HIIT for English Revision!

Did you know that there’s another effective way of English revision apart from simply practising every day?

Today, I’m going to share with you some high-intensity interval training techniques for English – in short, HIIT for English! These points have been summarised from the book “How We Learn” by Benedict Carey and adapted to suit our primary school level and language context to help you tackle your English revision effectively. Let’s now take a look at what these techniques are:

1. Space Out Your Learning

Firstly, you can tackle how often you revise. Is it better to revise for three hours, one day per week, or one hour every two days? You might think that revising three hours over one day is more effective, as it would allow you to focus on and concentrate on the subject more. In fact, maybe three hours over all five weekdays might be the best way to revise?

Absolutely not! This sort of thinking is erroneous for two key reasons:
• Your concentration does not extend to three hours of solid English revision
• Revising every day does not allow you to forget, which results in a lack of active recall

Instead, you should consider revising for one hour every two days.

By spacing out your English revision, you will allow yourself to take breaks from the subject and forget information. Wait a minute. Why do I want you to forget information? Well, forgetting can actually help you to remember better, especially if you put in effort to revise what you constantly forget! When you forget some of what you have learnt, you will need to put in effort to dig it up from the depths of your mind.

Active Recall

This process is also known as active recall, and allows your brain to practise learning a rule or learning a definition. Think of your brain as a muscle! The more you use active recall, the more you strengthen this muscle, and the easier it will be to remember the grammar rule or English definition in future.

Of course, you can also adjust the timing of one hour to match your own comfort level. The important things are to ensure that:

  • You are able to pay attention for the entire session when revising
  • There are gaps between your learning days
  • There is enough time in every session to cover what you want to revise

For instance, if you only revise for half an hour and you are unable to cover what you aim to cover completely, that would break up your English revision into meaningless chunks, and affect your learning process! That is why you should consider the above three points when planning the duration of your revision.

2. Beware of the Fluency Trap

Do you simply read to revise? When your teachers show you a grammar rule that has been gone through before, or a vocabulary word that was used in the previous lesson, don’t many of you slap a palm to your head saying, “I knew that! I just couldn’t remember!” Unfortunately, when the rule or word comes up again, you probably still won’t be able to remember what they are or what they mean!

This is exactly what happens when you simply read to revise. Just because you have seen something many times and it looks familiar to you does not mean that you will be able to recall it and apply it in your exams.

Instead, you must incorporate activities that encourage active recall during your revision sessions. Some study methods to include in your revision are:

  • Flash cards: these are particularly useful for vocabulary revision and for memorising certain grammar rules

  • Teach someone: teaching someone will allow you to explain what you have just learnt in your own words, as well as expose any confusion you might have and allow you to correct them

  • Testing: testing yourself, by doing short online quizzes or short practices in assessment books, will allow you to see if you are able to recall what you have just learn

3. Mix It Up

Finally, many of us still have the misconception that we need to “drill ourselves” by focusing on one particular grammar rule until we become experts at that rule. The same goes for vocabulary; many students think that they must spend one week memorising the definition for one word, or a few words, before they can move on to the next batch of words. Not only is this ineffective, it is boring to endure!

Instead, you can try mixing up your revision content. For grammar, consider doing a good mix of practices, such as revising three different grammar rules over two weeks,

instead of simply focusing on one rule for one week. For vocabulary, consider learning a bunch of related words at once, and using them in various contexts (eg. speech, writing in your journal, filling in comprehension cloze), instead of simply memorising their definition.

Before I end my post, let me reiterate that these techniques are considered high-intensity because it allows you to go through the cycle of forgetting and recalling on a frequent basis. Your first few sessions of revision might be intensely difficult, as you find yourself forgetting most of what you have just learnt due to the gaps in between your revision sessions.

School Holiday

However, fret not! Continue to keep at it and over time, this revision process will allow you to recall the rules and definitions so easily, you will probably be able to recite them in your sleep! Although using these techniques might be demoralising and difficult for you at the start, research has proven that revising in this manner results in being able to remember something for much longer! What you learn now in December will still be recalled in March or April next year, and by then, you will be an expert on the rules and definitions because of all these active recall sessions!

