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Revision techniques fur struggling gcse boy !(19 Posts)
I have a ds in yr11 who is struggling to find a revision technique that works for him. He does well in end of unit tests in class but once it gets to exams he struggles and gets low marks . Seems to me he doesn’t know how to revise ! He says his memory is bad ! He has been tested for any learning difficulties and no problems He writes notes from his books, reads them and thinks that is it ! Sciences and factual subjects are particularly hard. I have suggested making flash cards but don’t know where to start. If anyone has any tips that worked for their dc please share. On that note do you think it’s a good idea to revise in October half term ?i think making notes / cards At this point a good idea for January mocks but hitting resistance from Ds and know he needs s break too.
DS is completely resistant to making revision notes/cards/mind maps. From recommendation on here I've persuaded him to use Seneca which is a free online resource.
Reading is one of the least effective things to do.
Often it helps to explain it to someone else - could that be you, or a sibling, or a friend!?
My ds2 revised best by just talking through the questions, he didn't like writing so we would get a past paper and go on a walk and go through it together.
Flashcards have their place but they are not for everyone. But handy when travelling with key things such as English terms or MFL vocab.
If he scores low in exams, may be his exam technique needs looking at?
Simple things like working out how much time to spend on which questions, and looking at the marks available for each question to work out what type of answer is required (eg if a question is asking for ways in which something influences something else for 3 marks, would indicate that 3 ways should be listed).
Doing questions from past papers and then checking the mark scheme will help him to learn exactly what is required in his answers - key words, structure etc. Also noting the type of question asked - Explain, describe, list etc all require specific answers.
As for revision - there are lots of methods which can all be useful depending on hte subject studied.
Mind maps can be quite useful for eg summarising individual science topics, or character descriptions in Eng Lit, or topics in history
Flashcards or something like duolingo for language vocab, or Eng Lit quotes
Timelines for history
Individual fact sheets for each geography case study.
There are lots of websites which give brief explanations of individual topics - BBC bitesize is good. You tube videos of science experiments, demonstrations of working out maths problems.
Revision needs to be active
So instead of 'reading his notes' on say bonding in chemistry can he:
- using notes, make a mindmap on types of bonds and their properties
- then turn the mind map over - can he reproduce it?
- go back and see what he missed
Practice questions when he thinks he has learned stuff, then check against the mark scheme and see what was missed.
CGP have brought out some 'testing cards' with questions on one side and answers on the other - would they help?
For each revision session he needs an aim and a method to judge whether he has reached his aim. So not 'revise Macbeth' but 'Be able to bullet point Macbeth's character with at least 10 quotes to back it up'
Do you have time to test him / discuss stuff with him, as having someone 'checking up' may help him stay more focussed?
My ds (sen, slow processing) says that making revision notes/mind maps etc just don';t work for him. What does work is answering questions on Seneca.
Dd used TAssomai to great effect but ds doesn't like Tassomai.
As for when to revise. Ds has started now and will be revising during October half term but his mocks are November. Dd didn't do much in October half term but her mocks were January and she really knuckled down over Christmas.
Good ideas here op, esp seeline's point about exam technique, woefully under taught sadly (no doubt due to ridiculous amount of content to be got through).
A mate if DS's never finished his English papers. He needed to time it better. You need to learn the discipline of how many minutes you can allow yourself per question. Also yy to answering the question - better four quick accurate appropriate points than a page of waffle. mark schemes are widely available and really useful.
My eldest is only just starting year 10 but as pp have said I'd be looking at exam technique and active revision - so sites like Tassomai,seneca ,Dulingo for languages or memorize mathsgenie are all helpful possibly quizlet and trying past papers.
As my children do tend to pick up facts more generally I also think you tube and possibly audio cds might be helpful more as back ground - so you tube sites like Science with Hazel or Freesciencelessons he has video with helpful revision techniques including flash card making, or things like this -Biology Revision AQA Revisersci: Listen Learn Succeed Audio CD
And revision books - which help with key points.
