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How do you revise maths?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by brookes, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. I think my faculty may be asked to deliver some one-off sessions to year 11s on one of these collapsed timetable days. The proposal is that they get taught "Study Skills" and then go to sessions in English, Maths and Science to apply these skills.

    In terms of "Study Skills" I think the most pertinent to our maths students are "revision skills" so I'm going to ask if there's some flexibility.

    If there is, what revision skills would you suggest sharing? I'm thinking of focusing on non-ICT based resources but old fashioned revision techniques, such as "Big Picture" posters; creating your own revision cards on index cards; working with past papers in various ways etc.
     
  2. I think my faculty may be asked to deliver some one-off sessions to year 11s on one of these collapsed timetable days. The proposal is that they get taught "Study Skills" and then go to sessions in English, Maths and Science to apply these skills.

    In terms of "Study Skills" I think the most pertinent to our maths students are "revision skills" so I'm going to ask if there's some flexibility.

    If there is, what revision skills would you suggest sharing? I'm thinking of focusing on non-ICT based resources but old fashioned revision techniques, such as "Big Picture" posters; creating your own revision cards on index cards; working with past papers in various ways etc.
     
  3. It might not be fashionable, but my old Manufacturing Engineering lecturer insisted that the best way to revise was to do the following...
    Make a list of all you need to know, including examples, key formulae and misconceptions.
    Copy that list, but try to condense the notes down using abbreviations, algorithms, flowcharts etc.
    Repeat, but this time, reduce key statements into acronyms.
    By that point, you should then be able to put your notes onto index cards.
    Display these on something you're always going to look at - a mirror, a door, the ceiling of your bedroom, etc.
    Two things happen
    1. As you're writing the notes, your brain processes them. Writing the notes is more cognitively effective than plain writing them.
    2. You have a handy set of notes to refer to, and the acronyms, algorithms and flow charts are easier for your brain to process than sentences and paragraphs.
    Plus, having them in a place you're always going to be looking at means that subconciously, you'll take them in. A cockier lad in one of my classes said he'd have them on the ceiling of his girlfriend's bedroom [​IMG] but at least he got the point of where I was coming from.
    It worked for me - and I've got a horrible short term memory. At lot of my students have took this idea on and they've had surprisingly good results.
     
  4. On top of the usual ways I have two lessons I like
    1
    <u>You</u> write answers to exam question on the exam paper with some perfect answers, some ok ones but need more to score more marks and then some awful ones.
    Get the pupils to write better versions and articulate their answers to share at end of the lesson showing key aspects of the topic and where marks are gained and lost.
    2
    Dont give them the questions, only the answers with perfect exam responses. Get the to 'find' the topic of the question (from the answer) you have done and have them write a list of the rules used with the topic, any formulae asscoiated with them, any common errors, tips for making things easier and how to tackle such questions to gain full marks. It obviously works better with some topics
    This is all on top of the usuals and not a substitute
     
  5. Thank you for these great ideas, certainly a great addition to revision lessons, so really appreciated. I'm specifically interested in revision activities that students can do on their own, approaches they can be "coached" in.
     
  6. Personally I am a condensor ... always have been ... I cannot imagine doing my revision any other way

    I am pretty anal about it ... at university I bought all me revision notebooks in one go ... by the end of Y3 I was terrified I was going to run out ... if I had to use a different style notebook for a course ... unimaginable

    I encourage ... a ragged SoW ... know what you know ... know what you can learn ... know what is your bete noir and leave it til the end when everything else is solid ... then past papers ... when you open the exam paper you want to know that you have seen every question before
     
  7. This is how I teach people to revise:

    Get a sheet of paper and divide that sheet into squares, each square representing one subject you have to revise (so square one will be mathematics, square two will be English, square three Science and so on).
    Then for each square, divide into six or so subjects (certainly less than ten). So maths could be
    "quadratic equations", "simultaneous equations", "mental arithmetic", "trigonometry", "ratios and percentages", "statistics". It's important that the child make this division himself.
    For each heading, jot down two or three subjects on a separate sheet of paper. So for "quadratic equations" it could be "quadratic formula", "factorising by hand", "graphs of equations".
    Then for each subject, determine whether you know it or not. So it could be "can factorise by hand and graph equations, but don't know formula".
    Then concentrate revision on strategic area. In maths this probably means areas of weakness. In other sujects there's often a choice, so it might be as well to forget Napoleon and concentrate on the French Revolution, if it's not necessary to cover the whole syllabus in depth to do well.

    It doesn't work for everyone, of course, but it's a good method.


     
  8. DM

    DM New commenter

    Yet again, you appear to have forgotten you are not a teacher.
    Important, presumably, because you would not be able to help.

     
  9. The glaring error you make here is thinking that students can recall what some of these things are.

     
  10. That's the whole point of the method.
     
  11. If...
    1. The student has to make the division themselves (quote yourself) but...
    2. They don't know the different between the topics or...
    3. They don't know what the topics actually mean...
    ...then the topics won't be revised properly.
    We, as teachers, have to give them that structure and guidance in what to revise.
     
  12. By forcing them to divide the year's work into half a dozen or so subheadings, you begin to change that reality.


     
  13. oh do give us examples of how this has worked with your actual students
     
  14. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    There is more chance of Santa Claus coming down your chimney with the Hallelujah chorus in tow.
     
  15. Anyway, back to the serious point of revision.
    We're taking a new tack with our revision classes this year. Normally we've focused on getting as many students as we can in, then pretty much end up teaching our normal classes for an extra period. However the return on this last year was pretty shambolic, so we're going down a different line.
    Instead, we're going to formally invite all our A*/A target students to one revision session a week, then identify our C/D borderliners and split that cohort across 6 teachers, to do small group revision.
    Our F/G/U will get extra maths support in school time, and teachers will be organising other students revision informally.
    What do people think about this? Are we playing to the tune of targets or are we right to focus our efforts less generally?
     
  16. DM

    DM New commenter

    I have operated a one hour per week after school Year 11 A*/A class in the run-up to exams for the past six years. It has improved our sixth form recruitment (particularly for FM).
     
  17. Saturday morning chat groups have worked well for us recently

    We have opened up the library for the Saturday morning before the exam and provided PCs (MyMaths), Exam Papers, Chance to work together, Opportunity for small groups to go into a classroom with one of the teachers
    Kids have found it really useful
     
  18. Not necessarily

    We found drop in taught sessions after schools were like this ... but the Saturday morning things worked with a wider spectrum
     
  19. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Mathswatch CDs. We don't give them away. We sell them to parents at Parents' Evenings. This isn't just due to budget constrainsts. We want the parents to be aware that they have bought something to help with revision so they promote it's use.
    Feedback from students is consistently positive. They much prefer these to mymaths which each subsequent generation seems to like less and less. Not sure why - it seems a shame to me.
    (DM - what are you drinking and are you sharing?)
     
  20. DM

    DM New commenter

    Prism. What else?
     

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