Revision in lessons: how can we help students to learn effectively?

I believe that within lessons, revision should be a regular and integral part of many of our lesson activities. The benefits are:

  • They are making valuable links between topics already studied and current work.
  • They can experiment with different revision methods (we can introduce them to different techniques).
  • We can help pupils to break down the content into the most important aspects.
  • We help them to practise using their short-term memory which can then help them to develop their longer term memory.

Within the tutorial programme, we have all led sessions based around revision but I am still aware that a lot of pupils simply don’t know how to revise; they are good at making notes but then this is often the end of the process.

A few simple activities that we can incorporate into lessons to help pupils revise the content:

  • Ask pupils to write their own exam questions; you can allow them to use notes, or you could use a prep session to revise a particular topic which these questions are then focused on.
  • Ask pupils to write down as much as they can remember about a particular topic/key figure/concept/play etc. on a blank piece of paper. After a specified amount of time, they should speak to peers and add to their notes any points that they have missed out, using a different colour. You can specify how many extra facts they should add. They then have time to read, look back at classwork, discuss and re-write this detail again, before being given another blank paper, and asked to write down what they remember once again. This activity will introduce them to a number of different revision methods that can be discussed/analysed afterwards.
  • Ask pupils to create a glossary of key words that relate to a past topic (give them a specific number to come up with) – collate these as a class and all pupils should come to a decision about the words that are the most important/relevant.


The next TeachMeet (Friday 1st December) will focus on different methods to easily incorporate revision into lessons.

Please do add any comments or questions to the T&L blog…and of course, any ideas you have to help students learn more effectively.

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