My student seems to forget a lot of content needed for tests. Especially when there is a long time between the test and when topics were actually learnt. How can I prepare her for tests so she doesn’t forget things previously learnt?
Generally speaking, to maintain memory of topics throughout the year they must:
- Do the tutoring consistently and regularly
- Do revision throughout the year
Each lesson you should devote some time to covering gaps in knowledge and revision. Or if time is scarce just set revision for homework and make sure to cover any problems next tutorial.
It is really a question of planning and structuring the tuition over the course of months, with a long term global view rather than a short-term perspective which focuses only on current content and getting by the next test.
You should never start/stop doing revision – it is just a part of our tutoring process – always. Every lesson some time is spent on gaps/revision. If a student is reluctant then you should at least plan what revision needs to be done as soon as you know a test is coming. Preparation for tests needs to be structured as shown in CEP10.
To answer your question in a sentence: avoid the situation where the student is faced with a test and they have not seen or practiced those topics for a long time. With adequate planning and structuring this should be easy. The thing is that you know what topics they have covered since the last test. You know what other topics are related to those topics. You know how long it has been since the last test. You know which topics were specifically challenging for your student. You know which topics your student is likely to have trouble with (not remember well) if they were faced with a surprise test next week. Why wait for a test? Using the knowledge above you should be able to tell when weaknesses are present and when various topics are likely to be remembered weakly. Always be asking yourself “What should they revise now? What revision would also help with current work? What topic would they struggle with if a test was given in 2 days?” Based on this set revision homework.
Without a regular process like above how can a student be expected to remember everything all at once?
Furthermore, this sort of approach really helps with end of year exams. At the end of the year the exam covers a year’s worth of content not just 1-3 topics. Often it is impossible to cover all those topics for revision in the time available. However, if revision was attended to throughout the year the student will remember much more to start and ultimately perform much better in their exam.