Study leave is approaching fast for our examination classes so it’s time to think about those last lessons. I will be using a few mental tests with all my examination students as I find these work very well indeed. Last week with Year 13 we had a C3 (an A Level module – OCR MEI) mental test; at the end of the lesson they said that was really useful and requested a C4 mental test for this week. I think my favourite kind of lesson feedback is when students make requests like this!
Note that the ideas here can be used all year round – not just for last revision lessons.
These tests are simply short questions that test recall of the basic skills needed for the module; so for example some standard derivatives and integrals, graph sketches, changing the subject of the formula for expressions involving exponential functions and so on. Note that another possibility is to ask students to write down the expressions / calculations needed for a question (they can always come back and complete it later).
Basically, sit down with the syllabus in front of you and cover as much as possible. Although informal this is making the students individually recall material they will need – see Highlighting is a Waste of Time.
For some inspiration for mental tests have a look at the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching resources for GCSE (and for younger students note that mental tests are supplied for all the Key Stage 3 (UK age 11-14) units). In fact the GCSE resource shown above would also apply to AS level.
For the Teacher Resources scroll down to the end of the GCSE Resources page and you will find resources for each unit.
For A Level students, questions such as Mohammed Ladak’s Essential Skills pack for Core AS or Corbett Maths A Level 5-a-day could be used / adapted. Questions do need to be short, recall type questions where just a short time is needed for any working out. I do find that because I use this idea regularly, I can just ask questions by looking at the specification and using my experience of what I know students forget!
Looking at the CIMT resources I noticed some more valuable revision resources; note the GCSE Revision pack; this has quick checks at Foundation, Intermediate and Higher Level and example papers with answers and mark schemes.
For revision tests by topic, each unit of the GCSE course has a revision test with answers. Whilst the vast majority of the material on the CIMT site is freely accessible, a few documents such as these revision tests are password protected. The password can be obtained if you send a request using your educational institution email address; CIMT also give the password to home educators.