Personally never got on with mind maps - but a summary diagram or list of bullet points I could go over before bed worked well for me.
Do questions. Do them fully, even if he says he knows that bit, or says he doesn't know it - he must have an honest go and put down what he does know.
Then when you see what he can't do/remember and he can look at that.
Then do more questions. There are plenty of resources to get questions.
But really the answer is to do questions. Nothing else has the same results for the time spent.
These help (depending on the exam board
But make sure you get books with answer sheets too.
There is a YouTube channel called college info geek that I really like, that has various suggested revision techniques to maximise output for minimum effort. He might want to choose something from there?
Come on over to the GCSE support thread aswell. It's fab!
Will check Seneca - have used bbc bite size and they use quizlet at school
Have bought revision guides but fear they’ll gather dust
We try last papers but problem is he needs to learn the info through revision. He’s resistant to me helping him / testing him but think this is because he realises he will get it wrong as he hasn’t revised. Will visit gcse thread - thanks !
Revision books and practice papers. Over and over again. My DS was also revision resistant! I sat with him and made him do millions of past papers and revision books and he got 100% in some of his exams.
It took a ton of effort from me though. I did his revision plan, printed off all the past papers, marked the papers and fed back and literally sat with him while he was revising for many many weeks. It was exhausting tbh but it worked.
He also did not know how to revise and was poor in exam technique and did not get the benefit of revising. He also has ASC and ADHD so got very distracted.
He got it by the end though and needed much less input for his A levels.
I had to explain to my kids the difference between learning and revising. You can only revise it when you've properly learnt it. So that means memorising. Some of the things mentioned will help - quiz let, memrize, flashcards. Test him! Also in science you can buy 10 minute test cpg books whcih he can use - revise a topic, do the test. Exam question practice is the second most valuable thing after actually Learning.
The big thing he needs to do is be able to quickly recall information rather that just recognise it. Reading, writing notes he will recognise and think he knows his stuff, when he really can't recall.
Ds uses home made flash cards for French, much better than duolingo as he can use the vocab the teacher gives him and much better handwriting than using an app. He must have around 300 words, irregular verbs and sentences now and we practice together for 15 mins every day. Use spaced repetition so you aren't repeating ones he knows as often.
For science he takes notes and does past paper type questions. Any questions he can't answer he takes a note of the topic to revise. I also quiz him questions from his notes
For maths, practise practice practice mixed topic papers. I mark for him. Questions he struggles with he writes how-to-do cards and revises later.
English we have only been practising RUAE question so far from a study guide we have bought. Trying to improve vocab by reading broadsheets and also rereading class texts.
Modern studies, so far has mostly been reading revision books we bought.
I have to be careful and make sure I don't panic him and say you don't know enough or that's wrong as it turns him off revision. Instead I say, that's good you've got xxx, and we now know to take a note of yyy to revise next time.
For science, I would suggest:
Flash cards for all key terms. There are a lot in GCSE science. Make sure he is also learning the formulas he needs. Get him a good revision guide to help him make these. Once he has made these, he should test himself with them. This video explains one way to use flash cards pretty effectively www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7DrQNX-ABA
Spaced retrieval. This means not just reading through something once, and then saying, oh I know x. It means testing himself on the same topics repeatedly e.g. one week after studying them, one month after studying them, three months after and so on. This will help him practice recalling the information and should make it easier to retrieve in an exam. Websites like Seneca can help a lot with this, but if he's aiming for top grades, they can be a bit shallow.
*Past paper questions*- www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ this website is a great resource to get past paper questions by topic. Despite its name, it covers all sciences. IMO, the most effective way to use past paper questions is to first try them from memory, then look through his notes to see if there's anything he would add, then looking at the mark scheme to see where he would have got marks. Encourage him to be really honest with himself- did he actually say the point on the mark scheme? A lot of students lose marks in science because they're too vague or miss out key details.
His teachers at school may well have revision worksheets etc they can give him, too.
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