The importance of last minute revision

The importance of last minute revision

Why should we do last minute revision?
As we approach the final half term of the year, our thoughts turn to the good weather we hope to have, and our camping expeditions or holidays – some of which we booked months ago – that can now finally be enjoyed.
Children have worked hard all year long at school and have certainly earned a rest. However, the summer holidays also bring the well-known phenomenon of “summer learning loss”.

You can read our previous blog about this issue here, but it’s particularly important for those that are going to sit the 11+ in September.

We describe in our blog about how it’s actually a well-known phenomenon and the subject of much research among academics. It’s one of the reasons, for example, that the Institute for Policy Research recommended that summer holidays be shortened.
The 11+

With regard to the 11+, last minute preparation is crucial to make sure that the last few months’ work is truly consolidated.

There is never enough time to learn all the vocabulary needed, so much of the 11+ preparation work centers around learning new words, including antonyms and synonyms, as well as becoming used to the types of papers that you might be expected to see come September. The fresher these are in the mind, the better.

It’s why we always run summer courses, even for those that have attended courses with us all year round.

Without further ado, here are our five tips to help your child avoid the summer learning loss in time for the 11+ test in September.

Learning tips

1. Words and meaning
Commit to learning five new words, and understanding their meanings, every day. That also includes learning their antonyms. There are a couple of great reference books that you can use: 11 plus vocabulary by Rose McGowan, and Synonyms and Antonyms for the CEM style 11+ by Christine R. Draper. There is never enough time to learn vocabulary and both the books make it more fun.

2. Maths – Practice, practice, practice
Solid bedrocks for the maths part of the exam are knowing the times tables off by heart as well as the four operations (+, –, /, X). There are lots of resources out there, finding a practice book with timing, for example a test style book with a ten-minute timer, and making it part of the routine every single day is a good start.

3. Speed and accuracy
Whilst practising papers is useful, these should not be used as revision practice. All the papers are very different, so practicing core skills such as spelling, comprehension and times tables is critical. What can be useful with past papers, especially if you haven’t done this so far, is practicing answering questions with speed – and accuracy. Answering a question correctly within a time limit is a skill in itself!

4. Play
There are ways to weave in continued literacy and mathematical learning while having some downtime, quite easily. Think games like Scrabble and Boggle, or Yahtzee, which all contribute to vocabulary or maths skills.

5. Keep calm
Children under too much pressure at exam time will not do as well as those that are relaxed and confident. As the exam approaches, acknowledge that you have both done all you can, and that keeping calm under the pressure of the exam is the only thing that matters now!

If you’d like to know more about our summer revision courses, please get in touch on 01494 773300 or email

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