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Revision & Tutoring For GCSE Success

Oct 30, 2014

Students approaching their GCSEs are faced with a daunting prospect – multiple exams in multiple subjects learned over many years at school.

With many children taking nine or more GCSEs the thought of even planning to revise all these subjects is intimidating.

Schools are usually excellent at providing the subject matter for GCSEs but less good at educating kids in how to revise for them, which seems strange as good revision can make a huge difference to a child’s results, and poor revision can seriously hamper a bright student’s grades.

There’s no end of help available online, some free and some ‘premium’, but if your son or daughter is short on motivation to revise then even the best study aids will remain unused. Parental advice is likely to be met with even more resistance, as stressed-out teenagers are not known for their ability to take advice, no matter how valid or delicately offered.

The habits of your typical unmotivated student will include:

  • Leaving revision until the last minute

  • Planning to revise but getting distracted

  • Trying to revise in front of the TV or whilst constantly messaging friends

  • Thinking that simply reading through material counts as revision

  • Revising favourite subjects and ignoring others

Sound familiar? One of the biggest problems is the number of distractions in the home environment. The lure of TV, Facebook and Xbox can be too much, and the well deserved 10-minute break from revising can easily turn into an all-afternoon time-wasting session.

Creative Revising

Leafing idly through text books is a sure-fire way to revision boredom and a glassy-eyed state where time passes but nothing is learned. Encourage your child to mix it up, for example:

  • Use websites like BBC Bitesize and Khan Academy to practise and fill in gaps in knowledge.

  • Use a smartphone as a revision aid for French – simply record all the words you need to learn one by one in English… followed by a pause… followed by the French word, then play back the recording and try to say the French words during the pauses. Also proven to work for Latin! 

  • Use visuals like mind-maps wherever possible, pictures are so much easier to retain than words. For example: I passed my chemistry A-level by mapping all the organic chemistry reactions and processes out on one sheet of A3 paper, a bit like this, and learning the drawing by heart (which only took maybe an hour). In the exam I was able to “picture” all the reactions; you can imagine how hard this would be to learn if it was expressed just as text!

  • There are dozens of Android apps which can help with revision for many subjects – click here to view the free ones. Paid-for apps cover a wider range of subjects and rarely cost more than £3.

How can a tutor help with revision?

People like to put exam success down to “being clever” but the fact is that hard work, planning and focus are just as important as natural ability.

With GCSE modules starting as early as the first term of Year 10, it’s important to instil a good ethos and plan for revision as early as possible. Intervention by a tutor can have a massive impact but it can’t resolve every problem if left until the last few months before the exams.

At Kip McGrath students follow a fully personalised revision programme in an environment which encourages focus and minimises distractions, allowing your son or daughter to practise exam techniques and build the knowledge base that will lead to GCSE success.

Category: News

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