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How useful are Easter Revision Courses?

Students nowadays are examined far more than they were in the past. Gone are the days of a two year course leading to a few exams at the end. Now there tends to more subjects studied, more opportunities to take exams in the academic year and more exam papers to sit at any one time. The pressure on students is undoubtedly intense and the need to achieve is higher than ever. Whilst there are certainly more places available at university competition for the better courses is fierce requiring extremely high grades from students if they are to gain the place they want.

Not surprisingly given such pressure many parents and students look for additional help in the holidays. In particular Easter Revision courses have been a booming service provided by an ever increasing range of schools and colleges. As Bridget Norton, Course Director at d'Overbroeck's College, Oxford - an established provider of such courses - says "we provide an invaluable boost to students at a critical time in their revision. It complements their school work and helps give them the confidence as well as the skills they need to maximise their grades". The opportunity to revise in a structured fashion, to work with new people in a fresh environment and to focus on exam technique and exam questions can be extremely refreshing for students. There are a whole host of reasons why people attend - some to catch up on work missed through illness, some to make up for time lost when a teacher was off sick, some because they find it difficult to study alone and some to make sure of the highest grades - but the motivation is always the same: to improve their exam performance.

Of course the quality of courses can vary and there are some key questions you should ask:

What exactly will be covered on the course (you don't want to end up in a class preparing for a completely different syllabus)
Who will be teaching on the course? Do the teachers work for the college full time or are they brought in just for the course? What is their experience?
How many hours of teaching are there? Be careful of too many very general sessions or "private study"

Easter revision courses are now available at GCSE as well as AS and A2 and many students return to school after them with a much more positive approach in the final build up to the exams. Do check out the courses but rest assured that many of them can help students organise their studies, build on their school work and make a significant difference to their grades.

Andrew Gillespie
Director of Studies , d'Overbroeck's College, Oxford
Principal Examiner A2 Business Studies.