As a teenager, I didn’t know how to revise. Nobody taught us back in those days. In fact, what I did was the exact opposite of what kids are taught today. I re-wrote my notes once. And then I read them. Endlessly. I would revise for hours on end – up to nine hours a day in three hour blocks as I approached my GCSEs or A Levels. Strangely, it worked for me and I came out with excellent results.
But these days, schools don’t leave such things to chance. My son is in year 7 at a very good grammar school and has his year 7 exams coming up. Parents and kids have been told that it’s very important not to stress or overdo it, but the school has also been very clear about how they should revise.
The kids have had lessons on revision technique from both teachers and year 11s. The year 11s were happy that they’d been taught how to revise in year 7 because they’ve carried that through the school with them, refined it and found what works for them. So they go into their GCSEs knowing exactly the best way to revise. I don’t want to get into the whole debate about how much is ‘too much’ in terms of revision and exams for kids of different ages but, to me, that sounds like a really good thing.
My eldest is in year 10 at a comprehensive. He’s just done very well in his year 10 exams. He also had exams in years 7, 8 and 9. He never revised for them and I never even knew when the exams were, thanks to poor communication from both the school and him. Maybe there was a letter that he ‘forgot’ to give me or which went through the wash with everything else?! But there was never an email. Why not?
My younger son’s school has sent us advice on revision, a suggested revision timetable and revision tips and subject areas to study for each of their subjects. They’ve told us to ensure our tweens have peace, quiet, space and light to revise. They’ve advised that the kids have highlighters and folders specifically for their revision to help them get organised..
So we’ve stocked up on stationery and cleared a space on my son’s desk. He’s been advised to do three 20 minute revision sessions on a school day and four half hour revision sessions at weekends and in half-term. He won’t be given any homework until after the exams. There is room on the revision timetable to note the days kids have extra-curricular activities – Scouts or after-school sport, as a reminder to them to manage their time effectively.
It all sounds very sensible to me and he shouldn’t get overworked.
I’ll be interested to see how he gets on with the revision and, most importantly, the exams.
What do you think? Should schools tell children how to revise? Should children do exams in year 7? Is year 7 too early to be taking exams so seriously?