How to Revise - Effective Revision
Right from Year 7, students need to get into the habit of revising effectively and, with that in mind, we have devised the Towers Hour. The idea is to split an hour into three parts which each has its own function for effective revision.
- Create: The Science of Learning tells us that it is not enough to reread information if we actually want to remember it. We have to actually think about it. So, in this section, you get together the knowledge or information you are trying to learn and you create something new with it. Our suggestions are that you should:
- create flashcards
- write the main section of your Cornell notes
- create questions with answers
- create a mindmap for a topic
- create your own knowledge organiser
- create a diagram or chart or even a series of images to the material you have covered.
- Remember: Retrieval practice really is the key to moving information from your short term to your long term memory. What retrieval practice actually means is that you are bringing information you have previously learned to mind and thinking about it. In other words, a while after you've learned something, you would try to remember and recall it. As we have seen, it is better if you have allowed yourself to forget a little first so that your brain has to work a little harder to bring it back, which strengthens the memory. So, when you first start to use the Towers Hour for revision, you will try to remember exactly what you just created in the first section, once you have practised and have created a number of different resources, you can try to retrieve something other than that which you have covered in the 'create' section of the hour.
So, in practice, in this session, you try to recall the material and, if possible start to extend and apply it. This would typically involve:
- self quizzing using 'look, cover, write, check'
- testing yourself self and/ or peers
- answering the questions you have written
- using the flashcards to see what you remember
- recreating a mindmap from memory
- completing a blank version of a Knowledge Organiser
- creating the Cornell notes summary without looking at the main notes
- writing a longer answer to an extended response question
- recreating a diagram/ graphic organiser
- writing a Feynman explanation
- or even just getting a blank sheet of paper and writing down everything you remember about a topic.
- Check: So, you have now spent the second part of the hour trying to remember as much as you can about what you have previously learned. However, you are still not done. You need to check your work. So, in this session, you will correct your recall work from your initial material that you created - or from your original notes - adding anything you have missed and correcting any errors.
The idea here is not to make yourself feel bad if you missed something or got something wrong - but in fact is to learn even more. Research into how our brains work suggests that, if you correct your work and add additional information now, even if you didn't know it during the remember section, you are likely to strengthen the memory anyway and remember it better next time.
One of the key problems with learning is that, once something has been learned, it is really difficult to 'unlearn' it so you have to make sure you correct it straight away. Thankfully, even if you were really sure you were right, if you correct it straight away, you should remember the true correct answer. In fact, the 'hypercorrection effect' suggests that the more certain you were that you were right, the better you will learn from the correction!
You can download and use these posters to help guide your revision - click here.