Top 5 revision tips for parents
Co-founder, CEO @ EasyA. Cambridge University scholar. Keen programmer and tech enthusiast. Also likes going for runs around town.
How do you make sure your child is revising effectively this Easter? Just because he or she is in their room doesn’t mean they’re making the most of their time. Some students tend to procrastinate a lot by making perfectly colour-coded revision schedules split meticulously into 15-minute blocks. Others spend hours on subjects they already know, focusing on areas they’re comfortable with rather than investing time on the really hard parts. It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to revision tactics, but knowing these 5 tips will help you to ensure your child achieves top grades this summer.
1. Make a revision schedule
Our top tip is one that almost all parents and students alike know: make a revision schedule. This will help your child to stay on track and motivate them to put in the time to study. Without a revision schedule it’s easy to procrastinate and put off revision to another day. However, with a tight schedule your child will quickly see if they’re falling behind. If you post the revision timetable in a prominent place in your home, this will also promote accountability; if John’s out playing football when he should be revising maths, you can easily bring this up with him and address it quickly.
2. Read the syllabus
Every exam board maintains a syllabus for their exams. For example, the exam board called AQA maintains a GCSE maths exam syllabus. Check your child knows which exam board will be writing his exam, as there can be differences between boards. Once this has been figured out, it’s easy to find the right syllabus for the exam. The syllabus is an invaluable material, setting out exactly what can be tested on the exam. This makes the decision of what topics to revise dead simple: if it’s not on the syllabus, don’t revise it!
3. Focus on weaknesses
This point may seem controversial. For parents, it’s often hard to focus on their child’s weaknesses. For students, it can be even harder. Therefore, there’s often a tendency to overlook weaknesses and focus on strengths. However, when it comes to exams, addressing areas of weakness can pay the best dividends in terms of increased marks scored on the final exam. For example, if your child’s already scoring 70% on the trigonometry section in maths GCSE, he’ll need to work hard to increase that to 90%. On the other hand, if he’s scoring only 10% on the algebra section, it will be much easier to grab a couple of extra marks to get to 50%+; remember, even working can get marks in the final exam! Don’t let the law of diminishing returns get in your child’s way.
4. Test your child
Revision can be demotivating for many teenagers, especially for those taking public exams for the first time (e.g. GCSEs). It’s really the first time they will need to spend their Easter holiday studying. Holing up over Easter might come naturally to rabbits, but for most students it takes some grit and determination. Rather than just forcing your child to spend hours in their room, try to make revision interactive. For example, you could test your child on a particular topic, or help them to make flashcards. This can be far more effective than going solo with revision.
5. Take your child out for a treat
The quotation “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, while a figure of speech, raises the age-old question of whether it’s best to exercise unbending discipline or more liberal leniency. Ultimately, this is a personal question for you to answer, and different approaches might work better for different children. However, those parents who have tendencies towards the side of more rigid discipline shouldn’t forget to take their child out for a treat once in a while. Even though like most teenagers your child might not express it, they’ll be grateful to you for recognising that revision is tough and for giving parental sanction to some break time. Taking breaks to do fun things will also allow your child to go back to revision with a fresh mind, ready to absorb information like a sponge.
That ends our top 5 revision tips. If you have your own tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!
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