‘Revision – What Revision?’

It is exam results week and teachers all over England will be picking through the remnants of their students’ results – their successes and failures. My thoughts come to one of the mainstay strategies that correlate with exam success. That dull and nagging pain: revision.

We know that a world of knowledge is now within reach of almost all students – a mere click and scroll away. Access to revision materials has never been easier. Teachers and schools are producing revision packs, Twitter accounts, Google Docs, parent workshops, revision blogs and special revision days and even more. All with the whole-hearted intent of getting students revising better.

But, crucially, are they getting any better at revision? Or are we simply trying to convince ourselves that our hard work is paying off?

A steady trickle of valuable research has emerged about the most effective revision strategies. Researchers, like Dunlovsky et al., have summarised the best of what is known from cognitive science research – see here. But is this information penetrating the classroom door, and even more importantly, do the students, know, understand and believe this stuff? Back away from the highlighters and stop re-reading you can hear me cry!

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