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‘Tis the season: revision solutions with a difference

It’s that time of year again – revision season. A period when students are faced with the overwhelming task of delving back into notes from the entire term. Months’ worth of learning has been sprawled across pages and post-its leaving many at a loss for where to begin at this crucial time in their education. Enter audio-visual resources; they can truly help students to kick-start their revision and support them throughout.



The word ‘revision’ brings a rather simple process of looking over old work to mind. Studies have found, however, that revision is most effective when revising is combined with reinforcing. Students benefit significantly from new materials that revisit what they have already learnt. These resources build on their knowledge and deepen their understanding of the topic.

Let’s take English Literature as an example. Months of studying the intricate details of a text such as Pride and Prejudice can cause students to lose sight of the text as a whole. Perhaps they can produce some interesting comments on the language techniques in a specific sentence, but what about the plot or the over-arching themes? Re-reading endless pages of notes from class or the novel itself are hardly quick ways to jog their memories when time is of the essence.

Audio-visual resources are ideal for students at this point in their revision as they can tackle the same topics found in their notes in a far more succinct way. This BBC World Service recording is just 28 minutes long and analyses the key themes in Pride and Prejudice. Any student listening to it will be efficiently reminded of what they already know and the new perspective will help them to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the text: Pride and Prejudice


Identifying Gaps in Knowledge

Students are bound to feel as though they have endless exams to revise for, so beginning with areas that need improvement will help them to feel more focused and organised. Subjects such as geography cover a wide range of complex topics, making flicking through notes and text books to identify gaps in knowledge a time-consuming affair.

The succinct nature of audio-visual resources makes them perfect for planning a revision strategy. This short clip from BBC Bitesize outlines the various river processes that GCSE students are required to know. The brief descriptions of each process will help students to quickly establish areas they don’t understand as well and ought to focus on: River Processes

Students could also return to the video when reaching the end of their revision and working on remembering the facts. In their study on educational media, Wiman and Meierhenry concluded that we tend to remember 10% of what we read and as much as 50% of what we hear and see together. Short summary videos are therefore an excellent alternative for students who are tired of bullet points and index cards.


Productive Breaks

It’s common knowledge that taking regular breaks is important for helping your brain to keep up the good work. Exercise is often listed under the top revision tips, but students may not feel as though they are using their valuable revision time wisely when going for a run.

Audio-visual resources allow students to sit back and put the pens down for a moment. With the wealth of resources available from the likes of the BBC and Channel 4, they will have no trouble finding a programme relevant to their topic which allows them to relax and feel productive at the same time.

Resistance, a French drama from Channel 4’s Walter Presents, is a fantastic example. Not only does it immerse the viewer in the French language, but it is also an extremely relevant topic for anybody studying the French resistance at A-Level: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/resistance