Murray Morrison is the creator of Tassomai, an app that helps students revise GCSE science and other core subjects. He has some tips for students and parents to help them get exam ready…
The normal feeling for a parent of a GCSE student at this stage is a rising sense of dread, dogged by conflicting questions like “How can I help? “How can I make them start to take this seriously? or “How can I avoid making them stressed?”.
The answer is to prepare for the stress ahead and to take the steps you can to mitigate for that. It takes time to build habits, good or bad, so setting out routines and making those routines as easy as possible to maintain is a great start.
When it comes to revision, the Easter holidays is all about volume – the more the better. But between now and the end of the Spring term, it’s all about strategy – the better you and your child can prepare, the more effective their revision will be. If the rest of term can be spent on identifying the areas that need most work, then those areas can get sorted and the revision period can be all about practising to perfection.
Tip 1: Past papers and specification documents from the relevant exam boards are a great resource.
Get as many practice questions and papers as possible, but don’t worry about doing them yet. Your child should look through them and highlight them to say “I can do this”, “I’m not confident” or “I have no idea about how to do this”. Building a strong understanding of where the work needs to be done is incredibly empowering: it’s your child’s “secret weapon” when it comes to revision.
Tip 2: Make the most of teachers while there’s still time.
Having identified the gaps, students should go to their teacher with a specific request. Teachers will find it much easier to help if someone says “Miss, I’m struggling with these three topics/questions”, instead of just saying “Miss, can you help me revise”.
Tip 3: Make a space for revision.
Huge amounts of revision time are spent ‘getting set up’ and ‘settling down’ several times per day. Get the work-space set up and make it special. Think about superstitious athletes – they train in the same space, same kit, same order every day. That’s not really superstition, it’s efficiency. By having a routine, they remove the need to make decisions.
Remember, everyone worries at this point; the main thing is not to despair and let stress overtake your child. The more they can take control with these sorts of approaches, and the more you can support and encourage this work, the better they will feel when the exams begin.
Learn more at: www.tassomai.com