Blog: Practice Questions Explained

Practice Questions Explained

I have recently had some questions about the Practice Questions found on the website, so I’ll try to answer these in this post.

This video explains a bit more about the Practice Questions and their uses.

What are the Practice Questions?

I created the Practice Questions for the same reasons I created the Videos and 5-a-days, I really hate duplicating work!! With 30 32 35 years (at the moment) left teaching, I wanted to save myself (and hopefully other colleagues) time in the future. Every time I held a revision lesson, revision session or provided students with past paper questions on a particular topic, I would have to spend 15-20 minutes going through textbooks and GCSE papers trying to find suitable questions and “copy and paste” into a Pages/Word document and finally print 1-30 times.

Then on handing the questions to the students they would comment “oh I’ve seen this question before.” After the 1000th time on “copying and pasting” questions, I decided enough was enough and I should create my own unique GCSE-style questions on each individual topic.

Perhaps I should have considered the time it would take before starting… so far, each one of the 110 booklets created has taken approximately 4-5 hours each. Except circle theorems which took about 10 hours!

Common "front page" of the Practice Questions
Common “front page” of the Practice Questions

How/when do you use them?

Some of the main ways in which I use them are:

1) Material for revision lessons/sessions

Probably like most schools, we hold lunchtime and after school revision sessions, as well as recap revision lessons in class before important exams such as termly, end-of-year and even external exams.

Often I would start the revision session off with a 5-a-day (if the students hadn’t already completed that day’s) as a refresher of some of the topics that I should know already (if they struggle on any then the revision session can be adapted) then I would tend to focus on one or two topics that either I’ve identified from assessments or the students have voted for using Google Forms.

Then after recapping some of the key points on the topic with the students and giving them some questions to ensure they are prepared, I would give them the Practice Question booklets. Personally, I like to photocopy these and let the students “write on.” This way they can keep their Practice Question booklets in a folder and have a “bank” of completed and marked GCSE questions on the topics that they have found difficult.

*I would use a similar approach for private tuition.

2) Flipped Learning – (see my future post on flipped learning)

The real benefit I find for Flipped Learning, is the vast quantity of time the students and I have in the lesson. As the Practice Questions aim to cover all common ‘style’ of questions that the student may encounter, I particularly like using the booklets within these lessons.

3) Revision

I have the links to the Practice Questions beside the videos so that students can immediately practice a topic after watching the video to ‘recap’ it. Or vice-versa, they can watch the video if needed when completing Practice Questions on a topic.

I also have created “Revision Checklist iBooks” for the students so that they can easily see the content of our courses, easily watch videos on the topic and carry out revision. As most students now have Smart devices such as iPads, iPhones, Androids etc, they are able to view pdfs easily. (All our students have iPads)

An early version of the revision checklist
An early version of the revision checklist

I have also experimented (successfully) with targeted individualised revision lessons with my year 9 set “4 out of 4” this year. As the students ranged from level 3 to level 5 (at the beginning of the year), I found that ‘blanket’ revision lessons had less impact than I wished.

Therefore about a week before termly assessments, I would get the class to sit a 30 minute mock test on the topics likely to be appearing the termly assessment. I would then use this to identify each student’s strengths and, very importantly, use it to create a checklist of topics where they should focus their attention over the next week, at home revising (emailed to parents) and also for the targeted revision lessons.

Over the remaining 2 or 3 lessons in class before the assessment, the students would watch the videos suggested on their individualised checklist (headphones recommended – I really feel uneasy listening to 1 video of myself, never mind 30!) and then work on the Practice Questions on that topic. An example of the earlier version of the checklists is below… the reason the Practice Questions are called Worksheet B, H, J, E etc is that I had printed versions in the classroom that they could pick up at different ‘stations’ around the room.

Early version of the individualised checklist in exercise books
Early version of the individualised checklist in exercise books

Where are the answers?

The answers will be created and uploaded once I finish making all the booklets. Sorry I can’t specify when 🙂

Will you create versions for primary students? A-level students?

Definitely, I these will follow after I finish the answers and a few other ‘bits and bobs’ on the website.