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Revision Planning Making your revision timetable
The principle: INTERLEAVING
• When we learn something, we forget it
• When we revisit something we’ve learned repeatedly, we remember it better
• This is shown in the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
Interleaving vs blocking
• “Blocking” your revision – focusing on one topic for a long time then moving on to the next topic – is inefficient.
• “Interleaving” your revision is far more effective.
Interleaving and chunking
• For interleaving to work, you have to break down your revision into “chunks”
• It’s no good putting “Biology” into your revision calendar – you need to be specific
• GCSE Biology includes: • Health • Responses to the environment • Evolution • Ecology • Cells • Photosynthesis • Organisms and their environments • Protein functions and uses • Respiration • Genetics • Speciation
Planning interleaved revision
• Break down the subjects you study into “chunks” you can revise
• Plan an interleaved revision schedule to cover the chunks you have created
• Build in rest breaks
Flash Cards GCSE Revision
The Flash Card – distilling your learning
Because a flash card is small, you need to boil down your learning to a key, easily-revised summary.
Your notes Your flashcard Revision
Making an effective flashcard
• “Chunk” the learning down
• Each flashcard should be on one key idea or concept
• The key information only should be summarised on one side
• Use diagrams, bullet points etc
• On the back, put key words and possible exam questions on this concept
Organising your flashcards
• You will build up an array of flashcards
• Colour code them to classify by topic or exam section
Flashcards 2.0 – practice testing
• Write key questions on one side of the card
• Write the answers on the other
• Keep testing yourself!
• Add a tick each time you get it right, and a cross each time you have to turn over to check
• Aim to get ten ticks next to each question
• Also works with post-its!
Memory Tips GCSE Revision
Interrogation – asking “why?”
• One of the best ways to support revision is to ask why an idea or concept is true – then answer the question.
• For example: • In science, increasing the temperature can increase the rate of a chemical
• In geography, the leisure industry in British seaside towns like Barry Island in South Wales has deteriorated in the last 4 decades….why?
• In history, in 1929 the American stock exchange collapsed. This supported Hitler’s rise to power….why?
• Rather than learning facts by heart, asking yourself why they are true will help you remember and understand them.
• Mnemonics use the initial letters of a group of words to help remember them in order
• They are really good for remembering sequenced information
• Here are some examples…
North East South West
Never Ever Support Wolves
Never Eagerly Snog Witches
Never Eat Shredded Wheat
Naughty Elephants Squirt Water
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue,
My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets Simply
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Sedna
I Value Xylophones Like Cows Dig Milk
1 – 5 – 10 – 50
100 – 500 – 1000
King Philip Came Over For Good Sex
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
Do you know a mnemonic for this?
5 Bones in Hand
Can you create a mnemonic from this?
• FLORIA is a technique that provides “hooks” for information in your memory. Look at the following list of words for 40 seconds, then see which you remember:
SHOE GARDEN GOOSE MUSIC AND
TAYLOR SWIFT AND CAR
SPIDER MAN BOXING
NIPPLE MOSS PENCIL GLOVE WATER GLUE HERB
RECALL DURING LEARNING - FLORIA
First. Last. Outstanding. Repeated. Interesting. Associated.
SHOE GARDEN GOOSE MUSIC AND
TAYLOR SWIFT AND CAR
SPIDER MAN BOXING
NIPPLE MOSS PENCIL GLOVE WATER GLUE HERB
• Put the most important information FIRST and LAST
• When preparing revision materials, thing about how you can make key information OUSTANDING
• REPEAT important facts
• Make key information INTERESTING using images, mnemonics, sticking it on a post-it in an unusual place, associating it with a person or event…
• Make links between information so the ASSOCIATION leads you from one fact to another
• You can use… • Interrogation
• …to help your memory retrieve key facts. Try them!
Mind Maps GCSE Revision
Making a mind map
• Start with the theme in the middle of the page.
• Develop your main idea. • Each sub-branch must relate to the
branch before it. • Use only key words and images. • Key words must be written along the
branches. • Colour code the branches. • Make things stand out on the page so
they stand out in your mind. • Design images you can relate to which
will help you remember key information
Mind maps can be mostly text
Or mostly images
Using key words in mind maps Albert Einstein Einstein was born in Germany in 1879. As a child, Albert hated school and his teachers thought he was rather “stupid”. In fact he was asked to leave school because his teachers found him disruptive. He was a very curious child and wanted to know how everything worked. When he was five years old, his father gave him a compass, which he loved and took apart to understand how it worked. When he was 12 he was given a geometry book, which he read from cover to cover, and so began his love of maths.
