This week our family have hit another parenting milestone; our 14 year old is about to sit his first exams! This has left me puzzling how I can best support him to accomplish revision success, without heading into the minefield of teenage resistance!
In Part 1 of my revision series I discussed how to identify the goals of revision and engage in a joint planning phase with your child. Today I’m looking at the how to of revision.
What does your child need to do to achieve revision success?
What The Research Says…
As parents it’s easy to feel alienated by the technology that our children are using to study with. I know that when I was revising I created hand written notes, read paper versions of books and created colour coded index cards!
When my children are revising it often looks the same as when they’re relaxing – laptop open, headphones on and a glazed expression!
These strategies for revising have been popular for years:
- Re-reading notes
- Highlighting sections of text
- Re-writing notes
These are certainly strategies that I have used, but it turns out that trying to memorise information is NOT the most effective revision strategy!
Research shows that the key to retaining information is to become deeply engaged with the material, in educational terms this is called a ‘depth of processing’, and helps the information get deposited for the long term in your memory bank.
My Favourite 5 Strategies For Engagement
If engagement is the key to revision success, how can we find activities that create this depth of processing for our children?
Here are my Favourite 5 strategies that increase engagement whilst addressing the goals of revision (understanding, synthesis, recall, consolidation and reflection).
- 3 Qs (Quick Quiz Questions) – create questions using your notes, write out a corresponding answer sheet then put the quiz away and test yourself in a couple of days. Research shows that repeated testing is a successful strategy for raising engagement, and leaving a few days between revising and testing is the most effective way.
- Quizlet – quizlet is an awesome online tool that allows you to make flash cards which you can then use in activities against the clock such as pairing, questioning and testing. Research shows that practicing retrieving information is one of the best ways to retain it.
- SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – SWOT Analysis is a great revision tool to encourage you to re-think ideas and make new connections, especially good for humanities and English. You can download a template here .
- Mind Mapping – this creative tool increases engagement by finding connections and practicing retrieving information. Mind maps can be colourful and elaborate or simple and streamlined, Tony Busan (the father of mind maps) has some inspiring examples of mind maps here.
- Fishbone Diagram – this is a great tool to summarise multiple ideas and can form the basis of an essay plan for written subjects. Check out my example of a fishbone diagram based on this revision series below. You can download a template here.
So good luck to all the Mum & Dad’s out there supporting their teens through the exam minefields over the next few weeks!