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Strategies and techniques for teachers when preparing students for exams
School examinations are a stressful time not only for students but for teachers too. This article looks at how teachers can best support/motivate students prior to their exams, to enable them to succeed.
- Prepare yourself – plan ahead: Students will have lots of questions about the upcoming exams. Ensure you familiarise yourself with the course and assessment goals as well as the exam procedures so you are knowledgeable and can let students know what is expected of them.
- During class and term time: As you work through the curriculum during school terms ensure students highlight important details in their notebooks/binders. This will help students when it comes to revision time.
- Revision classes: Students should be working steadily throughout the year but some revision classes in the last few weeks of term can help prepare them for exams.
- Identify the key topics students will need to know for their exam and try to make the revision session memorable and motivational for the students. You could make the questions into a board game and cover the key points this way, making it a fun/relaxed review and ensuring students don’t feel overloaded with information.
- In-class group discussion as part of exam review can promote analytical and independent thinking, especially when each member of the team is allocated a different role in the group.
- Set students homework between revision classes to motivate them to start their revision early.
- Allow time for any questions they have about the upcoming exams.
4. Revision techniques: Advise students on ways to improve their study concentration by informing them to:
- Study in a quiet place where they will not be distracted.
- Create revision timetables and stick to them.
- Break large subjects into smaller ones, which can be absorbed in one revision sitting.
- Take regular short breaks, eat healthily and drink plenty of water.
- Look at test papers to help prepare for exams, including planning out answers to previous exam questions.
- Create mind maps and diagrams as a way to remember information studied.
- The Exam room and paper: Remind students of the basic exam room rules e.g. phones switched off, no notes to be taken in to the exam room.
- Also reinforce the fact that students should read the questions several times in the exam, so they know what the examiner is looking for (in their responses) and can answer the question correctly. Use of past papers can help with this.
- Teach the art of exams – make sure student understand the difference between key words used in exam questions such as “describe”, “discuss”, “compare” and “summarise”. Even if students really know the topic they could be let down if they don’t know what a question requires of them or how much time to spend on their answer.
- Encourage students to organise their ideas prior to writing the answer to the exam so it is written in a clear manner and answers the question thoroughly. Again a mind map is a good technique when planning essay answers and can be drawn out quickly on a spare piece of paper during the exam.
- Remind students that extra marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- Also tell students to write their answers neatly as they will lose marks in their exam if the examiner cannot read what is written. Examiners mark many papers so they are pleased when handwriting is tidy and easy to read.
- Time management is important for students during exams – ensure they divide their time between the questions sufficiently and keep to this schedule so they don’t run out of time when answering the questions.
- Use all available resources: There are many revision tools on the market to support teachers in the classroom, which can provide variety/increased student interest in revision classes. To the tech-savvy young students in your classroom, the use of online application and software is second nature, so introducing them to these applications can help unlock their creativity and aid their study, revision and organisation. One such application is Read&Write Gold software from Texthelp Ltd, which helps students in the classroom and with their revision. The many reading, writing and study skills features make revision easier, less laborious and Read&Write Gold appeals to all types of learners i.e. visual, kinesthetic and auditory.
Find out more about how Read&Write Gold can enable student success in the classroom, during exams and at revision time by visiting www.texthelp.com or downloading your free 30-day trial directly from www.texthelp.com/uk/downloads.