Simplifying Revision

Hopefully you’ve already read through the ideas about how to make revision effective, via the MORSE Code. The S stands for Simplifying or Summarising, and both ideas are worth using when it seems like there’s too much revision to start. The whole point is to bring a topic back to basics.

  1. Take a while to read through your folder, making a list of key words or phrases. You might like to highlight or underline main points to help them stand out. Don’t try to define or explain them – you’re just making a list. Do one area of the topic at a time, so you end up with somewhere between 3 and 6 lists.
  2. For each list, put aside 20 minutes to write what you think each word or phrase means. This isn’t about organising it, just getting the main points clear. Limit yourself to one or two sentences each. If you want, try making study cards for yourself, either on paper or electronically (loads of different ways to try this, post on best methods coming soon). Try making an extra card which prompts you to recall the list as a whole.
  3. Now go through the list with your resources to hand – folder, textbook, webpages. Use Bitesize or similar rather than Wikipedia. Remember to save any particularly good links as discussed in the recent bookmarks post. Give yourself a clear, concise definition. Add an example or application you’re likely to remember.
  4. If there are some you’re struggling with, think about previous work that links to it. There’s often not much difference between a good KS3 explanation and a basic one at KS4. Speak to your teacher if you can’t get the words right.

You’ve now got a key word list you can learn, just like you would a set of spellings or foreign language vocabulary. You could

  • use this as the basis for a concept map, showing the links between ideas.
  • develop it by writing a question around the idea, or improve your explanation using C words.
  • check your recall just by having a family member test you on a different sheet each day.

All of these ideas are ways to organise what you know, rather than simplifying, but now you’re starting from basics which are correct and useful. Ideally, over time you’ll build up a set of summary sheets for each subject, kept somewhere safe.



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