Kick-start the revision process: Easter A-level courses aren't just for pupils with poor grades

 

Today, 8 March, is results day for all those pupils who took A-level exams in January. Traditionally this was known as retake results day, as most of the candidates in this mid-winter session were resitting their papers from the previous summer to improve their grades or even achieve at least some pass grades. Nowadays, the clientele for this set of exams has changed enormously, as have their academic ambitions. Many January candidates have been taking early AS and A2 modules for the first time, in each of the sixth form years. Whether their results are good or bad, quite a few then take decisive action before the main June sessions and sign up for one of the many organised revision courses that are run by schools, colleges and tutoring agencies during the Easter holidays.

Paul Templeton, course director of Easter revision at Lansdowne College, London, which has been running Easter revision courses for 25 years, reckons two-thirds of all the enrolments for these intensive one-week courses take place after the results come out in March. He says: "If a student receives good results, this is a spur to continue striving for excellence. If the results received are disappointing, this gives the student the impetus to improve. Easter revision courses can cater for both types."

It's similar for Chris Kraft, principal of Duff Miller College, London. "We'll typically enrol about 75 per cent of our total Easter revision students after today's results, many of them in a state of shock after a disappointing first attempt at some modules in January."

Properly structured and targeted Easter revision courses can be an effective way to kick-start the process of revising, although even the best courses cannot convert five terms of neglect into an A grade. However, they are able to make a major difference. Intensive work in a small group, focusing squarely on exams and led by an enthusiastic and experienced teacher, can fill important gaps, develop exam awareness and offer plenty of practice and feedback on what examiners want. Above all, a course gets the revision process firmly under way and establishes a feeling of momentum and confidence.

There has been a massive growth over recent years in students enrolling for revision of AS modules. Kraft explains: "As well as Lower Sixth pupils preparing for their June AS papers, we see a great number of Upper Sixth students who will be taking AS as well as A2 exams next term. They tell us that their schools are concentrating on the A2 modules but they feel they need more support revising the AS material." However, James Barton, course director of Easter revision courses at MPW College, London, sees a different picture: "For us, A2 courses remain in highest demand. This is because a lot of parents prefer to invest at A2 level rather than AS, to secure the necessary grades once the university offers have been received."

It is clear that these exam-targeted, technique-driven courses have become a key part of the A-level experience for many students, who realise they need their revision organised and structured for them. Courses are reasonably affordable, generally costing in the region of £400 for 15 hours of A-level tuition and £300 for GCSE. Interestingly, quite a few students regard them as such good value that they sign up for a second one-week course in a different subject, undeterred by double fees. One surprising indication of the modern student's ambition to succeed or desperation not to fail, according to Kraft, is that every year around 20 of his Easter revision students, with their parents' agreement but probably unknown to their school, deliberately miss the first week of their summer term to attend a revision course.

You can find out more from the adverts in the national press or the Council for Independent Education (CIFE) website (www.cife.org.uk), which lists its member colleges offering Easter courses. The website also gives some useful advice about planning your own revision.

Day and residential courses are also run at some of the major public schools, such as Harrow School, Wellington College in Berkshire, Clifton College in Bristol and Magdalen College School in Oxford. With the earliest courses beginning on 26 March, many are already filling up fast both for A-level and GCSE in the most popular subjects, which include mathematics, the sciences and economics.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?