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Advice please after exam results - revision question

(8 Posts)
hatsdontsuitme Mon 14-Jul-14 10:19:12

DD has recently got her exam results (not in UK). These are exams similar to first year of A levels - the results count toward the "big" exams next year.

Although she passed the exams the results were below what she was expecting and what teachers thought she'd get.

The dilhema (if it is one!) is this:

DD revised for these exams, she had a structured programme and set herself attainable targets every day (basically did everything you would advise her to do - revision, rest, other interests not neglected etc.. a good balance)

In the past (earlier exams similar to mocks, plus "proper" exams etc..) she has been pretty laissez faire about revision - she's fairly chilled anyway but I think she decided she needed to do real revision for these recent exams as they are important and her peers had a studious approach.

In the exams where she has "winged it" she has always done much better - think A* level rather than a C for these recent exams.

So she has now come to the conclusion that she would be better off not revising for her final exams next year as she thinks she does better when she doesn't revise.

On paper I can see where she's coming from - but I feel very uncomfortable supporting that decision. I know exams are at least 10 months off but I wonder what advice I can offer her.

These exams are the ones that will determine university so I don't want her to not fulfill her potential by making a snap decision based on these recent results.

Is a non-revision approach as disastorous as it sounds and feels to me? I am thinking an approach where she looks back at thinks on a weekly basis may be better but not sure.

Anyone got any ideas please?!

AMumInScotland Mon 14-Jul-14 10:45:04

I think her logic is flawed - she didn't do as well because these are at a much harder level than her previous exams.

She decided she needed to revise because she could see that as she went through the course. The fact that, even with revision, she didn't do as well as she hoped just means that they really were hard!

'Revising' all through the course is certainly more valuable than cramming at the end, so doing that as well would be a help. And trying out things like exam questions, coming at a topic from different angles, is generally a better test of understanding than just reading things through.

Seeline Mon 14-Jul-14 11:46:42

Agree with ^^
Also, in the dark ages, I remember the difference between O and A levels was quite huge - not the actual subject matter, but the way you were expected to deal with it under exam conditions. Different techniques for answering the questions were required, and essay writing changed too. I think she needs to have a chat with all her teachers and see if they can advise her as to why her marks were lower than she was expecting, and see if they can advise her on any changes in exam technique required.

TeenAndTween Mon 14-Jul-14 12:08:49

I too would look at revision techniques.

There is a world of difference between reading through a text book or revision guide, and trying to write down facts / doing practice questions etc.

She needs to understand where she lost marks and consider that against the type of revision she did.

senua Mon 14-Jul-14 12:21:20

Agree with the above. You can wing exams when you are young, but as you get older they are less a test of how clever you are and more a test of how hard you worked so she needs to stick with the new system.
Can you get copies of the scripts so she can see where she lost marks.

Do you have confidence in the marking?

pinkfrocks Mon 14-Jul-14 13:33:51

In the exams where she didn't do much revision then got a good grade, she may have been very confident and able in those subjects- a kind of 'natural selection' towards revision or no revision taking place.

Even without analysing it herself, she may have subconsciously thought she didn't need to revise because she knew what was needed to obtain a good grade.

I had a similar approach myself donkey's years back- my results were polarised: didn't revise for a handful of subjects I was good at and LIKED and got good grades, did revise for subjects I was weak at and still got low grades, because I didn't enjoy the subjects anyway.

If she revises then it's win-win. Revising doesn't mean she will get a poor result but not revising certainly makes that more likely.

hatsdontsuitme Mon 14-Jul-14 18:50:29

Thanks guys - confirmed what I thought really and yes I think she did fairly poor as they were not her favourite subjects. I think a re-look at revision and a chat after the holidays with teachers will be good. I have confidence in the marking and she is happy with that so no need to appeal or anything - just perhaps a life-lesson (whatever that is?!) Thank you again.

Cheebame Mon 14-Jul-14 19:46:53

I was exactly the same. I didn't do a scrap of revision for any of my GCSEs and did well. In fact I did hardly any work at all in secondary school. In maths in particular I think I would have been able to pass GCSE in year 7. I got 90%+ on my GCSE mock in year 10 and my maths teacher told me off because he expected better of me. So I totally understand her attitude.

But at A level Maths I came unstuck spectacularly. It's another level. It's harder. But I came to it on the back of 5 years of making literally no effort to learn any maths. So I just carried on doing nothing; it had worked so far, after all. There were aggravating factors, such as a new teacher who then had a lot of sick leave, so no-one knew I didn't do any homework for all of lower sixth, for example.

But I failed my mock quite badly. Not surprisingly. If she's winged it previously and got A*, and now she's working and getting a C, you need to get her to understand that if she didn't work she'd be getting a U like I did. It can turn around though. I made a bit of an effort for a term (until I realised that I didn't need Maths for university) and passed in the end. Not a good pass, but then I only did one term of work in two years. I found an easy way out and took it, much to my shame.

My lack of application is a problem to me now many years later, and I think it all stems from not having to make an effort at school. Encourage her, she's learning a tough skill at a stage perhaps much later than most, who have to start grafting at a lower level. But it will stand her in good stead.

Perhaps get past paper questions on particular topics and give her some without warning, and then tell her you are going to give her more on (another topic) in a few weeks and get her to revise it. And then compare results.

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