Lower School parents prep for exam season

If the world has changed considerably during the past three decades, so too has the received wisdom about optimal preparation for the exam season that was, and still is, a looming feature in every pupil’s academic year.

Approaches to revision have altered significantly since many of today’s UCS parents were at school, in view of the educational research conducted over the past 30 years. As a result, pupils learn different techniques at various junctures during their Lower School careers. It was to keep the parents of the Year 8 cohort fully informed about these developments that UCS staged a Shell Parents’ PSHE Evening on 21st March.

The event took place in a Senior School lecture theatre and the Sixth Form Centre, and provided key insights into how UCS teaching staff organise assessments and, more importantly, how teachers help pupils to revise and prepare for exams. The speakers included Patrick Milton (Director of Teaching and Learning), Darius Bluck (Head of PSHE) and Bimba Kumarasinghe (Director of Wellbeing). Members of the current Year 9, aka Lower Remove, also reflected on their experiences of doing assessments last year.

With assessments approaching on the horizon, staff talked to parents about the current techniques in order that they can better support their children at home. Together, they also explored how to structure revision sessions and the five-week build-up to the assessment week. “We want our pupils to feel reassured by the process and confident enough to experiment with different revision techniques during the revision process,” explained Edd Roberts, Assistant Head (Head of Lower School).

The techniques discussed are summarised in a brilliant Revision Toolkit produced by Mr Milton along with colleagues Katie Matthews and Sophie Bennett. This covers evidence-based strategies based on the principle that one of the most effective ways to revise is through practice recall – the process of bringing information to mind without the help of notes.

The aim of the evening was to help parents to take the sting out of exams, and avoid pupils/children feeling overwhelmed. Ms Kumarasinghe commented: “We were excited to share with our parents strategies about how best to support their children as they enter their upcoming assessments. I think we achieved that and it was a very productive evening.”

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