At first glance, it may seem that a revision course is about doing the impossible. After all, how do you condense a whole two years of the IB diploma into a two-day course? Whilst at the same time helping students towards achieving the magic 7 points? When planned and taught by professionals, revision courses can offer huge benefits. However, it is important to be assured that you are enrolling your child in the best revision course.
To help you out, we have grilled our lead Physics teacher, Dr Matt Brown, an international school IB teacher, on what to look for in a great revision course.
“Here is the inside track on what the best IB revision courses should provide.”
It must give students tools to help maximise points for each question.
Matt insists that great courses go beyond just consolidating the content of the subject and is far more than just working on IB practice papers. It must also teach students to feel confident about command terms and understanding the mark schemes so that they are able to give an answer that responds to the question in the correct way, and maximises the points for each question.
“This is something our teachers find second nature as they are all professional IB teachers, and many are also IB Diploma examiners.”
They see the common pitfalls and have a deep understanding of the course requirements.
Look for small class sizes.
Small classes are essential: we suggest never more than 6 students. We have found this to be the perfect size, giving the students plenty of individual attention, but also enough students to make the days fun and interactive. The courses are intense and hard work, so our students have to enjoy them.
Think about your child’s requirements.
“Ask whether the course is tailored around your child’s revision needs.”
This is important because if the course is not tailored to the specific requirements of your child it will not be as effective. Before each of our IB revision courses, each student fills out a questionnaire detailing the parts of the course they want to focus on most. While at the same time they include their mock grades for each paper and the offers from their preferred universities. This allows our teachers to design the course around their specific requirements. This means one course is never the same as another.
Check that experienced IB-trained teachers are leading the course
IB revision courses tend to fall into two distinct groups; university students who themselves completed the IB Diploma and are teaching the course, and certified teachers with day-to-day teaching experience of the IB in a school context who are the teachers This is where we have to declare a bias.
“We strongly believe in giving our students the best chance of success by putting them in the hands of professional teachers with years of classroom experience behind them.”
When visiting a Geneva international school, I had the opportunity to observe a revision course run by another tutoring organisation. As the teacher walked past me, he turned to a colleague and complained that he had already explained something three times and the student still didn’t understand it. In a way, this should not have been a surprise. He wasn’t a professional teacher and didn’t have the years of experience to understand the many different ways you need to be able to explain a problem and overcome barriers to learning.
Look for a course that delivers the following:
- An overview of the exam papers, including explanations of each paper, the format, objectives examined, and question types.
- An explanation of grade descriptors and boundaries.
- An exploration of common misunderstandings and pitfalls. The course should offer the opportunity for students to revisit any topics they are not confident in.
- The chance to revise command terms so students understand all exam questions.
- Key tips on how best to answer in exam conditions.
- The practice of applying and transferring knowledge in a variety of question formats.
- Tips on how to masters exam time management.
- The opportunity to understand study styles and how to revise in the most effective way.
- New ideas and energy for revision in the final push leading up to the exams.
For more information on our IB Easter revision courses including Dr Matt Brown’s Physics course, click here:
By Sara Lloyd
Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for over 10 years and is an expert on international education in Switzerland. She is also a parent of two lively children.
If you would like to contact Sara to answer your education-related questions, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like a tutor for your child and to be matched with one of our highly experienced professional teachers visit www.tutorsplus.com today.
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