Revision Buddies Blog

Some Helpful Hints for Creating Your GCSE Revision Planner

Got exams this year and don’t know where to start? Don’t panic! Revising is actually not that difficult, you just need to organise yourself and manage your time, so we’ve put together a few simple steps to get you on your way to create the perfect revision timetable – your recipe for success!
 
Your revision timetable will be your saviour, your lifeblood, and help you to make sure that you have got it all covered, from start to finish. The key is to work out what you need to revise and in how much detail, you can then plan how much time you need and plot it out. Most importantly though, make sure it is manageable and that you approach your revision in a way that you find engaging. Being prepared will help you feel ready for when the exams come round so you can take them all in your stride!  
 
1.Getting organised. Stock up on things that you will need so you’re ready to go, like…Highlighters, Pens, Revision Cards, Post it notes, Paper and why don’t you download some Revision Buddies apps, just to shake it up a bit! Make sure that you have a quiet, calm area for studying, with no distractions.         
 
2.Split out key topics within each subject..
 
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Remember, you can’t eat an elephant! Making a revision plan requires breaking things down into manageable chunks. Split your subjects into key topics that you know you need to cover for each exam – If you’re struggling here, have a look at a Revision Buddies app where we show you how this is done.
 
Don’t forget that some topics will be longer than others, and there will be some that you feel you know already – make a separate list for each subject with its topics, you can then cross them off once you’ve covered them. Hurray!        
 
 
 
 
 
 
3.Creating the planner: It’s up to you to decide what works for you – start by looking at how many weeks you have, and then break it down into weekly chunks – we’ve made this nice and simple, just download Revision Buddies’ weekly revision planner and fill it in!
 
 
You can download a printable pdf here: 
 
 
Or an editable word doc here that you can save to your computer:
 
 
Starting early is important, your brain will not be able to recall as well if you cram all of your revision into a space or 2 weeks of all day revising.    
 
 
4. Mix it up! It’s tempting sometimes to stick to learning the things you like to learn about or find easiest, but make sure that you give plenty of time to topics that you find hard or enjoy less – you won’t be able to escape them in the exam!
 
It’s a good idea to balance the subjects that you enjoy with those that you might not want to do so much – maybe to two sessions a day that you will like, and one or two that you might not. Remember to revisit topics that you find challenging regularly so that they get fixed in your brain – you can also use our apps to test your knowledge for certain topics once completing them – just to check that you know all that you need for the exam.
 
5. How long should I revise for at a time? Your brain can’t concentrate all day long, you need to take breaks and make sure that you are not doing the same thing all the time – our planner is made so that you can divide up your time into half hour slots if you like – do whatever works for you, but remember to plan in some breaks!
 
6.Try to plan to work at times that are best for you Some people concentrate best in the morning, others better in the afternoon – you need to choose what works for you and plan accordingly. If you lose concentration in the afternoon, do more in the morning so you have a productive day.  
 
7. Give yourself a break from time to time – plan in downtime Downtime is crucial to a happy and productive brain! You need to give your mind a chance to process all you’re learning, and also to have fun whilst you are revising so that you don’t get too bogged down and stressed out. Make sure you include breaks in your plan, but also factor in your evening treats, the odd morning off or maybe something to take your mind off things over the weekend.
 
8. Build in a variation of revision / practice questions / creating essay plans / mindmapping / revise with a friend Varying your revision techniques can also be a way to make things seem less formulaic and boring. There might be days you want to read textbooks and make summary notes, there might be days where you have practice questions / example essays you can do too – fit these into the timetable where you think this might be a nice way to round up / finish off a topic or would like a bit of a change of pace.
 
pastpapers
 
We include past papers and mark schemes in our apps as this helps you to focus, understand the format of your exam and will also help you with planning your timing of questions. You could also try mind mapping – this is like a spider diagram of all the information you have on a topic. You can also revise with friends, this can help to share information and talk through topics – if they’re not nearby you could use our apps to upload your results of each topic to facebook and twitter.
 
