Updated: Jun 19
We are coming into exam season now and your attention is turning to your child and how they need to prepare for them. The key issues are that they don't know how to revise and they haven't found effective strategies that help them remember facts.
Our programme ' Improve Your Exam Results' teaches effective strategies so that students know how to make their learning stick to get the exam and test results they deserve. Learn more about our programme here.
What does revision mean?
Revision is basically just going back over what you have learnt already. To be able to revise effectively, your child needs to have their school books to hand so that they can go over the work that they have done.
I know a lot of dyslexic children don't have all the information in their books; if this is the case for your child, then you need to contact the teachers and ask for the gaps to be filled in. They should be able to provide handouts on the areas your child needs to revise for that subject.
Other ways to obtain the information are from revision books on that subject, You Tube videos and websites such as BBC bitesize - so don't
panic if your child's books are incomplete but do get started on this straight away.
How Should My Child Revise?
A lot of parents say that their child doesn't know how to revise. There is no one 'right way' to revise and getting this part right has a lot to do with knowing which strategies are effective for dyslexic students.
I often find that students only know one way to revise and they stick with this, even though it may not give them the results they want. Many students take to reading their notes or watching You Tube videos - this is what we call passive revision. The key problem with passive revision is that you don't actually take anything in!
To make revision effective, it has to be active. This means that you are doing more than just reading, you may have a set of questions in front of you or you make notes as you read back through your books. A good idea is to have past paper questions and work through these so that your child can see where the gaps are in their knowledge.
Next is the sticky problem of how to get that learning into long term memory. This requires effective strategies, which in my experience, are not taught at school and many dyslexic students have no idea how to make their learning stick.
Our programme, 'Improve Your Exam Results' teaches effective strategies for getting information to stick in your child's long term memory and helps them to retrieve it too for exams. If you would like to know more about this programme click here or contact me.
This programme has been rated 5 stars.
When Should My Child Start Revising?
Dyslexic students take longer to learn their subjects than other students in their class ( which is unfair but a fact unfortunately). Therefore, they do have to start revising earlier than others.
I would suggest that your child goes over what they have learnt that day at the end of each day as a gentle way of reminding themselves what they have learnt. They should also review what has been learnt often - for example every week look at what has been covered that week and check their understanding ( perhaps by completing a question about it).
By doing this, they are keeping up their familiarity with the subject and addressing the parts they don't know/can't remember or understand each week. This will help to cut down on revision in the run up to exams as they will already have repeated their learning many times which helps to store it in their long term memory.
As exams come closer ( about 2-3 months before) then stepping up revision, using techniques that we teach in our programme, will ensure that revision is active and that your child's learning is stored in different parts of their brain, making information retrieval easier in exams and tests.
Change Where They Revise
I think we are all conditioned to sit down at a desk and revise in one place - this was definitely the advice for a long time. However, it has been shown that your child can learn by varying up the places they revise in.
So, if your child likes to move around, let them; if they want to go to a coffee shop to revise for a short time, let them. Perhaps the sofa is the perfect place for them, combined with some time at a table. It has also been shown that having classical music playing softly in the background can help with concentration.
In summary, revision is just going back over lessons that you have already done, so that you can show what you know in an exam. There are many different ways to revise which our programme 'Improve Your Exam Results' explores- learn more about this here.
Use what works and ditch what doesn't - just reading notes or watching videos is one to ditch!
Lastly, make revision active and not a passive activity and vary where your child revises if possible.
If you would like free tips and advice about how to help your dyslexic child, please join my Free Facebook group here.