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Revising GCSE revision: Reframing the idea of exam preparation from short fix to long term, with Dawn Cox

It’s not unusual for students to wait until exams are almost upon them before revising. “Don’t stress, there’s loads of time” is certainly something parents hear a lot. Probably something they said fair amount too! For generations, teens have seen revision as that thing you do in the run-up to a test. It seems somehow baked into the word; revising isn’t just the act of studying what you’ve learnt, but some ill-defined period of time.  But is this the best approach for teens? Does it give them the best chance of showing off what they’re capable of?  

This podcast episode looks at revision and specifically challenge the idea that is a discreet part of learning that happens before a test or exam. 

This week, Nathan McGurl, Founder of The Study Buddy, is talking to Dawn Cox.

Dawn looks at the problems caused by viewing revision as that thing you do to get ready for an exam. She talks frankly about why the idea of revision should be ditched, and why spaced retrieval practises should be the norm. In this thought-provoking episode, we explore the problem of language around exam preparation and what parents can do to support their teens.

This week Nathan had a really interesting catch-up with Joe. Joe, like many students, has been getting his homework done and spending a bit of time studying topics at the weekends and maybe a little in the evening. He has mocks coming up and has decided he needs to ‘ramp up’ his efforts and start ‘revising’.  Again, like many, he’s concerned that these mock exams might have a bearing on his final grade. What really stood out was that, despite the confidence that he should feel, he still believes there a need to cram as much as he can before he enters the exam hall.

About Dawn Cox

Dawn is Head of Religious Studies is an Essex secondary school. Dawn is also a blogger covering not just RE topics, but teaching and learning in general. She has a particular interest in effective exam preparation. 


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