Educating Essex: Revision, university and much more
PUBLISHED: 12:51 29 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:20 29 April 2016
Are you in need of revision tips or debating whether to take a gap year before university, we've got the answers you've been searching for in West Essex
Just the thought of sitting in the exam hall, listening to the dinner ladies shuffle between the desks ready to watch me frantically scribble down the final words of my conclusion when they announce ‘pens down’, turns my stomach because I was always unprepared. I’d cram in as much revision as I could the night before and would often find myself dreaming about what life would be like if I lived in Hollyoaks rather than knuckling down with my school books. If I could turn back the clock I would definitely put more effort into my studies, started my revision earlier and walked into every exam with the confidence that whatever happened, I knew I had done my best. Because that is all anyone could ask of you. As long as you can say you gave it 100%, getting good grades is just a bonus. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the best revision tips from the experts. So whether you’re nervous for your entry level exams, GCSE’s or maybe that test you have to ace before a big promotion, we’ve got you covered.
Preparation is key
Giving yourself enough time to soak up all the information needed for a test is fundamental to exam success, however it is important to make sure your revision timetable is manageable. ‘Children can often be wildly ambitious in their plans for revision but eight hours a day for the whole of the Easter holidays isn’t sustainable or practical,’ says Karen Rogers, mother of two and marketing manager at Bancroft’s School, a co-educational, independent day school for children aged seven to 18. The amount of self-revision outside of school hours depends on the age of the child. ‘For our younger year groups, most of their revision will take place in class and we would suggest a maximum of two hours each evening and three hours per day at weekends,’ says Antonio Fryer-Green, head of learning support at Bancroft’s. ‘By year nine this might be four hours at weekends and GCSE students should spend four hours per evening. Even in the Sixth Form we still encourage balance and stress that time away from their books is important. The key is to be productive; shorter periods of targeted revision will always be more effective than hours of unfocussed revision.’
Regardless of age, having a supportive environment at home lowers stress levels and encourages calm. ‘Parental support is vital for children preparing for and sitting exams,’ says Karen. ‘Parents can help by making sure that their children have a quiet place away from distractions, such as mobile phones and the TV, in which to revise; they get enough sleep each night; and they get regular exercise,’ she adds. Encourage breaks outside such as a run around the park, a refreshing swim or even a quick walk to the shop for a bar of chocolate to aid your child’s productivity.
Take advantage of after hours programmes
Want to revise with the support of your peers and teachers? Take advantage of extra curricular activities such as lunchtime revision classes and after school programmes. Revision in a classroom environment is more likely to keep your attention as it’s away from home distractions such as social media, younger siblings and the fridge! Learning during school programmes is targeted to the topics that’ll be covered in the exam and help you streamline self-revision. Plus, if you have any questions or topics you would like to go over, you’ve got an expert on hand to assist. Remember there’s no shame in asking for a little help. Odds are another of your peers was also confused by trigonometry however they were too embarrassed to ask your teacher for extra guidance.
Remember the rule of three
Forest School, London’s diamond-structure school with single-sex teaching in a co-educational environment for girls and boys aged four to 18 devised a revision guideline that promotes the rule of three. First, take down notes from text books, exercise books and revision guides. Keep notes short and concise, in chronological order and split into sections to aid steps two and three. Next, memorise the facts. Whether you devise mnemonics, draw mind maps or simply read over your notes again and again, embed the key points for each topic into your long term memory. Finally, practise your exam technique. Take past papers and ask your teacher to mark them. Take five minutes after class to go through their feedback and ask where they feel you need to improve. Practise makes perfect so if you don’t get it right the first time, understanding where you are going wrong is elementary to improving.
Exams are tough, so break your revision down into bite size chunks and you’ll do just fine. Getting stressed only hinders your productivity so stay calm and try your best. If exam worries are getting you down, remember to speak to your parents, teachers or a school councillor for advice. You’re not alone, so take full advantage of those around you. Good luck!
Kinaesthetic learners are hands-on and learn best by doing
TOP TIP: Participate in role play including reading plays aloud during literature and getting involved in science experiments
Visual learners prefer to see information and revise best with pictures TOP TIP: Design mind maps that include lots of colourful imagery and bullet points to aid revision
Auditory learners prefer to hear information rather than reading or seeing something displayed visually
TOP TIP: Read aloud and be vocal during class discussions to encourage learning
Travel and learn
Bradley Frankel, co-founder of Flooglebinder explains how to further your education without the use of a classroom
Flooglebinder is an educational travel specialist company that offers students and volunteers conservation and community projects in Europe, South Africa and Asia. All of its trips involve aspects of culture, community and conservation whilst promoting the importance of sustainable travel. Flooglebinder work with schools, colleges and universities to develop programmes that integrate with students learning objectives and provide valuable field experience and the potential to a look at particular career paths, not to mention strengthen CV’s for university and employment opportunities. But above all, a Flooglebinder trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one you will never forget. We caught up with co-founder Bradley Frankel to find out more.
Do you recommend teenagers take a gap year before university?
You have to do what is right for you but I don’t think a gap year is essential as you can utilise your Easter and summer breaks for the same purpose and actually gain a lot more with the right structured placement.
If you decide on taking a gap year, make sure you don’t travel aimlessly around the world. Find projects and experiences that are going to help you develop a range of wider key skills and attributes that employers and universities will favour.
What does travelling teach children that cannot be taught in a classroom?
There are so many benefits it’s unbelievable! There are a range of skills that are taught practically as opposed to their theoretical counterparts, such as: communication, planning and preparation, time management, decision making, adaptability, social skills and confidence. Whilst some of these are experienced in a classroom setting they are applied very differently outside in the real world.
Then there’s first-hand experience. There are many things you can’t teach and can only be learnt as a result of our experiences. These help us to develop as people, help with our personalities, characteristics, emotions and attitudes, all of which are as a result of experiencing new cultures and environments. Your qualifications and skills will help you open the door to opportunities but, it’s your story, as a result of your experiences, that will help you walk through it!
What is your most popular trip?
Our diving programme in Thailand is very popular, as are our Animal Conservation programmes in Sri Lanka and South Africa. Thailand is one the most visited countries in South East Asia so it gets a lot of press. That tied in with the cultural aspects, sightseeing tours and diving qualifications make it a very exciting trip.
What educational school trips do you organise and how do they aid student learning?
We operate trips in Borneo, Greece, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam, including elephant and bear, field guiding studies and medical based programmes. These can cover a range of modules within the curriculum, including science, geography, history and even art.
Two very popular programmes are our Turtle Conservation Project in Greece and our Golden Triangle trip to India. Like all of our trips they’re laced in cultural aspects, however they also focus on either conservation or community programmes which can be tailored to the learning objectives of the students.
Top tips for successful revision
1 Take regular breaks, keep hydrated and get plenty of fresh air
2 Start early – don’t leave it until the night before
3 Leave revision notes around your house in places you’ll notice them such as the wall near the toilet and on the fridge
4 Find out what works for you, whether that’s drawings or little rhymes; if it helps you remember then stick with it
5 Keep notes short and concise; bullet points are easier to remember than highlighted paragraphs in textbooks
Make learning fun
Want to help you primary school children with their maths revision? Purchase PLYT, a competitive and fun mathematics game for all ages (4+) that is a fantastic way to prepare juniors for their SATs or Entrance exams. The game is priced at £24.67 and is available on Amazon. For more information, visit www.plyt.co.uk.