5 best revision strategies for your students

5 best revision strategies for your students

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Revision strategies for students

Learning is part and parcel of a student’s life. The things learned should also be understood and retained in a long-lasting way. This is where revision comes in and makes learning successful.

The cognitive effect

The human brain has both short-term and long-term memories. In contrast to short-term memory, which has a finite capacity and lifespan, long-term memory is infinite. When learning takes place, the information is first processed in short-term memory before it can be encoded into long-term memory. Therefore, when knowledge is stored in long-term memory, learning becomes permanent. However, because of its enormous capacity, long-term memory may retain a lot of information, making it difficult to retrieve knowledge and lessons. The proper knowledge can only be accessed from memory at the right time through relevant cues.

What is revision – the usual way

Revision (re-again, vision-perception, observation, or analysis) means reading, understanding, and studying the whole academic content one more or several times to retain it in a better and long-lasting way. 

Purpose and benefits of revision:

  • Helps in the retention of concepts
  • Boosts confidence and acts as a de-stress factor
  • Enhances the level of understanding

Revision Steps

R – Retrieval 

Any revision session should begin with retrieval. Encourage students to consider whether their chosen revising strategy will require them to use their long-term memory. Even during a brief period of individual study, they can access knowledge in a variety of ways:

  • Completing past exam papers
  • Copying from memory study notes or mental maps
  • Going over earlier essays and adding more information without using notes
  • Making a list of inquiries and preparing sample responses
  • Taking ten minutes to list the topic’s keywords
  • Brain dumps: for five minutes, students can write as much as they can on any given concept

E- Elaboration

This revision strategy focuses on strengthening the connections between various concepts in long-term memory. Students should review their study notes for one or two themes, then put them away and try to identify the similarities and differences between the two paragraphs they just read. They can also compare multiple subjects using this method.

Asking questions such as “What if…?” “Why does…?” or “How do we know…?” can help students better understand the concepts.

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V – Visual and text

Encourage students to use both text and graphics in their study notes or flashcards to better retain information. This will provide more cues to aid in retrieving information from long-term memory when needed. This technique can also be used to remember new information when it is introduced.

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I – Interleaving

During review sessions, interleaving involves switching between various themes. Before moving on to a new topic, students should spend 20 to 40 minutes reviewing the previous one. During one revision session, they can switch between two distinct topics or review material from each of their subjects. In the classroom, interleaving can also be applied by integrating two topics into one question or adding a question from a previous topic to a low-stakes quiz.

S – Spacing

Spreading out revision sessions for a single topic over a two-week period is significantly more beneficial than doing it in a single day. Students should review new material as soon as they learn it, and then gradually increase the time intervals between each subsequent review session.

E – Examples

Examples can provide more cues for long-term memory. The collection of examples can be expanded for homework and review, and they can be used in class to help students understand abstract concepts. Students can be encouraged to make new lists of examples during their revision time.

5 best revision strategies for your students:

1. The Pomodoro technique

Instead of cramming, try to understand by following a process. The steps are:

  • Spend the first 25 minutes reviewing academic material
  • Take a five-minute break
  • Start revision again
  • Repeat this cycle for 2 to 3 hours after starting the revision process
  • Take a two-hour break to avoid burnout
  • Return to the study desk, refresh, and start rewriting

2. Exam wrappers

This feedback technique provides information about the student’s revision methods and provides crucial data for the teacher to assess the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of the student’s revision. It may also help control students’ overconfidence during revision.

3. Get ready to teach

“Get Ready to Teach” asks students to teach a peer a concept or word from their revision topic. This encourages them to deepen their knowledge and has a positive impact on their learning.

4. Past questions

Students should regularly and evenly practice exam questions. Repeatedly practicing exam questions or worked examples and creating their own will help them process, practice, and refine their revision to meet exam requirements.

5. Everyone is unique

Remind students that everyone is unique and they must find the best revision techniques for themselves. Teach them how to use a variety of revision strategies, such as mind maps, flashcards, graphic organizers, revision schedules, quizzing, highlighting, pictures and videos, rewarding themselves for achieving revision goals, etc.

Subject teachers must explicitly explain the revision method, model it, and provide guided practice before students can effectively apply revision strategies. A good revision approach must be firmly based on subject knowledge and sustained over time.

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