What do you think? Try out these research-backed revision techniques this December and I’m sure you’ll see results over time. Have a great holiday, everyone!

If you have other revision techniques that have worked for you, do share them with us in the comments section below.



Might Fit For Exams | English Revision

Want your child to be fully prepared for the exams?
Check out our “Mighty Fit For Exams” bundle. You get all our self-paced courses, our complete 30 Days Exam Preparation Roadmap and much, much more!
What are you waiting for?

Ms. Elysia

It is Miss Elysia’s passionate belief that every classroom experience holds the potential to both nurture and challenge a child. As such, her classes are fun, dynamic, and never a bore! As an educator, she strives to make every class an enriching one for her students and feels most fulfilled when her students leave class learning how to study hard, and study smart.

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Other related posts

Insert Exciting Dialogue Tags to Your Primary School Composition!
To start off with, let me share with you the power of using dialogue. Dialogue is an essential part of the story.
Teachers Who Love English, We Want You!
5 Commonly Confused Pairs (or is it Pears?)
Steps to Score Well in Situational Writing for PSLE English
I Love Reading | 3 Tips for Reluctant Readers
The First Write Recipe Workshop at Greenridge Primary School!
Understanding IF Conditionals!
Fans of Fiction: 3 Websites to Check Out This Holiday
NYT Copy-Edit This: Free Editing Resource
3 Writing Skills to Start Nurturing from Primary 2
5 Ways to Start a Primary School Composition
2 Common Errors to Avoid When Sharing Oral Stories
4 Lively Literary Devices to Use in Your Compositions
Comprehending Comprehension: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Understanding Questions
3 Composition Techniques You Can Reap From Reading
4 Fun & Interactive Classroom Display Tools!
How to Pronounce the /th/ Sound?
In this post, I would like to help you to start mastering the /th/ sound with 2 simple steps.
Perfecting the Paragraph: Know When To Start A New Paragraph
We all know that to write a good story, we need to have a clear structure. But how do we structure our stories? If your answer is, “by having paragraphs”, then you are very nearly correct.
7 Essay Types at the O Level
Five Essentials to Score for Formal Situational Writing
Let’s Go On A Learning Journey | Two Awesome Places To Visit During the December Holidays!
Activities for the Holidays!
Between Two Commas: How to Deal with Extra Information
Continuous Writing: 3 Specific Things to Check For!
PSLE English Specialist Teacher Wanted!
Paper 2: Don’t Lose the Marks Everyone is Getting!
5 Graphic Novels To Check Out This Holiday
Authentic Learning Activity | Editor on the Move!
Free News Sources for Kids
Holiday + Learning = Fun!
Primary 4 Marching Onto Primary 5: Changes You Need to Know for English
Continuous Writing | 4 Tips to Address the Topic
Reading | Video: A Totto-ly Delightful Read!
Conquering Correlative Conjunctions in Sentence Synthesis: 3 Commandments to Comply with
Drawing From Your Own Experiences To Write Well In Primary School Compositions
3 Ways to Build A Confident Child With Your Choice of Words!
Look Back in a Flash! 3 Ways to Craft Effective Flashbacks
Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now
“E” is for Empathy | What Every Primary School Child Needs!
3 Tips On How To Prepare For Primary School Oral | Stimulus-Based Conversation
Primary School Vocabulary: Confuse, Confused, Confusing? Which is Which?
Introducing: Mighty Monsterella!
Study Smart! | 3 Revision Tips for Primary School Students!
Announcing the Winner of our ‘Queen of Your Heart’ Mother’s Day Contest!
Accuracy in Situational Writing: Check for These 3 Things!
Comprehension | 6 Steps to Tackle “Support With Evidence” 2-Part Questions

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

Primary School English Tuition| Lil' but Mighty English