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 (

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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

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!

[qzzr quiz=”118734″ width=”100%” height=”auto” redirect=”true” offset=”0″]

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.



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?




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:

Learn more about the flipped classroom here:

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


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


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:


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: 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: in a chocolate bar or banana too if you think you might need an energy boost


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.