With exam preparation underway, coursework deadlines and we are getting closer to the end of the year… is it any wonder that students and teachers are getting little sleep and feeling somewhat anxious?
Exam prep season is difficult – full stop. In this blog I hope to offer some simple ways to make it more manageable. So take what is useful to you and your students.
It is important to review your specification content – has it all been covered during the course of study? Is the question you need to ask yourself? You as the subject teacher are responsible for covering everything! We know that sometimes this is not possible so the first thing is to map out and identify if anything has been missed. Once this has been identified you may or may not have time to deliver or cover missing content – if you do great! If you don’t ensure that you provide resources and guidance to the students so that they can learn independently. Another solution is to get the students to research one topic and teach their peers. This works very well especially as the students feel more responsibility for the topic of learning they are meant to be researching. It is also a good way to cover revision topics and engage your class. Get your students to devise a short activity or presentation to deliver but be careful as you don’t want them to spend too much time on delivery rather than the content.
- Extra revision sessions
Now this is something I remember causing so much controversy in my last school. Departments demanding students attend extra sessions for each of their subjects and arguing over who should be attending what – which actually put even more pressure on the students. I think the sensible approach here is planning in the extra revision sessions according to the policies of your institution as extra revision session can be really useful but if you find this is proving difficult recording your voice over a presentation or making short videos on certain topics using your phone or a webcam isn’t so difficult with the technology that we have to hand. Remember these don’t have to be perfectly edited pieces. Also try to make yourself available to see your students as you giving that extra little support and coaching can be invaluable to a young person struggling with exam pressures.
Resources are again a contentious issue and we have already touched upon resources in the comments above but our limited budgets and time are restrictive to us being able to produce what we may want. So why not search online, in facebook groups, look at education bloggers? You will find an array of free and readily available resources. Warning – be sure to check the source and the content as the accuracy and relevance of what you may find will be very much dependant on the author.
- Revision Techniques
It can be easy to focus on the content and forget about addressing exam technique and revision techniques. It is important to cover techniques such as how to revise and be organised during this period with the students as sometimes it isn’t the content that is causing stress. It is just the seemingly mammoth task in front of the student. It is the perception of the work involved. Giving tips on how to organise and block time for revision can really help. Even though I despise teaching to an exam and it grates on my insides, it is essential to understand past papers to get an idea of the types and styles of question and marking. Sharing these with students can be powerful and can really help students to approach the questions without fear and it helps to avoid some of the ‘silly errors’ that occur become of feeling of anxiousness or rushing through the examination.
Last but not least reducing stress for both students and yourself is so important. RELAX! Take breaks and keep things in perspective. Doing some exercise or meditating can really help with relaxation. However, you must schedule this time in and make it a priority. It is a stressful time and it won’t just pass so make time for yourself to recharge and to shut down and discuss this with your students- share your feelings and allow them to as well.
Well that’s is all from me today – Wishing you all the best during this busy period !