9. Be flexible! When you make your timetable, don’t be overly ambitious with what you think you can achieve because sometimes, especially after a day of good revision, we find that our brains just aren’t working and we need to take some time out. Don’t worry, this is normal – there will be times when you really don’t fancy revising at all. You can always swap this slot with one of your planned mornings off and add in the sessions you had planned into another day. There will also be times when you’ll be absorbed in a subject and want to continue with it instead of breaking your train of thought – if so, just rejig accordingly too. You might well end up rewriting your planner out a few times, but that’s fine – it’s got to be a timetable that works for you. Make sure you know what you’d like to achieve on a weekly basis but don’t make it too rigid, otherwise it will just freak you out rather than help you with your organisation.
 
11. Colour codes Colour coding can be very useful – this is up to you as to what works best but you could do this subject by subject perhaps or by what type of revision technique you’re going to use. This will also brighten up what could be quite a black and white timetable – try and make it look in some way appealing – it will help just to look at it!
 
12. Getting your exam timetable Once you have your exam timetable – put it in your planner. This will give you a good idea of how long you have left until your exam dates. It will also help you to know  what you’ll need to concentrate on nearer the time for any final revision, and you will have the end date in sight so you can start making a plan and looking forward to your free time!
 
13. Share your plans! Once you’ve made your plan, share it with your family so that they can support you and they know when they can and can’t disturb you. Good luck, making your plan is the half of it, once you’ve done that you can be stress free, knowing you’ve given yourself enough time to get everything covered!
 
14. Last but not least.. Remember to plan in some time using our GCSE revision apps. Time away from your desk no longer needs to be written off as time that you can’t revise, so if you have any car or bus journeys coming up remember to mark them in on your planner as revision app time!
 
Get 50% off the Complete Collection using discount code: 50%COMPLETECOLLECTION

Raising the grades – GCSE History

What is the simplest way of raising the GCSE pass of your History students by one grade?

It is frustrating when you see a student who you know could get a grade C at GCSE instead dropping to a D. You know that with just a little more work and a little more revision that student could have gone up one, or even two, grades.

The same is true with the A student who could have got an A*. Just a bit more work, and it all could have been so different.

But it is even worse when the student claims that he or she really did revise. You know the student probably did revise – but clearly not with the right amount of focus and not on exactly the right subjects.

So what can be done?

The answer is almost certainly twofold. First, most students need help in seeing exactly what does need to be revised. And they need to test themselves rather than just “read through.” That much is obvious and usually recognised.

But second, the student needs to be encouraged to revise in short, meaningful bursts, paying full attention to the work all the way through.

However, since revision takes place outside of the focus of school, it can be hard to achieve this. Or at least until now.

For now, there is a different approach – an approach which takes the student’s everyday preferences and works with them to create a learning environment with which the student feels completely at ease.

This approach involves providing the student with a complete set of interactive revision materials for GCSE History which can be viewed and used on mobile phones and tablets. Materials which can be used whether the device has a connection to the internet or not.

In this way the student can work in short, sharp bursts, travelling to and from school, at home, during lunch breaks, etc, no matter where he or she is.

Better still, we are now offering the app which provides this facility, and schools can now purchase student licences. The student just needs to log on and then the app will be fully enabled. The Revision Buddies GCSE History app costs under £3 per student – surely the lowest cost revision guide that there is.

To find out more and see the details of the syllabuses covered by the app, please do take a look at our website, or if you have any questions please email us (support@revisionbuddies.com).

Girls at all girls schools achieve better GCSE results

Does it matter to students whether they revise using a book, a mobile, or a tablet?

We’re conducting some research about how students use mobile phones and tablets to revise and we’re sending out the following message to teachers in the UK. If you are a teacher and you’d like to contribute then please take a look at the short questionnaire…

………..

There is a body of opinion that holds the view that one of the factors that can reduce a student’s willingness to revise is that the revision may well involve a textbook or set of notes.

The reasoning is that because the student’s everyday life is focussed on digital devices, such as tablets and mobile phones, this makes it less likely that they will revise during the journey to and from school, during the lunch break, or indeed when at home unless they can do so on their tablet or mobile.

