Maths GCSE Revision Tips

Draw up a list

Before you start revising, get all your notes sorted. Draw up a list of all the topics you need to cover before you begin.

Plan your revision

Plan exactly when you are going to revise, and be strict with yourself. Don’t revise all day. Revise in small chunks and take regular breaks. Make sure you do some form of exercise, even if it is just going for a walk.

Reward yourself

Give yourself little treats and things to look forward to. If you do a good day of revision, take the night off, watch some T.V, go and see your friends. Buy yourself some chocolate, but only let yourself eat it once you have achieved what you need to do.

Complete Maths questions

Don’t just read through the textbook! The only way to revise Maths is to do Maths. You will do much better spending 20 minutes doing Maths questions than spending two hours just reading a textbook. The more questions you do yourself, the more you will get right. This will boost your confidence meaning you will enjoy your revision more and do better in the exam.

Use the internet

There are websites that can set you questions and mark them for you. They take you through solving certain topics step-by-step. Use Spark Vids and BBC Bitesize Revision.

Don’t just practice the topics you can do

Keep working your way through the topics that you struggle with because it is much better to struggle on them at home, when you have time on your side and the answers available, than it is to struggle in the exam.

Make sure you ask for help

If you are stuck on a topic or a question, ask one of the people from your class, your teacher, Spark Academy tutor, or someone at home.

Practice doing questions under exam conditions

Get someone to pick you a set of questions from your textbook, or get some from a Maths website, and try doing them in silence, with no help, for a fixed amount of time. This will get you used to what it will be like in the exam, how fast you need to go, and is the best way of checking that you really understand a topic.

Practice using your calculator

Many people seem to assume that any question that lets you use a calculator is easy, and all calculators work the same. All calculators work differently, and unless you have used yours for lots of different types of questions you might not know how to use them in the exam. Find out if there are any problems early enough to correct them!

Revise with a friend

If it works for you, try revising with a friend for a bit of the time. You will find that one of you understands one topic more, whilst the other is a bit of an expert on another. Just by explaining things to a friend, you will find that your understanding increases, and likewise you might learn a different way of thinking about and understanding a topic.

Try not to worry

A little worry is not a bad thing as it keeps you focused, but revision certainly shouldn’t be a stressful time. It should be a time where your brain gets chance to sort all the information it has been bombarded with and make sense of everything.

 

Good luck with your revision. Please ask for help if you need it.

-Katherine Wallis

Science of learning

Key research

 

At Spark Academy, we are passionate about understanding new research and developments in the world of education. One area that is coming to the forefront is known as the ‘Science of learning.’

Science of learning is a relatively new field of research. It brings together research from neuroscience, psychology, education and other research disciplines to bridge the gap. During my time as a teacher, I have seen many new initiatives become implemented into teaching practice. That is until the next new thing come along and usurps the previous model of teaching.

However many of these initiatives were based on neuromyths. For example, it was thought that individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). Yet there were never any clear implications for pedagogy arising from existing models of learning styles.

 

The Spark approach

 

The new field of research is mainly concerned with looking at how our brains work. From this, we can develop teaching methods that maximise learning by using this knowledge. The brain is multi-sensory so learning benefits from a multiple sensory delivery. How many times have you heard a song that reminds you of a specific event from your past? Or a certain scent takes you back to a happy memory?

 

Is it possible to maximise learning by engaging all of our senses?

 

One idea that we are going to be investigating is having a specific ‘Spark’ scent. This will be used in classrooms to help invigorate student brains and hopefully allow more links to be made during their learning journey.

One statement that is reiterated a lot throughout this research, is that our brains are plastic. We are responsible for allowing our brains to grow and therefore store information. This includes reading a book that isn’t on the English syllabus or visiting a museum that holds an array of historic artefacts.  It is common practice in education to give students labels, however what the research is showing is that the brain can still develop to store the information required, it may just be at a slower rate. What it also shows is that these labels can restrict the learning of the students who have been labelled, for example, with dyslexia. They become dependent on their label as a reason for not achieving something and yet their brains are just as plastic as the next student.

Our mission at Spark Academy is to develop young people that are resilient and independent learners. We will continue to research the workings of the brain and implement changes to our teaching. These new strategies will see us help students to think for themselves, not be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them and in short, be the best version of themselves they can be.

A Parent’s Guide to Year 6 SAT’s 

Here is some important information about the Year 6 SAT’s. They will be starting on 13th of May 2019 until Thursday 16th of May 2019. 

Below is the timetable of when your child will be sitting each SAT. 

There are no tests on the Friday of that week.  

 

Monday 

The children will need to complete the Grammar, Punctuation and Vocabulary Test. It includes a range of question types, including questions where children must tick a box or circle particular word types. Later questions are more challenging, such as having to tick within a box of suggested answers. This test takes 45 mins and is worth 50 marks.

The second test on Monday will be the Spelling Test. In this test there are some sentences read to students and they must write the correct spelling into the gap. This test takes 15 mins and is worth 20 marks.  

 

Tuesday 

The children will sit the Reading Test that lasts for 60 mins and is worth 50 marks. They will get a reading booklet that consists of different texts including fiction and non-fiction. The test includes different types of questions such as having to investigate the text to find and copy a word. There may be questions where they must talk about the language choice of the author and where they have to tick true or false, or tick one particular statement.  

Wednesday 

The first maths test is taken on this day starting with the Arithmetic test (calculations without a context). The children need to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes. These range from simple arithmetic which can be done mentally, to calculations with fractions and later calculations that require the column methods. For some questions there are 2 marks available, so the children get 1 mark for the working out even though the final answer is incorrect.  

 

Wednesday and Thursday 

Children also need to complete Reasoning Paper 2 and 3 on these days. They each last 40 mins and are worth 35 marks. These problems and presented in a context and start off easier, getting gradually harder. These require more detailed calculations. Again, method marks are available, this means if children have carried out the method correctly, but the final answer is not accurate then they would get 1 mark.  

 

Reporting Results 

At the end of the test week the papers are marked externally and returned to schools in early July. Results are presented using a scaled score between 80 and 120. 100 represents the new expected standard for 11-year olds. Results of the test are reported back to parents at the end of the academic year, showing both the scaled score and whether the child has met the expected standard. In addition, teachers will make a separate teacher assessment.  

Remember to Relax 

As a parent you can support your child by making sure they are not worried about the tests and to help them put their minds at rest. We want your child to do their best of course but we don’t want them to be panicking. If you do have any worries be sure to ask your child’s class teacher or myself (Celia – Primary Specialist) here at Spark Academy.