Busting the English Revision Myth

One of the biggest misconceptions about English is that you cannot revise it. I understand how this has come about, since English is predominantly a skills-based subject rather than knowledge-based. However, this does not mean that students cannot prepare effectively for their English examinations. With many students currently in the middle of mocks and end of term assessments, it is important to make sure that they are putting the right amount of time aside for their English examinations, and not assuming that they can make it through without any revision. Here are five tips on how your child definitely can and should revise for English examinations: 

  1. Practise, practise, practise! 

No one can improve upon a skill unless they actively practise. I often compare this to running – you can watch a video or read a book about running, but unless you actually put on your running shoes and get out there, you will never get any better at running. It is the same with English. If students do not practise their essay writing skills using example questions then they will not be able to see where their areas for development actually lie. Students need to build up speed and stamina when it comes to essay writing, as without these, they will not fulfil their potential in the examination. 

  1. Learning Quotations 

English Literature examinations require students to write without the set text in front of them. Students sometimes mistakenly assume this means they do not need to use quotations in their answers, but this is not the case. The examiners will expect students to have spent time learning quotations off by heart in order to support their points without having to slow down their analysis by constantly checking a physical copy of the text (you would be surprised how much time this can lose a student in an examination!) So it is essential that your child is putting aside time to learn quotations and thinking about which techniques they can use to help them remember. 

  1. Know the Assessment Objectives 

Different questions on the English Language and Literature examinations will be assessed according to different assessment criteria, so it is important for students to spend time thinking about what exactly the examiners wish to see in each section. Students need to make sure they know what the assessment objectives are, and what they actually mean. If they are in doubt about this, they need to seek support from their teacher! 

  1. Exemplars 

Students need to be exposed to high level exemplar material in order to understand what it is that they examiners are looking for. Going through example answers with different highlighter colours for each assessment objective can be a particularly effective way to see exactly how examiners award their marks. Teachers will normally provide this material as part of their normal classroom teaching, but it is also possible to view sample answers on the examination board websites. 

  1. Redraft 

Another valuable activity that students do not always engage with is redrafting. Going back to previous essay questions that they have attempted and looking at ways in which they can improve their answers is essential to making further progress. Students need to learn that redoing work is not a waste of time, and it is often by revisiting and improving work that the greatest progress tends to be made. 

Are you looking for further secondary English support for your child? Bright Sky Tutoring offers one to one and small group tutoring designed to help students find their spark and fulfil their potential. If you would like to know more, get in touch today at hello@brightskytutoring.com

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