Revision activities

There are countless ways to revise. Here are some of the ways to encourage students out of the habit of just re-reading their text books or exercise books.

Create a study guide as they learn the subject.

You are teaching a unit specifically because it is on the exam, so wouldn't it be especially creative if students were wrtiing the revision guide as they went along.

If you are looking at this and you've already tought it and the students have just a few weeks until the exam, ask them to make a study guide. You will no doubt have learned in your training that people learn when they transform their knowledge or understanding into another medium.

Even if you just get the students to write subject-related summaries or Facebook profiles then they are transferring their knowledge and understanding.

See also our Spark on Creating your own study guide.

Similar to the idea above, but ask students to teach one another.

Perhaps your class could go into another class to teach, or you could just get students to revise different aspects of the subject in groups and then teach what they know to a peer.

See also our Sparks on Students using the 5-minute lesson plan, and on finding a Real audience.

Show them how to convert what they have in their books into visual notes or Creative maps.

It's the transformation of knowledge or understanding which will cement the ideas in the memories and brains of our students. If you have students who are strong visual learners or who enjoy drawing and doodling then this could well be the primary revision tool for them.

See our Sparks on Visual notes or Creative maps for more information and further links.

Building on notes as a class. This is a good one for the classroom, rather than for homework or independent learning.

Give each table a different focus (you could give each table the same focus, it depends on what you want them to reivse). So if you are teaching the characteristics of living things, maybe Table 1 looks at respiration, Table 2 looks at excretion and so on...

Students then have a set time to add to an A1 sheet of paper all the information they can recall. (If they contributed their ideas on individual Post-it notes, then the next group could reorder them.)

Students then move to a different table and add to the next A1 sheet, reordering the previous team's work if ideas were contributed on Post-its.

Put the 'finished' notes on the board and discuss which are the best, and ensure that any mistakes or omissions are dealt with.

Make a rhyming poem out of the information they need to retain.

Students look at the information they are required to learn and they then turn the information into a rhyming poem (or a rap if you are capable of being cool and hip).

Different students or groups of students could each do different aspects of the subject or unit and they can rate the quality of information conveyed, and try to identify anything that's missing.

Reduce, stage by stage, what you need to know until a page of notes is condensed into a list of bullet points.

This is effective for those students who struggle with mind-maps - it's a methodical, purposeful, clean way for students to learn large quantities of information.

1) Students read the information they have to learn, perhaps highlighting or colour-coding sections as they go.

2) They then have to rewrite all this information onto a second piece of paper, but reducing it by half - it helps if they continue with the colour coding throughout the note-making processes.

3) When this is complete, students put away the original (or give it to another person who can help) and try to use the second sheet of notes to prompt a full verbal recollection of the original information.

4) Students can then leave this subject to work on another, but when they return to it, they create a third sheet of notes from the second sheet, on which they condense the information by half again. At this point (and indeed at every point) the students need to use the newly shortened notes to prompt them to repeat the full verbal recollection. They may need to check with their original notes that they haven't missed anything.

5) This process continues until the student has just a handful of key words to prompt a recollection of all the information from the orginal sheet. 

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