Einstein had several jobs. His first, ironically, was as a teacher. At first he failed the exam, but persisted and got the job. He then went to work in a patent office where he would look at new inventions. When his scientific papers became well-known, he was actively sought after by many universities. He worked in German universities for 17 years, until the Nazi reign, when he fled Germany because he was a Jew. He went to work at Princeton University in the USA for the rest of his life.
He made some amazing discoveries in his work, that changed much about the world. His first scientific paper was his Quantum Theory. He discovered that light travelled not only in waves, as previously thought. This discovery later led to the inventions, by others of the cinema and television. His second major discovery was his theory of Relativity. Daydreaming one afternoon, he imagined travelling on a beam of light, and dreamt that the universe is curved. This daydream led to his famous theory, E=MC2, and has led to many inventions for creating more powerful energy.
Although Einstein worked hard his whole life, he also had many things he enjoyed, and contributed them to his great brain. He loved music and played both the violin and piano to a very high standard. He went walking every day to relax and daydream and keep fit.
Einstein married twice, and with his first wife had two sons. He died in 1955 at the age of 76.
Make a mind map
• Pick a key topic in one of your examination subjects
• Put the topic in the middle of the page
• And begin!
Past Papers & Mark Schemes GCSE Revision
Finding past papers and mark schemes
• AQA: http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/exams-guidance/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes
• OCR: http://www.ocr.org.uk/i-want-to/download-past-papers/
• EDEXCEL: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/exams/past-papers.html
• Plus loads here: http://web1.chewvalleyschool.co.uk/Webber/StudyCamp/
A more complex example
Self-testing and diagnosis of errors
Understanding of the subject
• Did you get it wrong because you didn’t know that part of the subject?
• Solution: focused revision
• Did you get it wrong because you didn’t read the question properly?
• Or because you didn’t do exactly what the mark scheme wanted?
• Solution: repeated deliberate practice
PQRST Self-testing for revision
PQRST – the principle
• PQRST is a self-testing technique to be used once you have revised a section
• It’s helpful to have someone else to revise with – a friend, family member etc.
• Here’s how it works…
• P Preview – Read through section headings. Read the final summaries. If you’ve used flashcards this will help!
• Q Question – Turn each section heading and subheading into a question
• R Read – Read your questions and then answer from the text. Mark or highlight the keywords/ points
• S Say – Say your answer and explain your keywords aloud to yourself or explain to someone else.
• T Test – Go over the questions and test yourself again days later – what can you still recall to answer each of the questions that you wrote?
Preview and Question
P for Preview
• Flick through your notes, flashcards, mind maps or whatever
• Focus on the HEADINGS
• E.g. “Acids and Bases” in Chemistry or “Settlements” in Geography
Q for Question
• Transform the section heading into a question (or questions).
• E.g. “What is an acid?” or “What are the characteristics of bases?” or “What features do settlements have in common?”
• It’s important to write your own questions! This process engages your brain and helps you remember the information.
Read and Say
R for Read
• Re-read the questions you have written.
• Answer from your notes, flashcards, mind maps etc.
• Highlight or underline the key words in the question and the answer
S for Say
• Say your answer and explain the key words aloud
• It helps to have someone to speak to, but if not say it to yourself – aloud!
• The process of transforming the answer from writing to speech engages your brain and helps you remember it
T for Test
• Test yourself again days later
• This will help identify where you have got strong recall, and where you need to work harder
• If you can’t remember it three days later – you haven’t learnt it.
• Revise again!
An example – History
• P: go through notes/revision materials for The American West
• Q: What was life like for the Plains Indians?
• R: Read through the question and bullet point key answer ideas from your revision materials
• S: Say them out loud
• T: the next day, Test yourself on them and see how many of the bullet points you can remember
Transform It! GCSE Revision
The principle: transform it
• “I’m just going to read through my notes” is not actually revising.
• In order to remember information effectively, your brain has to process it
• You have to think about it in order to remember it properly
What is “transform it”?
• “Transform it” means taking your revision notes and changing them into a different form
• The process of changing the information from one form into another means that you will think about it – and remember it better
Turn your notes into
• A diagram: • Bar chart
• Venn diagram
• Mind map
• Bullet pointed lists
• Audio recordings
• Post it notes
• Flash cards
• 3D shapes
• And more…
Example • Take a key poem from the English
• Transform your notes into a revision cube
• Each side is a category (you can choose your own, or): • Language
• Form / Structure
The Revision Process
Not very effective
• Low challenge.
• Little thinking required.
• Makes the student think that they are ‘doing something’
“Whatever you think about, that’s what you remember. Memory is the residue of thought.” Daniel Willingham
• “Memory is the residue of thought”.
• Space it out.
• Keep asking ‘why’?
• Build on what they know.
• Explain their steps in problem solving.