Home Forums Exams and revision Using VCE exam revision weeks to maximum effect

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  • timothy.friel
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    Post count: 1

    Hi all,

    I’m a first-year teacher in regional VIC and am the only Physics teacher in my school. We have the first two and a half weeks of term 4 (essentially 7 x 96 minute lessons and 2 x 48 minute lessons) set aside to assist students in preparing for the VCE external exam.

    I’m keen to have some ideas on strategies / approaches / techniques that other teachers use for revision time? What are the priorities for students to have sorted during this face-to-face time?

    Thanks!

    Anne McKinnon
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    Very important that students work through practice exams with the VCAA formula sheet and their double-sided A4 sheet of notes next to them so that they work out what would be useful to have on their notes and get used to finding information quickly.

    Colin Hopkins
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Hi Tim,
    My experience is that there are two components to revision. The first is content based, the second is process based. Students need to review all the content by doing past exam paper questions. The process is developed by completing papers under exam style conditions, which includes use of reading time, cheat sheet, VCAA formula sheet. Students need to identify what they know, and what they don’t know. Improvement comes from working on the areas that you don’t know, not by repeating content that you already understand.
    I would recommend that you that you don’t particularly wait for next term, try to start this process as early as possible, preferably this term. Set the students some revision on content over the term break. If possible get them to come in over the break and do the first paper. My suggestion is that you start the revision process by doing the 2017 exam, if possible in one sitting, by hopefully doing it during lunchtime and your adjoining class time. Correct it for the students and identify the areas of weakness. Set more problems for each student to address these. A week later set another exam to be done under exam conditions. Again correct and return with specific follow up questions. I would repeat this in the last week of schooling. Once the students have left for swot-vac, they can continue to complete papers and correct them themselves. Be very mindful that when self-correcting, we always mark ‘what we meant to say’, whereas the examiner marks ‘what is said’. These are often quite different.
    I find that students need very speedy turnaround times on completing an exam and getting it corrected and returned. I would always plan it so that the turnaround time was as small as possible (preferably overnight). This commitment by you never goes unnoticed by the students, and you often get more effort from them. Go through the mistakes each student makes individually if possible and then set them remedial work to do.
    My experience was that some students got lost when left to organise their time effectively. If this applies to your students, spend some time working out a home study timetable with them. Make sure it is achievable for the student.
    For me the priority was to get the students to be able to monitor their understanding and make continual improvement. I would leave the 2021 exam and the 2022 NHT paper until late in the process, as these are the closest that you will get to the 2022 paper. Get the students to complete these under exam conditions and if possible mark them for the students. It is important that students get as much work done as possible before they actually leave school, because once the leave they tend to focus on the ‘next’ exam to the detriment of the others. Experience is that leaving it all until just before the actual exam is not effective, as students struggle to absorb new knowledge so late in the year. There is a tipping point for students, where trying to understand material turns into putting information on the cheat sheet to use instead of understanding. Initially the aim is to understand the content, but eventually time runs out for this.

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