Ditch the Highlighters: Sixth Form Headteacher’s Top Tips for A-Level Revision
With A-Level exams looming, North Bridge House Collegiate Headteacher and Head of North Bridge House Senior Canonbury, Jonathan Taylor shares his top tips for that all-important revision, and how his school have advised Sixth Form students to listen to their teachers, not their headphones.
“Revision strategies and advice have remained stubbornly similar to when I began my teaching career at the start of the 21st century. This is disappointing, for during the last few years research evidence which distinguishes effective from ineffective revision strategies has proliferated. However, there are many excellent resources available to students (and parents!) on research tested revision strategies– the Learning Scientists website is a good starting point and the Sandringham Memory Clock a model worth exploring.
“My revision advice is to ditch the highlighters”
Avoid the trap of simply ‘re-reading’. Instead, focus on more challenging activities such as self-quizzing. Furthermore, acknowledge that mass revision is less effective than what has been termed ‘distributed practice’ and plan a revision schedule accordingly (on this point, the best way teachers can prepare students for A-Level exams is not by last minute revision but by delivering high quality teaching from lesson one in Lower Sixth).
Finally, at North Bridge House we have been working with four PhD students from the University of York’s Psychology department to ascertain the impact of distraction on working memory, specifically, the effect of listening to music. However, based on what we know of Cognitive Load theory, it’s likely the research will confirm that, contrary to student protestations, listening to music whilst revising is detrimental to effective learning and anyone serious about their A-Level grades should probably take out those headphones.”
Published on: 24th April 2018