Revision Techniques and Memory Clock

Effective Revision Techniques and Memory Clock Author Laura Maberley

Effective revision techniques are an essential aspect of learning for all students. At Sandringham School we believe in applying the latest and most robust research evidence, in order to develop techniques that best support our learners. Rereading, highlighting and summarising long pieces of text are traditionally some of the most popular revision techniques used by students. However, evidence suggests that they have very little impact on learning and retention. Professional development for teaching staff and student-led sessions are regularly used to communicate some of the more effective strategies.

One such strategy is regularly carrying out practice testing, such as low-stakes quizzes and cumulative examinations. These work best when they are distributed, and the topics are interleaved. This gives students time to forget knowledge and then practice recalling information. Students are also encouraged to elaborate on concepts, for example by asking ‘why?’ questions, and using self-explanation in order to further their understanding of a subject and improve their knowledge retention.

These strategies have been incorporated into the student-friendly tool that is the Sandringham Memory Clock. It is our recommendation of how students should spend a typical hour of revision and includes time for reviewing content, practising retrieval and then checking their work to provide instant feedback on their performance. Teaching staff are continuing to produce a bank of revision resources that use the Memory Clock, guidance on how to use the clock has been shared with parents of exam classes and, perhaps most importantly, our students are learning how to use it and create resources for themselves. It is this metacognition, students thinking about their own learning, that we think will allow students to improve their exam performance and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need for the future.

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