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Teaching Revision and Exam Technique

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 23 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Teaching Revision And Exam Technique

Most students feel nervous about exams, but homed schooled students might have extra nerves about taking the exams in a large exam centre with students they may have never previously met. It's a good idea to take your homed schooled child along to the exam centre in advance of the date of the first exam so he or she can get used to the environment, or at least knows what to expect. The rest of this article looks at tips on study skills, teaching revision, exam tips and dealing with exam nerves, to help home schooled children achieve top grades in exams.

Home Schooled Students and Study Skills

It's a good idea to always foster the study skills below, but they are especially important just before an exam, so a home schooled child can revise in peace and quiet. Create the right conditions that are conducive to studying, that might be a library if the home has become associated with non-study tasks, or a quiet room at home with a good desk and supportive chair. Turn off all distractions (like television and music), and have everything that your child might need to revise nearby, e.g. rough paper, pens, calculator, to avoid the distraction of getting up to track down a resource.

Revision Methods for Home Schooled Students

There are a myriad of ways and methods to revise, so it's best to start using several different types throughout your child's education to find the best and most effective way to revise for your child to consolidate his or her knowledge. While some students find success passively reading through notes and books, most find active methods of revision more successful. These might include repeatedly simplifying the information into shorter and shorter notes, until there is a line per fact/piece of information, which can be used as a review and memory jogger.

Another way is to actively adapt all notes so that prose becomes diagrams, and vice versa, facts are broken down into mnemonics, etc. Many students like to use flash cards as memory aids. Past papers can be a useful way for home schooled children to get used to answering questions in a 'standard' way, and can be marked by a parent or tutor. There is further information on this method elsewhere on this site. When helping your child to work through a past examination paper, help him or her to make the most of the experience by timing the exam to the exact time available in the real exam.

Avoiding Exam Nerves

Help your child be aware that nervousness before an exam is normal, but excess stress should be avoided if possible. Plan in advance for the exam, so you know where and when it will take place and are not late. Ensure your child knows home much time is allowed in the exam, and the number of questions that have to be answered.

Exam Tips

First step is to look through the paper and write down top questions (if you have a choice) or things that seem important. Look at the marks available and answer questions accordingly, writing more for questions of higher value. Show all working out where possible. Make a plan for essay questions. Allow time at the end to read through answers and correct mistakes. After the exam, don't bother comparing answers with other students – it will only add to stress!

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Sarah - Your Question:
I am a teacher of Science in School - for AQA you can go to their website, download papers for the last 5 years and the mark schemes and the latest specification with the teachers guide - this shows what is needed to be learnt (then look it up on bbd bitesize or revision books). Every exam board have text book for their course but make sure it is up to date - syllabuses change about every 5 years but all they tend to do is swap from paper to paper - this means you have to be a bit clever with past papers if there has been a change. The latest CGP guides are excellent revision (and even learning) tools and there are lots for AQA in each subject. For Science you need to decide are you going to do the 3 separately or try Core and Additional (giving you 2 and a mixture of all 3 main sciences) - you can develop onto the 3 separates from here if you wish - the exams are the same (just a 3rd in each science). One issue with science by the normal GCSE rather than iGCSE is the practical (coursework) part of the content - I believe this has to be submitted by an accredited centre - some areas provide these.The reason I am on this site is that I am looking into setting one up in our local college as I know of a couple in England. If anyone uses one could you post its name. ThanksSarah

Our Response:
Thanks for the useful information. Hope someone can help with the accredited centre information you need.
AHomeEducation - 26-May-16 @ 1:50 PM
I am a teacher of Science in School - for AQA you can go to their website, download papers for the last 5 years and the mark schemes and the latest specification with the teachers guide - this shows what is needed to be learnt (then look it up on bbd bitesize or revision books). Every exam board have text book for their course but make sure it is up to date - syllabuses change about every 5 years but all they tend to do is swap from paper to paper - this means you have to be a bit clever with past papers if there has been a change. The latest CGP guides are excellent revision (and even learning) tools and there are lots for AQA in each subject.For Science you need to decide are you going to do the 3 separately or try Core and Additional (giving you 2 and a mixture of all 3 main sciences) - you can develop onto the 3 separates from here if you wish - the exams are the same (just a 3rd in each science). One issue with science by the normal GCSE rather than iGCSE is the practical (coursework) part of the content - I believe this has to be submitted by an accredited centre - some areas provide these. The reason I am on this site is that I am looking into setting one up in our local college as I know of a couple in England.If anyone uses one could you post its name. Thanks Sarah
Sarah - 23-May-16 @ 6:47 PM
@Karen. You could contact AQA and ask them for materials recommendations. They have section with past papers and marking schemes. You can also ask your local educationauthority for any recommendations plus those on home schooling forums. There are lots of study guides on the website of a well know book seller/retailer which are always helpful too.
AHomeEducation - 18-Jun-15 @ 2:37 PM
I am homeschooling my 15 year old son and desparately trying to find the correct study books, he has decided that AQA seem best for him and I have been on their website but stuggling trying to work out what books I need to buy.I am dreading that I get this wrong and when he comes to sit his exam he won't have covered the questions I would value any help or advise
Karen - 14-Jun-15 @ 3:04 PM
I am a one to one tutor in psychology.I tutor on the AQA, WJEC and IB.I produce what my very successful students have called, "bibles" which contain all the information needed to do well in the exams: How to write essays and relevant information needed with evaluations; How to comment on, evaluate and analyse research studies in terms of methodology, approaches, issues and debates; Information on "reading the question" I also include past and possible exam questions, so that students can get used to how questions are framed. At the present time all of this goes to my one to one students.I will be putting this information on a website, the cost of which will very reasonable. If you wish to know more, you may contact me at my email address, but I do not wish my email address to be published as I am extremely busy getting sudents ready for exams and writing the units. On your site I have left my nickname as AAF. Hope the information will be helpful.
AAF - 29-Oct-11 @ 3:35 PM
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