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Our Favourite Revision Tips

Tinies Education Special: Whatever education stage your child is at, exam periods can be a stressful time. We've got an expert's revision tips on how best to support your child's study, so that they can achieve their potential


Supporting your child during revision

Education is an important subject for anyone raising children. Throughout 2014 our Education Special articles will highlight 12 topics to help you come to terms with the decisions you have ahead, and the support you can provide your children. Check back every month to see what we're discussing!

Whether your child's exams are looming or they're out there on the horizon, it's always a good idea to start thinking about a word dreaded by children across the country: revision!

Revision Tips: Start as you mean to go onAs exam periods approach and pressure begins to mount on your young scholars, even the most fun-loving young people need to knuckle down in order to focus on their exams. Others might not, causing tension in the household as you start to worry whether they will achieve the grades they should. It's also important to note that not everyone needs to do the same amount of studying, but preparing now puts everyone in good stead for the future.

There's no doubt that the exam period can be a very tense time for both adults and children alike, with many households descending into a chaos of confrontation and distress. But it doesn't have to be this way; with the right comfort and support, you can help your children to ace their revision and exams, and enable them to achieve their full potential.

Start as you mean to go on with revision

Learning how to study, complete homework projects and revise is essential as your child moves towards the end of primary school.

Elena Dalrymple, from primary school education website TheSchoolRun, says "while children are tested at age 6 and 7 in primary school, the Key Stage 2 SATs at age eleven are their first 'real' exams and they can cause stress and concern in parents and children alike." By helping your child develop study skills in Year 6, you'll equip them well for the beginning of secondary school.

So how do you help your child grow into an independent learner? Elena Dalrymple has written her top revision tips for parents, to help support their children through the revision process!

Top revision tips for parents

It's important to start out with a plan; make sure you know exactly when the exams are, so you and your child can plan far enough in advance without any last minute stresses! Then sit down together with your child and set some objectives for what they're aiming to achieve within a specific timescale, ensuring that the goals are the right balance between challenging and attainable.

Here are a few revision tips and strategies you can try:

Revision Tips: Do homework straight after school
  1. Create a work-friendly environment. If your child is revising, make sure the house is conducive to studying. Younger siblings need to understand that they mustn't interrupt and the TV and music shouldn't be too loud (though some children actually study better with background music or noise... as long as they're not actually watching the TV out of the corner of their eye!).
  2. Show your child how to break down a task (or a revision plan) into smaller and more manageable sections that can be focused on one at a time. It's important to be realistic when working out a timetable, and also to include short breaks at the end of each session so the brain has time to absorb and process what has just been revised.

    Revision Tips: Create a work-friendly environment
  3. Make sure that your child has the books and any other material they need in order to work to the best of their capacity. It will make the process of learning and absorbing information much easier to have as many resources at your disposal as you can.
  4. Complete some past papers (available free online from many sites including TheSchoolRun). This will get your child used to the format of the paper, and will help them memorise the information through repeated practice. Build confidence by looking through the paper with your child before they work through it themselves, so you can pick up on any areas they're unsure about.
  5. Use visual aids like pictures, mind maps, highlighted notes and more to help information stick in your child's mind. Making the visual aids as attractive as possible will also help your child to remember the information that's on them, and maybe even make revision seem less like work!
  6. Memory aids like acronyms and acrostics can be a really useful tool in remembering information, particularly in the case of lists or groups of facts. They'll be most effective if your child comes up with their own, so let them be inventive!
  7. Don't just go online to research topics - encourage your child to be resourceful by also using books, encyclopedias, surveys and visits to museums to find facts and information. Trips for research can also double up as a fun way for all the family to learn, too.
  8. When it comes to revision, encourage your child to set their own tasks as part of a timetable. Success shouldn't be measured by how long they spend at their desk, but by completing a task they've set out to finish.
  9. It's also a good idea to do homework straight after school, and then your child can relax when it's finished.

  10. Where times tables, division facts and dates are concerned, learning 'off by heart' really is the best strategy. Reciting information out loud is particularly crucial, so help your child by scheduling in some times tables chanting every day on the school run, in the car or after school. Repetition is key.
  11. It's really important to stay positive. Don't nag, blame or criticise your child about their revision, but try to talk to them in a constructive way, helping them to plan their time or providing the equipment they need (pens, compasses, rulers, or highlighters).

Elena Dalrymple, Editorial Director, TheSchoolRun

Visit TheSchoolRun for more SATs revision tips, and lots of information and downloadable resources for primary school parents.

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