Today Paul and Jen took us through their strategies with exam classes, central to this being the consistent immersion in the processes, content and questioning for the courses our students take.
These strategies align with other innovative approaches to give variety to lessons, but underpinning this is the consistency of preparation, and building the habit of reflection on exam processes.
Exam skills and questions
It’s all about the preparation, so starting early with the skills is an aid to success.
- Baby steps at KS3 – mark schemes, terminology and exam-style questions and exam-appropriate language
- Exam question practice and revision books
- Simple mark schemes that describe what is needed to achieve a certain mark
- Student version of the mark scheme – they make their own, and/or we provide them
- Sentence-starter practice kits: Aiming for a C for borderline students & Aiming for A* with stronger students. Get all students to compare requirements to move students on above their targets
- Practise , Practise, Practise
- Assessment cover sheet for every essay, outlining key criteria, and where the students got to in their work
- Immerse them some more with exam question Hooks and Homeworks.
- Teach with grade boundaries and question styles, so students are constantly engaging with how they will be assessed in the real thing.
- Regularity – homework can be a real back-up for exam practice, and use the tricky timetabled lesson (after lunch anyone?) for exam-question-time. Make this a regular thing, as well as end of unit assessments.
- Log it all on Go4schools and get students and parents engaged with this.
In discussing all these strategies, what came through was…
Don’t leave anything to chance, teach the exam from Day 1.