Further it is argued that if revision material were to be available on digital devices it is likely that some of the more revision-averse students could be drawn into doing a bit more homework.

We’d very much like to know your views on the subject, and so we’ve set up a short questionnaire and would appreciate if you could complete it.

There are only five questions and it really will only take one minute to answer them. Your answers will be very helpful in directing the way revision materials are developed for students in the future.

Please click here to take part in the survey.

If you would like to know our findings please send us an email request, and we’ll let you know in a few weeks.

George Webb

Revision Buddies

www.revisionbuddies.com

The fight for your civil right

Have you ever considered what it might have been like to live as a black person in the deep south of America during the 20th century?

Revision Buddies have put together this quiz to help you understand the fight for equality and civil rights during this time, take a look and see how much you know!

Want to learn more? Try our GCSE History app, which covers US race and relations, as well as lots of other topics that will help you to improve your knowledge, deepen your understanding and help you on your way to acing that GCSE exam!

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Edtech – the solution for overworked, underpaid teachers?

Teachers are in need of more support, they aren’t going to get it from working parents, and the government will just increase its burden of bureaucracy. Perhaps technology is the answer.

classipad

 

Over recent years governments have tossed and turned their national curriculum, teaching methods and the school system, desperate to rescue the British education system from constant criticism of lagging league tables and from fierce competition abroad. However, despite these changes, the funding required to implement them have been diminishing and the question lies in how any effective changes can be made when this crucial factor is removed.
A good education system needs support – not just financially from the government, but also from the parents that send their children to be educated. But when that support isn’t there – when there is no parent reading to their children at night, when no one is helping to test for a spelling test, and the government strips back funding but continues to add to the box ticking and ofsted inspections, what then?

 

If there has been one thing increasingly lacking in the support network for teachers, there has also been another that has quietly been taking the world by storm. For a generation not taught with computers, it is hard to adapt to the new age of thinking, however, little by little we are creating a world of educational technology that can support teachers, and ultimately students in their day to day learning, filling the gap that is being missed by parents and the government and relieving time pressure on teachers.

 

We built Revision Buddies apps because we realised that not everybody has a pushy parent (sorry mum), nor the environment where learning is encouraged, but there seemed to be one thing that was catching young people’s attention: their phones.  We wanted to develop something that would give everyone the opportunity to interact with their revision – to be able to take it with them wherever they went. We all need to be congratulated when we’re doing well and encouraged when we’re not – we also need to know when we are and aren’t doing well and to be shown where our learning gaps lie. With teachers over stretched, parents out at work, and students increasingly using the internet in their spare time, what better way to engage them with revision than through the avenues that they use the most?

 

schoolipad

 

But it wasn’t just about the students. We also wanted to give teachers more time to use in their classroom, so that they can help teach students to apply their knowledge, rather than using their revision sessions to run over the basic facts. Flipped classroom learning can really work with the right tools and we look to take on the job of making sure that students have the knowledge they need, and to help both them and their teachers to identify areas or topics that need more attention. This in turn allows teachers the time in the classroom to make sure that their teaching is effective with no opportunity for anyone to be left struggling quietly in the corner.

 

Technology in education carries a heavy head. Previously clunky, lacking in clear functionality and often dubious in its content, it is a no wonder that schools have been slow to take up the edtech revolution that is occurring. When we joined the CleverTouch CleverStore, they told us that one of their main challenges had been to find genuinely good educational apps. With so much on offer, filtering those that were created by someone looking to make a quick buck and those that are meticulously developed to ensure that teachers can rely on them and students can have confidence in them is a serious issue. As far as we’re aware, before the Cleverstore, the only educational platforms available seemed to promote those that paid them the most money and this is where the CleverStore differs. Each app that has been selected for the Cleverstore has been sought out and rigorously tested (not only in terms of functionality, but also for its relevance with regard to the National Curriculum) by the Sahara team to bring to the classroom the apps that they believe will be most effective for classroom learning, and useful resources for students and teachers alike.

