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10 Essential Revision Tips

revision_tipsHow should I revise for my examinations?’ There is no one method that suits each and every student. However, these guidelines – with input from educators and successful students - will help your child to formulate a revision strategy to tackle the challenges ahead.

1. Know the syllabus and the structure of the exam papers

Earlier this year, your child’s school may have provided detailed information on exam structure including the type (MCQ, short answer, long answer etc) and number of questions that will be asked. If you don’t have this information or have misplaced it somewhere, check with your child’s form teacher or check the school website.

2. Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses

You should have a sense of what are your child’s weak areas and strengths, based on performance in assessments and feedback from your child’s teacher. If need be, write two lists – one with the topics that your child has done well and feels confident in, and a second list with topics that require more work and practice. Our target is to move all topics in the second list to the first, as far as possible.

3. Set realistic targets and expectations

Based on your child’s current performance and progress, decide on the revision targets for the coming weeks.  While the ideal scenario is to tackle all weak areas and turn ‘good’ areas into excellent ones, this may not be realistic.  You need to strike a balance between having sufficient practice for stronger subjects and topics, while tackling problem areas (and addressing poor habits such as careless mistakes). Similarly, if you are aiming for improvements in grades, decide on a reasonable target that your child could reasonably achieve, provided he or she works steadily from now till the exams.  You also want your child to feel inspired and motivated by the challenges ahead, and not to feel overwhelmed or jittery at the thought of aiming for something that they perceive to be well beyond their reach.

4. Plan your revision schedule

In the coming weeks, know how much time your child  allocate to revision – after taking away schooltime, enrichment and other activities. Plan a revision programme that allows time to cover the key exam topics, with more time allocated to the trickier topics.

5. Be mentally prepared

Your child may have already heard this from teacher and from you – ‘You must work hard in Term 4 – less play and more study!’ But to hear it and to accept it are 2 different matters. Some parents will lock away all ‘distractions’ such as electronic games and DVDs,  with a promise of rewards once the exams are over. You need to decide what works for your child – little ‘gamebreaks’ in between revision sessions or a total ‘fast’ for the next few weeks.

6. Be physically and nutritionally prepared

Exercise, a proper sleep routine and diet all play a part during this period. Do ensure that your child eats regular meals with plenty of brain food, sleeps at least 8-9 hours per night and works in some physical activity several times a week e.g. a jog round the neighbourhood or a quick swim at the pool (this also helps to work in some ‘family bonding time’).

7.  Create the right study environment

The simplest recipe for revision disaster is usually a television in the background or a younger brother playing with small toys in the same room. Create an environment that is peaceful and free from distractions, and with sufficient stationery and materials such as notecards, highlighters etc.

8.  Read, Rewrite, Remember, Recall.. and APPLY

Use the 4Rs technique to remember facts and figures – read the information or fact, rewrite the relevant points or summarise it in your own words, commit it to memory, and then try to recall it by reciting it out loud or writing it out. Parents can help out by engaging your children in this process. However, a significant portion of exams involve APPLYING the concepts learnt – it is absolutely essential to practice, practice and practice some more, even if a lot of mistakes are made along the way.

9. Work in break times

Most adults, let alone children, won’t be able to maintain deep concentration and focus for more than 40 minutes at a stretch.  Work in breaks of 5-10 minutes every 40 minutes or so – do some stretching, stand on toes and breathe deeply, take a cool drink of water. If your child has younger siblings, this is also a good time to let them socialize and play together for short periods. Though they may not express it, schoolchildren may feel isolated from their younger siblings who don’t have to sit for exams, so try to find little regular opportunities for them to ‘reconnect’.

10. Stay positive!
 This applies to all – parents, teachers, and most of all, the students who are sitting for the exams.  Revision may be the most ‘boring’ and tedious part of the scholastic route, but it will not last forever. Remember that – each day along this journey is another day towards its completion.

Do you have other revision tips to share? Let us know Laughing

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