I think that end of year exams are also useful for them to practise revision techniques, especially if most or all of their courses are going to be linear rather than modular. Being able to revise five terms' worth of material is a very useful skill.
I only know about the school he's at, so can't comment on whether it's a standard thing or not. They have tests in each subject every half term on what they have learnt in that topic. Then a more formal exam in June on what they have done so far that year. Some subjects (Maths, Science, MFL, Latin) are accumulative, so the exams in the June of Y8 are on all material covered since the beginning of Y7.
The results are used to formulate target levels and to decide which sets they go into the following year. The exams at the end of Y8 will also be used (along with other assessments) to determine which GCSEs courses they can start in Y9/Y10.
Mind maps! Not spider diagrams, but proper mind maps.
They take effort and thought, which students don't like, but it's the making that is the benefit, not the finished product.
You should make a mind map of a topic using all your books, notes, etc. Then try to make a copy from memory. Compare it to the first one, and add in anything you forgot. The next day, make another version from memory, before adding in anything you missed. This repetition, along with the colour and image and association will help the majority of people to learn.
It takes time to get used to it. After about 3, I've found most students really get into it. But they really hate the first couple!
Anything active - the worst thing to do is just 'read through' pages of stuff. Make mobiles, mind maps, fridge magnets. And in very short bursts, 20 minutes or so. Podcasts/Youtube can be very effective, too.
Hi...Ds is just about to start revising for exams in June. I want to help him to put a revision plan together for the 9 subjects that he needs to revise as his revision time last year was not as successful as it could have been .Any advice on revision techniques that your dc's have used would be great .Many thanks!