10 revision tips

Reading Time: 7 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable 10 revision tips (this post) A good revision space  What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat Revising is hard work. There’s no getting round it. If you want to do really well, you need to revise. And to make the most of that effort, you need to do things that work really well – that actually get your brain working. Basically, you want to move your knowledge and …

How to make a revision timetable

Reading Time: 3 minutes In this series, I’m looking at the ways get the most from mock exams, with practical steps to help you dial back the stress. Know your goals. Create a revision timetable (this post) 10 revision tips A good revision space  What to do during mocks Review, reflect, repeat DO NOT get out highlighters and coloured pens. It’s a cliché, but an often true one: the timetable makes so long to make that by the time you’ve finished, you have to do it again to make up for the time you’ve spent making it. There are also online timetable creators like GetRevising, …

Writing ideas: urban fantasy

Reading Time: 1 minute Write two hundred words: from the perspective of the shadowy figure on the bottom left – are they terrified and seeing this for the first time? Or are they a dragon-hunter, on a mission to reclaim the abandoned city from the monsters that now plague it? Are dragons ferocious, or simply a nuisance to be dealt with? at the top of the skyscraper, waiting for the dragon-bus to arrive. Where are you going, and what will you do when you get there? Is this a long-distance journey, the urban fantasy equivalent of an airship, or simply your morning commute? From …

How to revise for mock exams

Reading Time: 5 minutes Whether you call them mock exams or trial exams (nothing reassures you it’s low-stakes like calling it a trial, right?!), whether they’re before Christmas or after, chances are if you’re a GCSE or  A-Level student you’ll have practice exams coming up soon. And in many schools, you’ll have them a couple of times a year. Mock exams. The full experience of walking into a hall, finding your seat number, remembering to bring a clear pencil case and water bottle in case you’ve scribbled some physics formulae on the inside. They can be hard and they can be stressful. But they …

Christmas presents for readers on #smallbizsatuk

Reading Time: 4 minutes Today is #SmallBizSatUK, an opportunity to talk about some of the great things that small businesses are doing around the country. And, as Christmas is coming up quickly (eek!) I thought I’d put together a list of some of the literary inspired gifts that I’ve either received or bought as gifts. I love supporting small independent business especially at this time of year when there’s so many craft fairs local to me here in West Yorkshire, and think it’s really important to try to balance where I buy from, especially gifts for others. Plus I can usually be pretty sure that …

Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys” – the importance of literature

Reading Time: 8 minutes Below is a pretty lengthy post, of an essay I wrote to discuss writing style with my Y11s in the run-up to their Christmas mocks.

“Literature is medicine, wisdom, elastoplast, everything”. How does Bennett presents the importance of the literature in the play?

Bennett’s conflicted representation of literature is perhaps startling coming from a man who is, after all, an accomplished and acclaimed writer. Hector’s viewpoint of literature as salvation, comfort, the ultimate distinguisher of humanity, is, after all, the way that writers would, we assume, like to view themselves: creating something of value within the world. However, by the end of the play a very different perspective emerges. Literature (with a capital ‘L’, as ascribed to works of canonical quality) and ‘popular culture’ become indistinguishable as Hector teaches the “tosh” of Gracie Fields and Brief Encounter alongside Larkin, Housman and Shakespeare. For the boys, literature loses its significance, echoing the ways in which the boys grow up and lose some of their admiration for the adults in their lives. The tragedy of Posner is the crucial answer to this question: he is searching for meaning, solace and comfort, and while he has all of the quotations from Hector he has none of the guidance he needs. Although as a writer, Bennett – like many others – might like to think his work has longevity and speaks to our humanity, he is also ruefully aware that for many, echoes of the past fall short.

If you’re studying The History Boys, I’ve also written a five-star revision guide that’s available for just £3!