If there is one thing that many of my of my most academically able students struggle with, it’s the idea of revision.
Revision feels alien to many for two reasons, firstly it means going over and over something that you have already done, and secondly it brings with it the added pressure of the expectation that most revision occurs at home.
Add to this the anxiety about impending exams, which in themselves mean dealing with unexpected and handling change and it isn’t surprising that most would rather do anything other than revise.
So what can we do to make the process more manageable?
Think About Their Learning Style
Do they prefer to read or listen? Given a choice would they draw or watch a video? Taking their learning style into account and coming up with different ways of demonstrate their knowledge using methods they enjoy is far more likely to encourage them to explore it.
iMovie is currently the app of choice in our house, and the opportunities it offers is endless. Why not encourage your child to make an iMovie trailer about the topic they need to revise. The app provides the structure, meaning that they only need to think about the content. Once they have made a video about the topic they can watch it repeatedly until they feel confident about the information.
Get out the index cards
For visual learners index cards can be a great choice. Encourage young people to fill them with written notes or diagrams and organise them in different areas of the house. Picturing the area of the house where the index cards were displayed will help them to recall the information on them.
Use the voice record feature
Recording their own notes and playing it through headphones on a phone or tablet can really help some young people to focus on learning. Perfect for kinaesthetic learners who benefit from movement whilst learning and for listening to in a dark room for those who need to only focus on one thing thing to retain information.
Rearrange post it notes
Actively moving different parts of a sequence can make a difference to some young people. Looking at a List is often not enough to enable a young person to memorise it. Physically moving and sticking the post it notes into the right order can help both with making the revision process more interesting and with remembering the information.
Make them the expert
Asking a young person to test you on the information can really help make revision a more interesting prospect. It can also help to really reduce the pressure that they would feel if you reversed things by testing them. They can keep out their notes or text books and devise questions to test your knowledge – improving their own by checking to see if you have the right answer.
Make Trading Cards
Top Trumps style trading cards can be a great way to learn facts and figures in a bid to stay on top of the game. Perfect for young people who love to draw or to learn through games, this is a revision style guaranteed to bring hours of fun. Why not check out our video for inspiration:
Cut up exam style questions
The very sight of a full exam paper can be enough to get anxiety levels spiralling, yet for many young people with autism practicing the wording of the questions is key. Cutting up papers and putting individual questions into a jar, then selecting one to answer each time they feel up to it can be a great way to both reduce anxiety about the papers themselves and to practice the question style.
Practice making a mark scheme
Many young people struggle to work out the level of detail that questions are looking for. Giving them a piece of text about their special interest and asking them to create a set of questions based on it and a mark scheme to go with those questions can be a great way of teaching the skill. Students will be engaged by the subject matter, less anxious than when they are put on the spot in an exam and will be able to start to understand how an examiner thinks. For those students who struggle to write the level of detail required this can make a huge difference.
If you have other strategies that work well for your child or your students, please do add them below or pop them onto our Facebook page.
If you do want to learn more you might find our autism section a useful place to start. It’s full of different strategies to try out.
Why not join our private Facebook Group, which brings parents and teachers of children on the spectrum together to discuss strategies to help at home and at school.
Or if you’re looking for more personal support, why not check out our Consultancy Services.
If you join our tribe at the bottom of the post, you’ll receive a weekly email containing autism strategies and resources straight to your inbox.
And of course if I can be of any help then please just shout (or drop me an email).