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Exam busters

Exam busters
Jay Shirley.
Tuesday 21st April 2009 by C. Freeman
Year 11 students who are due to sit their GCSE exams this summer got valuable revision tips during an energetic presentation by Positively MAD, an educational training company.

Trainer, Jay Shirley took the students through a range of study skills, memory techniques and revision hints during the 'Exam-Busters' session, the follow-up to a presentation which took place in February. As well as the two-and-a-half hour student workshop, Jay also ran a 45-minute session for parents, taking them through the recall process and the dos and don'ts of revision so that they can support their child's learning at home.

Jay said: 'Previously with the students we did study skills when we looked at mind maps whereas today we looked at memory techniques. I showed them how they can remember things for their exams by creating a mental image using a familiar place, like their bedroom.'

This technique of linking a concept to an actual physical location is used by world memory champions and is an effective way to recall a string of facts. During the sessions Jay got the students to remember the 19 countries of NATO using symbols which they mentally 'placed' around the lecture theatre. For instance a church bell represented Belgium while a red maple leaf helped them to remember Canada.

Jay also ran through revision techniques, which mean that students revise for half an hour, take a five minute break then re-read the previous information briefly before studying something new. This cumulative approach means that information is far more likely to be absorbed and then recalled when needed. He also recommends that students do a quick mental review of what they have been studying before they go to bed and again when they wake up the next morning, just to reinforce the main facts.

He said: 'Key revision techniques include planning and not panicking … these memory and mind mapping techniques are very important because the students can use them at home and build on them as they go along. The idea is showing them that the more times they go over what they have learned then the easier it is to remember.'

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