Get Rid of Revision!

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What do you think your students would say if you were to tell them they never, ever had to revise again?

“Are you joking?” is likely to be the most common answer.

Well, it’s quite true. Our “Review Philosophy” is based on scientific evidence on how the brain retains information. This means revising an entire subject taught months ago during the Easter Holidays (or the night before the exam) just won’t work.

Reviewing a subject in small chunks, several times in short bursts, in the same amount of time it takes to brush their teeth has a far greater impact. We call it, surfing the waves of memory.

Surf

By reviewing little and often, the connections between neurons become stronger. This means information frequently reviewed is easily retained and recalled when they need it the most, in the exam.

Once students have taken their notes, made an A – Map and so on we recommend the following:

Review When How long
First Review 10 minutes later 10 minutes
Second Review 1 day later 5 minutes
Third Review 1 week later 2 – 5 minutes
Fourth Review 1 month later 2 – 5 minutes

The Review Philosophy was recently supported by a scientific study on game players behaviour and performance. The analysis showed that people who leave gaps between practice attempts go on to score higher.

The difference is huge: people who leave more than 24 hours between their first five attempts at the game and their second five attempts score as highly, on average, as people who have practiced 50% more than them.

This confirms lots of other research: studying effectively means pupils can spend less time revising and yet, remember more.

That is the key to the Review Philosophy: work smarter, not harder.

This inevitably leads to the question, “How do I revise effectively?” which is a loaded question and deserves a whole other article, but I do find the universal loathing of revision fascinating. Revision is the one and only thing students have complete control over during their school life. Students should love it.

Student mindset is a huge obstacle to overcome. Who can blame them? The word itself, “revision”, still sends shivers down my spine, even though my school days are far behind me.

The Review Philosophy can help engage pupils by giving them power and ownership over their learning and time. Revision doesn’t have to be hours of torture. It can be creative, colourful, and imaginative, even, fun.

The other part of the gaming study, which I adored, was how sleep or a brief rest after learning something can help you remember it a week later. Even napping can help consolidate memories, and maybe even make you more creative.

That’s that then. I’m off for a nap. See you later!

You can download our free handy guide to creating a revision timetable for your students here.

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