The Origins of Radical Revision – how my experiences as a stressed-out teenager led me to where I am today!
I am passionate about revision – but it hasn’t always been this way. Although as a youngster I was a motivated student, I was also stressed and anxious – particularly in the lead up to my A-level exams. At 18 years of age, and in love with the idea of studying at my first-choice university, it felt as though my whole future happiness literally depended on getting the necessary grades. Each day I was attempting to revise for hours at a time but without any real understanding of what effective revision involved. In truth, those 6 days of exams way back in 1992 took me to a new low but were also the catalyst for the work I have been pursuing professionally for the last 25 years: to make things better for other students.
As we all know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and the passage of time brings with it perspective. The Claire of today can appreciate that life would not have come to screaming halt had I not achieved the grades required to read English Literature at Warwick University. I could have re-sat my exams or considered taking up a place at another university, however, I didn’t know that then. I was grappling with all the usual teenage emotions and insecurities whilst also holding myself to the highest standards academically and it was not sustainable. The stress for me culminated in my first – and only – panic attack during my English exam causing me to bolt for the door. It was the quick thinking of my beloved English teacher, Dorothy Mountford, who chased me outside and, holding me firmly by my arms, looked me in the eye and told me in the strongest of terms to, “Pull yourself together and get back in there and show them what you can do.” Luckily, her words got through and I was able to return to my desk, pick my pen and do exactly that.
For me, things fell into place. I achieved the grades, made it to Warwick and had the time of my life there. Even so, I do wish that I could step back in time and show my younger self that revision and exams don’t have to be painful. My work with thousands of students around the world – first as a teacher and then as a trainer – has led me to develop a toolkit for revision and exam success that is designed to alleviate anxiety. The Radical Revision programme is based on:
- The latest neuroscience and tips to support long-term memory.
- Making revision manageable by breaking it down into short bursts that are revisited on rotation.
- Putting the joy back into the process using a different ‘power strategy’ each week meaning there is something to suit every kind of learner. #tattooabanana!
- Collaboration and support.
- Motivation including weekly prizes.
Do take a look at our website if you think your child would benefit from joining the Radical Revision programme.