themselves in exams that they didn’t plan enough early on:

Lay the foundations for success: The planning stage is the most important time for getting your revision timetable right.  When developing your plan, consider the date of your exam and allocate how much time you have available to study until the day, e.g. two hours a week for the next ten weeks

Break up time into manageable chunks: Split out your time per subject and create subdivisions of each topic you should cover off to help structure your learning

Colour-coding: When developing your revision timetable, colour-coding is a particularly useful tool.  The BIC® 4 Colours™ pen now includes a new selection of four colours, perfect for assigning a different colour to each subject.  This will allow you to see at one easy glance what you need to focus on and when

Share your schedule: Once you have put your schedule together, share it with a parent or teacher.  This isn’t about them ‘keeping tabs’ on you; it shows you are taking studying seriously (and will make them less likely to pester you about revising!), plus you’ll get a sense of satisfaction updating them on the progress you are making

Maintaining Momentum
Keeping focused is crucial so you stay on track with the revision schedule you’ve plotted out:

Be specific: Give yourself a specific outcome of what you want to achieve within the time you have set yourself. This is when the revision timetable comes into its own!

Be task-orientated: Set yourself a dedicated task, for example working until you have fully memorised the content on pages 64 – 75 of your textbook.  This adds focus and direction to how you study.  Plus, if you finish sooner than anticipated, you can use the time to move on to another subject or reward yourself with a well-earned break

Don’t overload yourself:  there is little point slogging it out and working a solid 12 hours straight each day. Your brain will become tired and you’ll just end up getting frustrated, bored and demotivated. It’s much more beneficial to have a series of short, effective revision sessions lined up to keep you engaged and your brain switched on

Tell someone how you are doing:  Keeping a dialogue going about your revision plan, whether it’s with one of your classmates, your parents or a tutor.  This way you can keep an eye on your own your progress and it’s also a handy way to get any small frustrations or stumbling blocks off your chest

Reward yourself: Incentivising yourself will not only help you stay motivated, but also adds structure to your day.  For example, if you achieve your revision goal for a specific session, reward yourself by watching a film or taking a break

Creative Revision Techniques
A change to how your brain takes in information helps to keep things fresh and can make your mind even more active, so try adding some colour to your revision with these creative learning techniques:

Mind mapping: Everyone’s mind takes in information differently, so if you are a visual learner, this is an effective way to represent key information.  Mind mapping is also perfect for revision flash cards. Simply take a blank piece of paper, writing a title of the topic you are revising in the centre.  Use a BIC® 4 Colours™ pen, with one colour for each theme you are exploring, and write them around the title in the centre.  Add points about each theme, moving further towards the outside of the page as you go

Memory exercises: Performing an action has a much more powerful effect on memory, so use action-based learning techniques to aid memory function over time.  The technique involves reading or listening to the content or fact you are revising, then paraphrase it.  Once it’s in your own words, cover it up and say it out loud, checking that you got it right

Talk to Write:  Get chatty with this clever revision technique to break up reading through revision notes.  Verbally answer a revision question in the same way it would be written in the exam. Talk through your answer again and again to get better each time.  Ideally, do this with someone, e.g. a teacher or study partner, who can give you pointers on where you can improve your answer

Beating exam nerves and stress
There’s no denying impending exams can be scary, even if you have done everything you can to prepare beforehand, but there are some simple tips to help manage that stomach-churning exam-angst:

Regular exam practice: The more comfortable you are, the less nervous you will be on the day, so set time aside to answer mock exam questions under timed conditions. To make sure you are on the right track, get a teacher or tutor to look over your answers

Don’t think about the big picture: By charting out your time each day until exam day, you’ll be able to focus on your daily target, which will help you feel more in control and reduce worry

The night before: Even though it might be tempting, don’t burn the midnight oil and stay up trying to cram. You’re better off getting an early night so your brain is rested, ready to take on the exam fully refreshed

Pack a spare pen:  While the reliable BIC® Cristal® can write up to 2 kilometres – that’s 97 exam papers to you and me - there’s nothing more terrifying than worrying that your pen will break or run out as you’re in full exam flow.  Pack a couple of spares to keep your mind at rest as you get scribbling