Teaching Revision and Exam Technique

Most students feel nervous about exams, but homed schooled students might have extra nerves about taking the exams in a large exam centre with students they may have never previously met. It’s a good idea to take your homed schooled child along to the exam centre in advance of the date of the first exam so he or she can get used to the environment, or at least knows what to expect. The rest of this article looks at tips on study skills, teaching revision, exam tips and dealing with exam nerves, to help home schooled children achieve top grades in exams.

Home Schooled Students and Study Skills

It’s a good idea to always foster the study skills below, but they are especially important just before an exam, so a home schooled child can revise in peace and quiet. Create the right conditions that are conducive to studying, that might be a library if the home has become associated with non-study tasks, or a quiet room at home with a good desk and supportive chair. Turn off all distractions (like television and music), and have everything that your child might need to revise nearby, e.g. rough paper, pens, calculator, to avoid the distraction of getting up to track down a resource.

Revision Methods for Home Schooled Students

There are a myriad of ways and methods to revise, so it’s best to start using several different types throughout your child’s education to find the best and most effective way to revise for your child to consolidate his or her knowledge. While some students find success passively reading through notes and books, most find active methods of revision more successful. These might include repeatedly simplifying the information into shorter and shorter notes, until there is a line per fact/piece of information, which can be used as a review and memory jogger.

Another way is to actively adapt all notes so that prose becomes diagrams, and vice versa, facts are broken down into mnemonics, etc. Many students like to use flash cards as memory aids. Past papers can be a useful way for home schooled children to get used to answering questions in a ‘standard’ way, and can be marked by a parent or tutor. There is further information on this method elsewhere on this site. When helping your child to work through a past examination paper, help him or her to make the most of the experience by timing the exam to the exact time available in the real exam.

Avoiding Exam Nerves

Help your child be aware that nervousness before an exam is normal, but excess stress should be avoided if possible. Plan in advance for the exam, so you know where and when it will take place and are not late. Ensure your child knows home much time is allowed in the exam, and the number of questions that have to be answered.

Exam Tips

First step is to look through the paper and write down top questions (if you have a choice) or things that seem important. Look at the marks available and answer questions accordingly, writing more for questions of higher value. Show all working out where possible. Make a plan for essay questions. Allow time at the end to read through answers and correct mistakes. After the exam, don’t bother comparing answers with other students – it will only add to stress!