Here’s a sure-fire way to get children on the road to independent learning: stop doing the planning for them, and instead, let them take the lead. To give children a sense of ownership over the exam revision process, here are some questions that parents can ask:
- What is the grade you’re currently getting?
- Are you happy with this grade?
- If not, what is a grade that will make you happy or satisfied? (This may be an area for negotiation between parent and child; however, the rationale for attaining the grade, such as to make it into a better class or school, must be clear and convincing to the child.)
- Instead of an ideal score, is there another goal you would like to achieve? (E.g. improving the score in a specific section of a paper, or improving on a specific skill?)
Assessing Strengths & Weaknesses
- For each subject, which topics did you enjoy learning?
- Which topics did you find difficult?
- For tests that you’ve taken, which sections do you find easy?
- Which sections do you find difficult, or where do you lose the most points?
- How can you perform better in those sections?
- Is there a scoring rubric that you can refer to?
- If you are not sure how to improve your grade, is there someone whom you can ask for help?
- What are the questions that you can ask this person, so that you can get useful advice?
- What are the careless mistakes that you tend to make?
Defining A Revision Strategy
- From now till the exams, which are the days available for revision?
- How much time can you spare for revision on each of these days?
- How will you revise for each subject? (E.g. Reading, reviewing, and/or practising sample questions?)
- What/how many subjects/topics will you cover each day?
- How much time will you spend on each revision activity?
- How will you review what you have read? (E.g. Ask yourself questions, explain concepts to someone else, or practise sample questions?)
- If you are practising questions, how many questions will you target to complete?
- Would you prefer to mark the answers yourself?
- Who will you consult if you are stuck on a problem, or need help to understand an answer?
- How will you refresh your memory on what you’ve revised, to make sure you remember as much as possible? (E.g. Schedule a review session at the end of each week, use learning tools such as flashcard apps to generate tests, or devote the week before the exams to reviewing all the materials you’ve covered?)
- Would you prefer to work on practice papers or an assessment book?
Together with your child, mark the revision days on a calendar, and make a written list of the revision activities and work targets that you’ve discussed and agreed upon, as well as the approximate time allocated for each activity. For each week, designate one or two days for catching up on unfinished work, and more important, set aside time for play and rest.