Saturday, 16 April 2011


Hello Upper and Lower sixth!

It may be Easter, but you guys have a main priority for your weeks off. Revision, and lots of it, I know some of you seemed to think I was joking, but in order to achieve the grades you want, you need to approach this week as though you were still at college, and working every day.

As a bare minimum, in college time, you spend 4 hours and 40 minutes in lessons, and you should be spending around 3/4 hours doing your extra reading, as recommended to you since the start of the year. So, per subject, depending on if you are upper or lower sixth, you should plan to spend either 7 hours 40 min, or 8 hours 40 min per subject this week.

So, if you are doing four subjects at AS, this week you should try to timetable 30 hours and 40 minutes
and, if you are doing three subjects at A2, you should timetable 25 hours 40 minutes revising.

Sound like a lot? In comparison to the world of work, you have a 37.5 hour day week for an average job, and for nearly everyone, a job is the main aim of studying! So, now is the time to work, and for some of you, this comes easily, for others, it takes a bit of practise. The thing you want to avoid most, is not doing everything you can now to get your results, and that means you taking control of your own learning by following a few simple suggestions, this is by no means a set of instructions, but will hopefully help you to get started:

  1. Know what you have to revise: start by making a list of all your subjects, and the modules within them, break it down to subtopics that would take you about half an hour to revise (ie, river management, landforms, population pyramids or volcano types)
  2. Plan your time: no-one is going to work all day, all evening and weekends. Look at your week off, write out a list of days, and work out what times you already have plans, and block that time out. Be realistic, give yourself some time out to relax, like a weekend, it is important you recover from the demands of term time. However, you need to weigh up how much time is sensible to take out, and commit to a reasonable number of hours per day.
  3. Targets: use your list of modules and your time table to set your self goals. Don't make them unrealistic, that is demotivating, but use your half hour long subtopics to fill up the time. If you cant fit all the topics into this week, consider working at different times, i.e. evenings, and use the next bank holiday weekend (Unless you are planning to watch the Royal Wedding!)
  4. Get on with it: we all do the same thing, starting off is really difficult, but you have to do it. There is no way around this, but when I have to work, I can find almost anything to distract myself, suddenly the house needs cleaning, floors need scrubbing, if it gets really bad I decide to go running! Then, only once I've run out of every other possible thing to do, do I start work. This is bad, learn from my mistakes! The way to deal with revision apathy is to start small, ten minutes, stop for a drink, 15 minutes, stop for a snack, etc, build it up so you learn to focus for longer and longer periods of time.
  5. Celebrate: Achieving your goals is motivating, and rewarding, if you have done something right, reward yourself with something you like, and herein lies a lesson, have stuff around that makes a suitable reward, for me, it is expensive Ice cream, homemade cakes (no surprises there and they are normally made during my "do anything but work" phase) but make sure there is a light at the end of the revision tunnel (besides great results).

So, there are my tips on how to get started and how to revise, once you get going, it becomes a lot easier, especially once you find the place where you can work, for me, the public library was the saviour of my A-Levels, they have little private rooms you can work in, and a big table you can spread out on, and it is dead quiet (It is a rare person who actually takes in lots of information whilst watching TV or listening to music).

So, the question many of you have asked me, when i have suggested you spend 5-7 hours a day revising, is how do I know. Firstly, the geography team has seen a lot of students, with a lot of different styles come through Huish, and those that base themselves in a classroom and do the work, do much better. Those who make notes, revision cards etc do better (you are covering more ways in which your brain absorbs information - hearing, seeing, writing, speaking all work).

Secondly, on a more personal level, I revised in a similar way to that described above, it was not perfect, but I did work nearly every day, a couple of hours in the evenings after college. It worked, I don't think I could have worked any harder, and I got the grades I wanted to do the course I really wanted, and I now have a job I really enjoy, and for all of you, that starts with you getting good grades this summer.

So, in terms of what I can do to help you, later on there will be a list of subtopics for the modules we do at Huish, there are websites that have resources such as has most PP and geofiles on it, and the FB page is an ideal location for questions, there is a new discussion set up for each year group for you to ask any questions you have.

Remember, there are plenty of resources and help out there, but at the end of the day, a lot of this comes down to you. Help yourself by starting your revision sooner, rather than later, and making it effective.

Hope this helps!


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