 

It is with the smart, integrated system that the CleverTouch is able to transform the classroom environment, removing the faff and allowing seamless educational technology that actually works and is relevant. It is only once we build this confidence in technology, that we can start to see the benefits of the flipped classroom, to develop student’s skills for the modern world and get the government to turn its attention to developing its core subjects for the future, such as integrating coding at GCSE, rather than arguing whether John Steinbeck or Jane Austen would be the better set text of an antiquated system of the past.

 

Revision Buddies if available on the CleverStore, GooglePlay and the AppStore – read all about us here: www.revisionbuddies.com

Learn more about the flipped classroom here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30814302

Women, know your rights!

Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_PankhurstFound all that hard work and exams exhausting?

Did you know that if you were a girl living 100 years ago, you would have been unlikely to even have been at school. Your aim would have been to find a good husband, with your role to look after the children and home. Take a look at this quiz to learn about the women’s rights – those who fought for your rights to be educated, to work on equal pay to vote and to be able to divorce your husband. See how hard people sought to fight for their rights and get inspired to make a change to your future!

Your knowledge not quite up to scratch? Use the Revision Buddies History app to learn more about the changing role of women during the 1st and 2nd world wars.

We just got Clever(er)

Revision Buddies joins the market leading interactive touchscreen provider, Clevertouch, on its educational app store

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We are super excited to announce that we’ve joined the Cleverstore, the educational App store for Sahara Plc.’s Clevertouch Plus touchscreen!

Available on all Clevertouch Plus devices, Revision Buddies apps are now instantly accessible in the classroom, providing teachers with the opportunity for a more collaborative, interactive way to help students improve their fact base for their GCSEs.

 

 

 

What is Clevertouch Plus?

Clevertouch interactive touchscreens are changing the way we educate – the durable alternative to interactive whiteboard and projector solutions. With innovative features such as built in PCs and an app store focused on education, Clevertouch is being installed in a growing number of forward-looking schools.

What is the Cleverstore?

The Cleverstore boasts a wide-range of curriculum-based apps which have been specifically formatted for use with large interactive screens. All apps on the Cleverstore have been rigorously tested to ensure they are appropriate for the classroom and they have been stripped of ads and in-app purchases, enabling teachers to download subject or key stage apps for free, direct to the classroom!

What does it mean for Revision Buddies users?

By using Revision Buddies apps in the classroom in this way, teachers can create a more effective learning environment. With lively, quick fire quizzes focused on GCSE content, educators remove the solo aspect of revision and can work together with students to build confidence and ensure that key aspects of the syllabus are grasped. Using multiple features such as the inbuilt progress reports, students can share their individual results and teachers can monitor the development of their entire class, collectively building a solid knowledge base in order to excel in exams.

 

Julia Webb, Co-Founding Director, commented:

“As one of the most popular GCSE revision apps in the UK, we are delighted to have joined forces with the forward thinking team at Sahara. A key focus for Revision Buddies is about making revision more accessible, fun and interactive, and this partnership provides just that. Teachers can now use our apps more easily in the classroom and in homework assignments, allowing them to play a more collaborative role in revision, to identify and respond to learning gaps and, in the long term, provide the opportunity for improved exam results. We look forward to working alongside Clevertouch and to continue to develop and improve learning resources for students and teachers alike in the future.”

Learn about the Clevertouch here

Learn about the Cleverstore here

For original press release see here

Freedom!

Phew! They’re over! What now?!

exams over

 

1) Celebrate!

Get your sun cream and sunnies and go and hang out with your friends. Laugh lots and don’t mention the workd exa…..

 

2) Swim in the sea

Go to the seaside, camp, picnic. Feel the sun on your face and remember what it is to be alive by jumping into some nice cold atlantic sea!

 

3) Watch a box set

Indulge in all that you couldn’t do when you were sitting reading books or doing revision buddies apps!

 

4) Get ahead

Think about what it is that you want to do in the future and see if you can get some work experience: there is a great website just here: http://www.studentladder.co.uk/Work-Experience/work-experience-for-16-18-year-olds.html

 

5) Get stuck into something cool

Learn to cook with JamieGet coding  or why not try your hand at parcour?  You can do it all for free.

