Review tips . . . when you’re down to L168

Yup, it’s nearly October again!  Tension builds…

Every year, it’s the same as we come closer to the final exams.   We’re coming up to our last few days…

Everyone’s getting more restless, waking up later, sleeping later…but trying to study more.   Even the teachers feel it! :)   I’ve noticed that as we get closer to the Lesson 170 mark, everyone gets more high-strung!  Strangely, just as we are supposed to be getting geared up for the finals, concentration and memory start going downhill.  I’ve learned by now:  it’s just the STRESS.

So, to overcome that, we’re doing some pretty intensive reviews…that’s all we’ve been doing since last week!  Well, here are some ideas you can incorporate into your reviews.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. For some reason, this student of mine never has learned his times tables well.  So, up till yesterday, we were still sitting around twiddling our thumbs while he thought through the 9 times table to get up to 7 x 9.  It can be irritating if you don’t step into their shoes and walk around for a bit.  Anyways, I twiddled and thought, and came up with a plan.  Starting today, we’re doing a Times Table Marathon.  Each morning for the next few days, before we begin school, he does a speed drill of each of the tables from 6 to 9.  Every day, we try to cut his timing down by a few seconds.  His best timing was 30 seconds for the 6 times tables, but I’m sure he’ll get better…and we’re having fun!

So, why did I do this and how does this relate?  Repeat and repeat and repeat. That’s the sure-fire way to get something into a child’s brain.  (Teacher Sue, why didn’t you start earlier?  Good question.  I did, actually, but as school got more hectic in the third quarter, we kind of forgot about it…yes, we’re human too.  So now we pay the price.)

Get the facts! Nowadays, the exam papers tend to focus on application.  I think we forget sometimes, that if we’re going to do well in application, we’re going to need something to apply in the first place.  You’ll be surprised how much a solid foundation in the basic facts improves the child’s application skills.

Nevermind about applying ratios to your problem sum.  Make sure you know what a ratio is in the first place, and how you find equivalent ratios!  As you work with reviews, go through the child’s textbook, highlighting important facts that he needs to know.  Make a study sheet for him to use, incorporating those facts.  Review the topics regularly and have him study them on his own for homework.

Pace the review. Take the task upon yourself to spread out your reviews with him.  Don’t try to cover a little bit of everything each day.  Instead, split up the material and do intensive reviews over two to four topics each day.  On the last day, go over everything you have already covered and check to see that there are no gaps.

Be positive. Nothing overwhelms a primary-age student more than having his teacher pour cold water all over his performance on review.  Maybe you are sure that he won’t ‘make it’ for his SA2.  You don’t have to tell him that.  Be positive anyway, and always encourage him to do his best.

So, as you review this year, make repetition your friend, know your facts, pace your reviews, and above all, be positive!  All the best on the upcoming exam season!


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