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GCSE Maths Revision classes - advice please!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by numberwhizz, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Hi, I have been asked by my school to run a series of revision classes for Maths GCSE and would like some advice on how to plan them please! There will be a total of about 12-15 hours for Foundation and the same for Higher.
    Would you skim over the syllabus so as to revise every topic or would you pick a few topics and go into more detail on them? Which topics do students tend to need most help on? Or is it better just to go through exam papers and see what crops up? Are there any useful resources for revision classes?
    I guess some advice on exam technique would be useful for them too? Or would this be a waste of time?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

     
  2. Hi, I have been asked by my school to run a series of revision classes for Maths GCSE and would like some advice on how to plan them please! There will be a total of about 12-15 hours for Foundation and the same for Higher.
    Would you skim over the syllabus so as to revise every topic or would you pick a few topics and go into more detail on them? Which topics do students tend to need most help on? Or is it better just to go through exam papers and see what crops up? Are there any useful resources for revision classes?
    I guess some advice on exam technique would be useful for them too? Or would this be a waste of time?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

     
  3. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    A lot of this will depend on where the students are at the moment and what exam board and syllabus you are using. But, as a generic, here is something that I have found to be fairly successful in the past...

    Firstly, look at what topics can be covered in the exam (check your syllabus, linear or modular?), then look at the group as a whole (or ask their class teacher if they are not yours) to pick out the most obvious gaps in their knowledge (maybe analyse mock exams or other assessments?), then read carefully the examiner's report for your exam board and syllabus about last year's GCSE.

    From all of this investigation, pick 10 key areas to be addressed.

    Now, revision on the whole is done very badly in schools - almost as though some teachers think that the best way to get students to know something is to simply "teach" them it again. Well, if that had worked first time, then they'd know it already, right?!

    So, what I have found works ok and the kids like is to make them feel successful by conintually practicing the 10 topics so that at the end of 15 weeks, say, they really know how to hammer those 10 topics. Of course, they will know other stuff too because their lessons are continuing. So it goes something like this...

    Session 1: Topic 1 (pick something meaty!), spend the hour describing, discussing, modelling solutions and practicing.

    Session 2: First 10 mins, a typical topic 1 quesion. Hey kids, you remember this from last time, show me how we can do this. Kids achieve, feel good. Then 50 mins: Topic 2 (as above for topic 1)

    Session 3: First 10 mins, topic 1 (feeling really good now, being successful, what was all the fuss about topic 1!), next 10 mins: Topic 2 (you remmeber this, don't you, let's have a bash at this one question - just one question - they do it, you discuss). Then 40 mins: Topic 3.

    Session 4 First 5 mins, Topic 1 question, quick success, feel good, can see we are making progress. 10 mins: Topis 2, yep feeling ok with this, discussion, maybe extend, feeling confident. 10 mins: Topic 3: Just one question, they remember and mostly achieve, discuss, address and problems. 30 mins: Topic 4...

    Ok, so you can see where this is going... The idea, of course, is that instead of practicing something in February and saying that is now "revised" so that the kids completely forget it by June, you build up a knowledge of the topics by revisiting little and often and make associations in their mind of success with mathematics. And because these are 10 very carefully selected topics, when you get in to April and May, you can dish out past papers and the kids will have key areas that they can nail.

    So, by Session 10, you are doing something like...

    Session 10: 20 mins, selection of Topic 1 - 9 questions, maybe a card sort, maybe they are creating their own questions, maybe a quick fire quiz... whatever... the topics are now so familiar that they handle them confidently and happily. 40: Topic 10.

    And by the end...

    Session 15: 30 mins selection of questions, quick fire, fill in with discussions and address problems where needed, get the kids to extend the topics, etc. 30 mins: Past paper, train them to open the paper and quickly identify their key topics and nail those questions - this gets them away from the notion that an exam paper has to be done in numerical order (lots of kids spend time on questions which they fail and don't reach ones they know). If you pick the 10 topics carefully at the beginning, there will always be at least 5 of them crop up on the exam (usually all 10 if you choose wisely!). So then you get to say to the kids, hey look we've done half an hour and already bagged 25 marks (for instance).

    Of course, all of the above needs to be personalised and made right for you and your kids, but hopefully the idea is a helpful one. I have tried all sorts of routes to revision over the years and have found this to be the most successful on the most occassions.
     
  4. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    Oh, and one thing I forgot to say, is maybe if you and everyone else posted "I am doing this exam board/specification" then the forum as a whole might come up with THE 10 KEY TOPICS? That would make a nice thread
     
  5. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Analysis of their mock exam and a few other past papers should yield a series of regular topics which too many are failing to score marks on. This takes time, but is worth it, particularly if you can point out to them, in the first place, the stats which led to choosing the topics in the first place. In a similar vein, I've often run a session which analyses which questions/topics are most likely to come up - topics they cannot afford to ignore...
     
  6. Thanks for your help!
     
  7. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Personally think 15 separate hours of revision at foundation level might be a bit too much? When are you planning to start the revision sessions? Can you guarantee students will turn up to lots of them. If they don't does it matter.
    Worried that you put in 15 hours over 7 or 8 weeks before the exams and then they have little benefit. I've always found the closer you can get revision to the exam the better. It's often the foundation students that forget what they are doing and if you spread it over too wide a period, not sure how much they are going to benefit. Have you thought about doing a couple prolonged sessions during holidays maybe.
    Just my thoughts.
     
  8. It depends on when the classes are (in school time or after school), what resources the students have already used, what resources you have availabe to you, whether you're already teaching these students and so on.
    One of the biggest issues I've always had with out of hours revision session at this stages is that there are so many competing demands on students' time. The keen ones are going to classes every night! The lazy ones won't come anyway.
    I would be tempted to bag a computer room and run sessions where they work through the mymaths revision packs according to a schedule. Then those who can't come but are keen can keep up. I'd spend the time chatting to one or two students at time, listening to their concerns and trying to tease out their issues with the maths and build their confidence at the same time. We'd get the kettle and the coffee and tea out - they appreciated the more grown up atmosphere.
    I'd aim to do something different - like past papers in the las few sessions.
    I don't know if that fits with your situation at all - do tell us more if it's not help.
    Good luck with it whatever you choose to do. [​IMG]
     
  9. Not sure about tea and coffee in the computer room!!
     
  10. We had a desk area away from the computers [​IMG]
     
  11. bbibbler

    bbibbler New commenter

    I felt that most of the pupils that needed extra revision were the ones that had refused to engage with maths lessons during lessons, I felt I needed a way that they could claim ownership of the sessions.

    I photocopied the detailed content list from the textbook I was using and made each student vote on which topics they felt that they needed to revise. the topic with the most votes was dealt with first and used for a couple of starters in later lessons.

    I agree with Becca that Mymaths would be a good idea, I often use it when there is not a skilled maths teacher available.
     

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