Calling teachers to take action - exams are almost here!
Time is running out for your students so get the best out of your last lessons
There’s just weeks until the exams and you need to make every lesson count. Use these three tried and tested steps to make the most out of your lessons
Your students need a revision timetable annotated with exam dates and times. This is likely to be a completed in tutor time but just in case it isn’t you can give your students this free template found here.
Ask your students to write down their revision times and subjects – these should be broken into 45 minute sessions with 15 minute breaks and shouldn’t be too rigid as this is can cause frustration. I suggest a day a week should be devoted to catching up on missed revision to build in flexibility.
· Ask your students to predict what they could achieve if they used the rest of their time before exams effectively. Get them to write this down as a reminder to them.
· Next ask your students to visualise what it would be like to open their results having achieved their goals. Ask them what it feels like?
· Finally assure your students that the work they will be completing from now until their exams will all geared at gaining the best results possible. This stop students from assuming individual revision in lesson is the most effective, experience shows us many students lose focus once allowed to go it alone.
It’s worth saying at this point that many of your students will be feeling very anxious and it is important to keep lessons focused but fun. You need to show your students they can make an impact on their results using manageable steps.
2 LESSON PLANNING
Starters need to be highbrow energetic and fun. You could use 3-7 minutes for the following games to get their intellectual brains working and focused on the topic in hand.
Blockbusters – search online to make this a quick win.
Splat – relatively quick to set up using two pieces of A2 paper and some quick drawing skills.
Taboo – check out what is already available on the internet for your subject.
Pictionary – relatively quick to set up but may take a lot of lesson time.
Quizzes – make them fun. I use finding key words for every letter of the alphabet. Online group quizzes are quick and very effective.
Main lesson activities
Activities suited for group work include market place activities, quests to find out information, past paper questions, completing group presentations to be shared with the class etc. I make sure my groups are sorted into those who need little support and those I work closely with to keep them focussed.
Walking talking mocks
This activity is very effective and relatively quick to organise. I make a presentation of past paper questions and give students a limited time to complete each question. I then share the answers and find out who struggled with them. I can decide by the class response whether a quick revision session would be effective or just the correct answer. This strategy has proven to be very effective but you must back it up with challenge questions for those who need them.
Students by now should know from their mock results their areas of weakness. They could be given a limited time to revise around one of these subjects to produce a revision card, make up three exam questions or complete a one minute talk on their topic.
Ask your students to write down information about the topic they would want to take into the exam with them. This really focuses them on the more challenging aspects of each topic and provides a ready-made revision sheet.
The use of an online quiz tool is a good way of leaving the lesson on a high note. I use a quick question quiz that I make up on the spot to allow students to see their progress. I make this from the easiest questions to the hardest to make sure everyone can achieve.
Students can review their revision timetables to help them focus on their learning needs and motivate them.
3 EXAM DAY
On the day of the exams tensions are running high and your students will be building up doubts in their heads. You must stay cheerful and make any pre-exam activity be fun and light hearted. Use this as a time to go over techniques rather than fresh learning activities as these can build anxieties.
Advise your students to start the exam with questions they feel confident with and not to linger over those they struggle with. If there are longer answer questions suggest they go for the main points and come back to the rest when they have completed the paper as the last couple of points are often the hardest marks to get. Finally, make sure your students are aware of the length of the exam and that the second half is more challenging than the first half so they should give themselves more time to complete it.
Leave your students with a smile on your face!