AB Tutor Logo
ABTutor Logo

making networked classrooms work


Preparing your students for exams

There are many important steps to take as a teacher to help students to achieve and exceed their target grades when faced with tests or exams.


Firstly, students need to be familiar with the layout of the exam. By doing this, it supposedly leads to a higher grade achieved. This does not mean cramming a bunch of practice exam papers in a short period of time and studying them to death. It means knowing what the exam paper looks like, which helps prepare students for the big day. Therefore, as soon as students face a difficult question, they’re already aware what the exam board is looking for. An example of this would be practicing past papers in moderation to understand the layout, which enhances the student’s understanding of:


·       Likely exam time length

·       Number of questions

·       Style of questions

·       Key points needed to make for certain questions

·       Grading criteria

·       Looking at points awarded for each question first


Students will be better equipped to face a question if they are aware of what each part is trying to test. However, not all students study the same way. A couple of techniques may be the go-to for some but less effective for others. So teachers need to try and cheer students on to go home and practice which technique best suits them.


Secondly, try and make the build-up to exams as unthreatening as you can. Exams are a common factor for teen stress, and therefore as teachers, we need to try our best to minimise it. One way to make tests relatively stress-free is to make them a regular occurrence in the classroom. Even weekly assessments can ameliorate their comfortability with them. To utilise this effectively, use the results of the students as a learning tool, helping them to feel less worried about taking them.


In terms of studying at home, teachers can’t control it. We know that the key to success in exams is to study, however actually putting down your phone and picking up a book can be challenging for teenagers. Therefore, regular encouragement from the teachers increases their motivation. Setting up after-school revision classes on set days of the week helps students to devise a revision routine, and is a great way to encourage them to study. Teachers need to make sure these after-school revision sessions aren’t long and drawn out, only going over concise information. Without introducing these factors, there will be a higher chance of students losing interest if they feel they are being forced to attend the study class.


Also, if the information is being communicated in lengthy complicated sessions, students may misconceive some pieces of it, negatively affecting their overall performance in exams. Furthermore, using non-verbal communication skills, whether it’s drawing diagrams for biology, or pie charts for maths, helps maintain student interest. Being in a classroom creates this encouraging environment where students are not distracted by their phone, television or games console. Therefore, students can adapt to this study environment, and in no time will be able to say ‘NO’ to the urge of the dreaded notification sound coming from their phone.


On the other hand, we don’t want our students over-studying. Cramming in an unhealthy amount of caffeine to stay up past midnight, revising for a test the next morning is not the way to go. This will actually produce a more negative outcome. So try to make sure students aren’t doing so, whilst also maintaining an efficient study plan. The keyword here is moderation.


Helping students to create their own in-depth study plan is also something positive we can do as teachers. The important step to take here is getting students to decide for themselves when, where and what to study. Of course with guidance and suggestions. Try printing out a blank revision timetable for your students to complete.


Our support team would be happy to assist you in understanding our classroom management system, AB Tutor.