How to prepare your students for exams

Preparing your students well for exams is key to their results. Here's our tips to ensuring your pupils are ready to sit their papers.

Use mock exams sparingly  

They are a great tool to assess where your class are, but the exam setting should be a bit out of the ordinary- a bit of nerves helps many pupils perform better, creating a rush of adrenaline that helps focus.

It can be worth considering how you will mark them- there is a fine line between scaring pupils into revision and plunging them into despair! It can be useful to send answers back with comments only, and keep the marks off. Another option is considering some peer marking, or asking pupils to retrospectively assess their own work to see how learning is moving along without the pressure (and your time spent marking!).

Get parents involved  

Make sure all parents know about these exams, and are aware of anything they can do to support. One great way is helping pupils set up a good revision space at home.

Switch your lessons up  

In a tight timetable it's easy to stick to the same format of lessons to deliver what you need to, but your pupils will appreciate the change of pace. Games can be a really effective way of demonstrating knowledge, and keeping things more interactive - an effective and simple example is bringing a ball for the class to throw after answering questions.

Check your calendar  

Make sure you know exactly how many lessons you have until the exam, so you can consider what you need to cover. Remember to include any school trips or other exams that can reduce your time!

Avoid re-reading  

Though a very popular technique, re-reading a text requires very little cognitive work, so it is difficult to remember. It's also often a fairly boring process for the pupil, which can make them quickly disinterested in the task at hand.

Try elaborate interrogation  

A great technique that students can do themselves or with other pupils is to ask why an idea or concept is true. For example, in history, in 1929, the collapse of the American Stock Exchange collapsed. How did this support Hitler's rise to power? This helps pupils move beyond learning that something is true, and moving into why these things are true.

Planning effective revision is never easy, but by keeping your class engaged, through a variety of ideas and lessons, you should be able to keep them on track and support them in getting the results they deserve.

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