Why are the Easter Revision courses so popular? Are the courses right for you?
Easter Revision (ER) at MPW becomes more popular every year, with increasing numbers of students opting to gain some additional help with their preparations for the summer examinations. Why are the courses so popular and is Easter Revision right for you? In this article, we will discuss the reasons why so many students are choosing to enrol onto Easter Revision courses, as well as explaining more about the structure of the courses and the way in which they are organised, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not they would suit you.
We will cover the following topics:
- How to revise at Easter
- Revising alone or getting help from an ER provider
- Why is Easter Revision so important?
- How are Easter Revision courses organised?
- What next?
Students can either prepare on their own for their examinations or opt to take an Easter Revision course run by a school or college to help them. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches and at the end of the day it is important that you choose the right method for you.
Revising alone works best for motivated, independent learners who have a firm understanding of their progress so far and what needs to be done. Our 7 tips for revision success can help you get started if you are planning to revise alone. Working alone suits students who find the pace of the classroom difficult: if you find that it takes you a while to absorb information and that sometimes it feels like topics are moving too fast, you might prefer to take some time on your own to go through everything and make sure you have a firm understanding of each area. Similarly if you feel that the classroom sometimes moves too slowly for you, you might prefer not to be ‘held back’ by that.
One of the potential downsides of revising alone is that the time you spend is not always especially productive, and it can be easy to get distracted. Without someone to keep you on task, relying solely on your own discipline to keep you going can be risky. You might also be slowed down by not understanding something fully, which means that you either need to spend time working it out alone or you need to set it aside until you are able to seek clarification, which can reduce your momentum. If you do try and work it out on your own, you will need to be careful to ensure that you have reached the correct answer and are not learning something inaccurate. The benefit of this style of working is that when you do finally nail that topic, you will probably remember it better than if it had been explained to you by someone else.
Getting help from an Easter Revision provider
Many schools and colleges offer short, intensive courses over the Easter period that are designed to provide rigorous preparation for the examinations students will be taking that summer. A good Easter Revision provider will cover key aspects of the syllabus in addition to providing students with support on examination technique. At MPW, we go beyond that by organising students into board-specific groups to ensure that every aspect of their revision is focused and relevant. In addition, all students are provided with a folder of past papers and mark schemes meaning that in the time between the course and the examination they can continue to practise what they have learnt.
The advantages of attending an Easter Revision course are that you are guaranteed a certain number of hours of preparation for each examination, which can be the impetus that many students need to hit the ground running for the rest of their revision. Having a teacher available for consultation rather than attempting to work independently means that you are kept on target for the entirety of the course and also that you have a second chance to learn the material from an expert, filling in any gaps that you might have missed initially.
All students taking Easter Revision courses do so with a view to improving their performance in their impending examinations. Easter Revision is useful to students in a number of ways because it can provide a thorough and intensive re-examination of the syllabus at the same time as allowing the option for clarification from a tutor on any topics that students find challenging or have previously misunderstood. Easter Revision also allows students to practise examination technique and learn about model answers to questions, which is known to benefit performance.
Good grades are more important than ever
The Conservative government are mid-way through implementing their GCSE and A level reform. The reform has changed the educational landscape in the UK and Easter Revision provides students with support in achieving the highest grades, which is particularly important now because:
GCSE grades are under increased scrutiny
AS levels, as they currently exist, are being phased out. This means that many students applying to university at the start of year 13 will only have GCSE grades to submit to institutions. It is important therefore that these grades are an accurate reflection of ability. At the age of 15 or 16, university can feel like a distant prospect but it is important to recognise that not achieving your potential at GCSE might restrict your application options later on.
There is no longer an A level ‘safety net’
Part of the logic behind the government’s reform is an attempt to reduce retake opportunities for students. In the past, students in year 12 would have taken AS levels halfway through their courses. Students who underperformed would then have the option the following year to retake any disappointing AS levels at the same time as sitting their A2 examinations. Although this was hard work, it allowed students to continue making educational progress in the expected time frame, finishing their A levels in two years and progressing immediately to university.
Retakes under the reform are less straightforward, firstly because many students will no longer take public examinations at the end of year 12, removing the necessity to thoroughly revise the syllabus and also to learn from the result and examination process. Secondly, students who need to retake their A levels will now need to dedicate the majority of a ‘gap year’ to this as they will be required to sit every examination again at once in order to receive a new grade. This is of course an unappealing prospect and differs from the current system in which students can simply focus on the one or two examinations that have let them down. Working hard and getting it right the first time is recommended.
AS level grades are standalone qualifications
Despite the fact that they will not count towards the final A level grade, many schools continue to encourage students to take AS levels in reform subjects at the end of year 12. AS levels will be regarded as qualifications in their own right and as such it is worth aiming for the highest possible grades in these as, if taken, they will strengthen a student’s academic portfolio. They also provide an indication of progress throughout the course thus far and are a useful learning tool.
Easter Revision varies from provider to provider and the best thing to do if you are considering a course is to contact the school or college directly to discuss your requirements.
At MPW, students are organised into board-specific groups of no more than nine. Courses are between 4 and 40 hours long, depending on the subject. The most common course length is 20 hours (taught from 9am-1pm or 2pm-6pm every day for a week). As well as covering the syllabus or relevant topic area, students are coached in exam technique and provided with a folder of resources to support this.
I couldn’t recommend MPW more. My daughter has just finished the Easter GCSE revision course programme and is now feeling so much more confident about her ability in the subjects she needed help with. She found that not only did the teachers identify and help her where she felt her knowledge in the subject was weak but they also taught her exam techniques that she has subsequently found invaluable. The revision notes at the end of the course have also really helped her with her GCSE preparation and she seems much less daunted now by the whole marathon of exams ahead. As a parent and as a former pupil myself of the school I can testify to the commitment and calibre of the teaching staff here and their complete academic commitment to both their subjects and pupils. I also found the reports given back to the parents at the end of course very useful feedback.
Mrs Lucy Thistlethwaite, mother of a GCSE Easter Revision student at MPW London
James Barton is MPW London’s Director of Easter Revision. In this video he explains more about the reasons why students might opt to take an Easter Revision course and the way that the courses are structured so you can learn more about what to expect on one:
It is important to make the right decision for you so talk to your parents, teachers and friends about whether or not Easter Revision courses would suit your needs. We also provide advice on how to choose an Easter Revision course if you do decide you would like to move forward. Of course, you can tailor the courses to your requirements, allowing you to prepare alone for the subjects you are confident in whilst arranging some extra help for the ones you feel might be more of a struggle.
For more information about Easter Revision, you might find the following pages helpful: