Thursday, 23 April 2009

Revision Tips #2: Re-imagining exam locations

Revision tips are key during this term as students are taking their all-important external exams. So here's another off-beat tip to help learn keywords and concepts.

If possible, arrange for students to complete a lesson where they will sit their exam. It might be a gym, hall or a classroom. Even if there are no desks laid out, take the students to the space to have a look around.

Get them to sketch the room -- they should include as many details as possible. Think about windows, doors, lecterns, lights, pictures, and so on. Everything they draw should be in the room when the exam is taking place, so they should ignore anything temporary (e.g. trampolines in a gym!)

Next, ask students to suggest key concepts and relate them to items in the room. For example, in RE you could relate pictures around the room to the fourteen stations of christ. Or, in science, have different parts of a plant relate to different things around the room (e.g. the floor, ropes hanging from curtains, lights, etc.). The more creative the students can be and the more they meld the items with the concepts, then the more effective this tool becomes.

Back in the classroom get students to re-imagine their exam location and, again, recall the concepts along with the items in the hall or gym. In doing so this gets the concepts into the students minds but also, should they panic in the exam, they will have key reference points around the room to get them back on track.

Where did I get this idea from? My own high-school RE teacher Ms. Usher. It worked like a treat!