Richard Michael, Education Consultant

Don’t panic! Top exam preparation tips for time-stretched teachers

Those dreaded GCSEs and A Levels are upon us. Help yourself - and your students -  with these surefire tips to keep everyone relaxed and on top of their game at exam time.

We spend a lot of time talking to teachers and educators here at Texthelp. One of the topics that crops up most regularly is helping school and college students prepare for exams. Here we’ve rounded up five of our favourite exam preparation tips for teachers. Share them with your colleagues - and don’t forget to tell us about your own favourite hints for coping with exam time overload.


1 Plan ahead and be organised

It’s about pacing yourself - so make sure you’ve got your schedule mapped out well in advance. Events in and out of school can have an impact on how much teaching time you’ve got left, so factor these into your calendar. Those precious weeks can rush by, so plan ahead to avoid any last minute upsets.

2 Coach key exam skills

Spend time helping students interpret key words like ‘discuss’ or ‘compare’. Understanding how to tackle these kinds of questions will help pupils demonstrate their knowledge of a topic to best effect. Teaching students how to allocate their time in the exam room is vital… for example by planning longer answers, and tackling easier questions first that they can answer with confidence. And above all it comes back to that age-old advice to READ EVERY QUESTION VERY CAREFULLY.

3 Keep everyone in the picture

Make sure all your students know their exam timetable. Think about displaying timetables in a visual format around the school. You should also email digital copies to students, and engage with parents to make sure they know the timetable too.

4 Make good use of technology

The web’s opened up a whole world of content to help with revision, and for today’s tech-native students their digital devices can be a much more engaging platform than books and study sheets. Ask your students to produce a mind map of key themes, or record MP3 files covering topics they have studied for on-the-go listening. All these techniques can help consolidate their knowledge.

5 Plan early for access arrangements

If your students are using assistive technology as part of their access arrangements, make sure that students and staff have had ample opportunity to practice before the exam. Co-ordinate with IT and SEN staff well in advance, and with invigilators on the day.

Do you have any other great tips you can share below?


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