27 Minutes is optimum learning time

The 27 Minute revision plan by Alex More

Based on the research into ALT (Academic Learning Time) I have devised a simple revision plan which works around 27 minutes per session to allow more maximum concentration and retention. This is how it works: GCSE subjects are split into 3 bands: 

The A band represents the core English (literature & language), Maths and Science (biology, chemistry & physics)

The B band represents the additional tier subjects normally opted for in the GCSE main. These vary student to student and include: Geography, History, MFL (French, Spanish)

The C band represents the option subjects and will vary depending on what a student has opted for. These subjects are normally; Physical Education, RE, Drama, Textiles, Art, Music etc 

Below is a sample GCSE revision plan based on the ‘27 minute model’ for a student who has taken A Subjects: Eng Lit, Eng Lang, Maths, Triple Science (Bio, Chem & Phys), History, Spanish Drama and PE.

It can be modified to suit any GCSE program. 

A typical week – the earlier students start this the better. Each slot is timed at 27 minutes and the revision is structured over a two week timetable

The 2-week schedule keeps rolling, using the RAG KNOWLEDGE CHECKER to tick off topics and confidence levels.

In terms of what students need to do in the 27 minute slot, here’s a guide based on the most reliable research (Hattie 2011, More 2017, More 2018)

Divide revision into two manageable episodes within the 27 minutes

What we know about students learning at home 

  • They tend to complete most of their school related work between 6pm and 9pm in the evening. Research by More on Flipped Learning 2017 & 2018.
  • They are ‘digital natives’ and rely on technology to check knowledge. This can be in the form of phones (84%) or tablets (12%) or other (4%). Prensky 2008. 
  • They use social media to check knowledge with peers, this can be useful but also dangerous. Check reliability and monitor screen time 
  • They will want to verify knowledge with a teacher or knowledgeable other (parent, friend) 
  • Teenagers have a different circadian rhythm to adults and are attentive late into the evenings, but not early in the mornings.

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