 

Whatever you do, enjoy it, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done your best for your exams.

 

“We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.”

William Glasser

 

Top tips for a stress free exam

This year some people were shocked by questions in their Maths GCSE exam: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33017299 which stemmed a mass twitter campaign from students.

Panicking in exam

Panicking gets you nowhere

In case you have any stumbling blocks in your exam, we’ve compiled some ideas to help you get through it to the best of your ability.

Panicking gets you nowhere, stay calm and if the questions are tricky remember that, as proven in the recent twitter campaign,  everyone will likely be thinking the same, so your chances haven’t changed.

If you have done effective revision and stayed healthy with good amounts of sleep your brain will be ready to perform.

 

 

Plan carefully

On the day of your exam make sure that you know when and where the exam is and get there in plenty of time. Make sure you have everything with you that you need – pens, pencils, rubber, calculator? and that you have any identification or necessary details.

When you open the paper, read the whole thing prior to picking up your pen, then read it again.  Use this time to work out which questions you’re going to do and how much time you are going to spend on each one and note the mark scheme so that you can time the answer accordingly.

sitting exam

If you get stuck, move on

Read what is required of you on the front page of the paper carefully, answering the wrong sections/ too many questions in the exam would be devastating.

Make sure you write down your timings to help you feel in control and do your best to stick to these as closely as possible. Don’t forget to give yourself 10 minutes to read over your answers at the end.

Remember that an exam isn’t about showing how much you know, it is about answering a question properly and demonstrating that you are able to apply your knowledge correctly. You might be tempted to answer a question on a subject that you know lots about, but it might actually be a difficult question and the subject that you find more difficult may have a question that you can answer better. Choose the questions that you are able to answer most effectively.

 Give yourself a clue – Look at the mark scheme

Look at the mark scheme to make sure that you will be answering the question as required. If a question has 3 marks, it is likely to be expecting you to point out 3 things, bear this in mind. It will also require less time than a 15 mark answer.

Don’t panic if you run over your time scale by a few minutes, but do make sure that you will be able to make it up. Running out of time makes the exam stressful and you won’t perform as well.

 Start with the easiest question

In doing this you will:

1) Boost your confidence because you will have safely completed a question that you are pleased with

2) If it is the easiest, you should find you spend less time on it. It gives you the opportunity to answer it well, but to also give you more time for the question that you think might be harder, without having to start it and then come back to it in fear of running out of time

If you get stuck, move on

On papers with lots of questions, like maths or science, be careful not to wind yourself up on a question that you get stuck on. You don’t have time. Move to the next question and come back to it later, you will be surprised how your brain might work when it returns to the question, it will be a bit refreshed and possibly confident that you have managed to answer other questions

Don’t forget to use your common sense, take a stab at answers even if you don’t know the answer for sure, it could be worth some marks. Noone can give you marks for a blank space

 Keep hydrated and energised

Take some water in with you and sip it slowly (don’t drink too much, you don’t want to be going for a pee). Check this out to see the benefits: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17741653).Take in a chocolate bar or banana too if you think you might need an energy boost

 SHOW YOUR WORKINGS

This goes for all exams. Make sure you explain to the examiner what you are doing. For a maths exam, even if you come to the wrong answer, if you can show that you used the right method, you will get some marks. In a written paper, if you show your essay plan but you run out of time, you will still get marks credited. It is always worth it.

 Running out of time?

Sometimes this happens and if it does you need to know how best to deal with the situation. If you have 2 questions left but you don’t have time to do them both, you should write plans for each, write the beginning of your answer for both and then bullet point the rest of your answer, or for a maths question, detail what calculations you would do to get to the answer. You get more points at the start of an answer than at the end, so this means that you will maximise your marks.

 Why are you leaving early?

Unless you are 100% sure that you are going to score 100%, you should not walk out of an exam early. Read over your answers, double check your calculations, check that your essay answer covers all the points in the plan. Then check again.

 

GOOD LUCK!! STAY CALM, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND DO THE BEST YOU CAN