Technology – a Blessing or a Curse – Revision and Electronic Distraction…

Technology can be a Blessing or a Curse – you decide!

It is vital to choose the activities that we indulge ourselves in, in the time we have available. In modern times, the invention of technology is largely a blessing, but, sadly is, also a curse to a great extent. I am referring to electronics in general – such as mobile phones, tablets and computers. For most people, the way they choose to use their electronic devices in not in a way that enhances their productivity. It is more of a hindrance – a liability rather than an asset. This is so important for teenagers – too many of whom spend an endless amount of their time on electronic devices.

Irrespective of the activities they are doing on their devices – online or offline – providing intellectual stimulation or not, spending too much time on their electronic device means there is less time to be spent on their academic work. Some students claim to revise online and, in fact, some teachers encourage it.

The most effective way to revise GCSE and A-level

I disagree with most forms of “online revision”, as I deem it to be a euphemism for distraction and time-wasting on a gigantic scale.  There are two reasons for this: the first is that not too many people have the discipline not to be diverted away from what they really need to do and distractedly wander away on to other unproductive activities when online. The second reason is a very strong one and it surprises me that not only are young people not aware of it, but many teachers do not warn them about the dangers associated with it. What I am referring to here is that young people use their computers to read and revise by downloading the question, reading it, thinking about an answer and then checking the mark scheme to see if they are correct. This is not an effective way to revise. In fact, it was only yesterday when I was speaking to one of our scholars – a young lady who obtained A* and A grades in her A-levels, and I was presently surprise that she confirmed the view that I have on this crucial matter. She reiterated that what helped her to achieve the top grades, despite going to a mediocre state school, was that she revised from books and practised questions by writing on paper.

The best way to revise for exams is print out the questions and attempt them by writing on the paper. The fact is that the vast majority of examinations involve writing on paper and I have seen too many bright young people who think they understand concepts, but, when it comes to articulating what they thought they have comprehended in answering examination questions, they fail woefully. The importance of practising with past exam questions by actually writing the answers on the paper and finding a way to get, at least, a proportion of the items marked by a teacher, cannot be overemphasised. I’m not at all a fan of peer marking and, where it is used, it should not be as a substitute to getting the teacher to mark the work. I would say that a student should do at least 6 to 8 past exam questions for each paper they are sitting in the exam and get at least a third of the papers marked by the teacher. They can mark the rest by themselves or work with their peers.

Students who are not facing main exams this summer

For those young people who are not in the final year of their GCSEs or A-levels, what I have said about habits and behaviour is more important or, perhaps, more practical for them, as there is more time to get into good habits and routines. They are at greater advantage here, as they have more time to start practising and perfecting a success-oriented set of behaviours.

Here is a link to a blogpost that parents with children at KS3 may find useful:

Those young people who are not yet facing major exams have a higher chance of finishing ahead of most in the pack, in that life marathon.

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