Posted: 8th December, 2015. Topics:
So you find yourself sitting at the kitchen table in the middle of the first week of the Christmas holidays at elevenses having a well earned cup of coffee and a white chocolate and cranberry cookie (click here for the recipe), in the midst of deciding whether to make the cranberry sauce or stuffing. The excitement of Christmas is building as your child is now on holiday and you are able to spend some quality time with them everyday which is an exciting prospect rather than trying to communicate over bowls of cereal and only getting the usual grunt in the morning or if your child boards receiving a quick phone call from then only for them to ask whether you can send that specific Joules or Jack Wills top to school for mufti day.
Your Year 11 child is going through one of the most important years in their academic life – and scary since this is the first time they will have done public exams. They will have spent the longest term cramming lots of work in, starting mock exams and getting involved in a variety of extra curricular activities, and although you understand that even though it is day four or five of the Christmas holidays, you are still thinking to yourself as you finish that cookie and reach for another that your child still being in bed sleeping at this time of the day is not going to get them the grades they need in the Summer.
How do you broach this subject? How much revision should they be doing on average in a day? Are there any good revision tips out there that can help? Yes there are, and your can read them all here:
1 – Have they made a revision plan? Fail to plan, plan to fail is the old adage, and with the suggestion that pupils should be revising 30 minutes per day per subject then a plan would certainly help to ensure this is achievable. They could start by writing some notes on each subject as crib sheets to use later, which on average takes about five to six hours per subject.
2 – Does the revision plan include time each day to do the things your child likes to do? The revision plan should not be a nine hour marathon. Each day should also be given over to horse riding, shopping, surfing (the internet unless your child is brave enough to actually surf in the winter!), playing games, watching films, and spending time with their friends. These activities are just as important as revision, because it is after all the holidays!
3 – Are there topics or subjects that most concern them that you could support them with? This can sometimes be a barrier to revision – or if we admit it – our work too. When one thing is hampering us, it can affect everything. Try and talk with your child if you feel this is the case, and book an appointment to see the teacher straight away who may be able to help with the blockage in January rather than leaving it until its too late, and revision time and the exams have been and gone.
4 – Find a comfortable place to revise: This is very important, whether at a desk, sitting on their bed, or even lying on the floor; everyone is different, and everyone has their preferred place to be able to get comfy and take all the information in.
5 – Make sure there are no distractions: turn mobile phones and other devices off. But do remember some people can revise with music on so be sensitive to different needs and also remember your children are all different. What works for one may not work for the other, and vice versa.
6 – Stick to the plan from day one: encourage your child to stick to the plan, because if not, the work load gets bigger and the plan will fail and another plan will have to be created, and although the plan is an important part of the process, it guides the learning, and creating plan after plan does not get the learning done!
7 – Breaks are important: the brain can work effectively for up to 30 -40 minutes. Ensure that your child has enough breaks during their revision sessions to optimise their learning ability.
8 – Mix it up: although for some people having a set plan of subjects each day will work, mixing it up each day can enhance learning, just as different exercises works different muscles!
9 – Nagging does not help, but support does! Enough said!
10 – Do some exercise: make sure that your child gets out of the revision zone (mentally and physically) by walking the dog, feeding the chickens, mucking out the horses – all doubly useful since the chores are done at the same time!
11 – Don’t overdo it: there is no point doing nine hours of revision per day; your child will burn out and not enjoy Christmas. Quality, not quantity.
12 – If you read through something you remember it for a day; if you read through the same text the next day, you remember it for a week, and if you read it again seven days later you will remember it for a month. The initial periods of revision are the hardest and then it does get easier.
Finally, remember what it was like when you were revising and what it was like to go through GCSEs – the first important exam and also many parents do not realise the first big fail for any child, followed by driving test and then A Levels in quick succession. Revision definitely requires parents to have a good memory, patience and above all the skills to keep white chocolate and cranberry cookies or other goodies coming to ensure those energy levels remain up for the revision sessions!
Images: snowy scenes, and some Year 11s revising in the sun last year!