Revision Skills and Mentoring

Introducing Caroline Reynolds, former English teacher at Churchers School, Petersfield, where she was also the co-ordinator of ‘Springboard’ – a system devised to support students with their revision. Now she is offering private sessions to motivate your teenager into revising more effectively.

When your child has stepped up to the plate, cleared the decks and even turned down plans with friends, in order to face up to – finally! – the onerous task of exam revision, it can be very dispiriting to behold them wandering round the house listlessly, revision book in one hand, phone in the other, and learning, it would appear, not a jot.

Setting out with good intentions unfortunately counts for nothing when there is no method. A child who has been ‘having a good time’, and is starting their revision in earnest for the first time, may find the experience akin to opening up an old storage cupboard. On discovering the extent of the jumble inside, the temptation is to shut it again. You certainly don’t want to start taking things out, if only to discover the extent of the mess that’s stacked up behind.

Better not to know how little you know.

Caroline Reynolds  sees her role as helping children break through the wall that’s stopping them from getting on with the task. Imagine this wall as being made up of many different bricks, each representing something which is stopping your child from achieving their goal.  For example:-

Complacency – “I only need 5 B’s to get into sixth form”. Fear of failure – “lt’s less embarrassing if I don’t try.” Lack of vision about how exams link us to our future.
Lack of confidence – “I’m rubbish at exams.”


Revision is boring!
Rebelling against nagging parents and teachers. Lack of self-discipline – “I’ll just check my Instagram first….” Self-image – “I don’t want people to think that I care”.


Caroline aims to help the students understand themselves and what motivates them, and then tailors her sessions around who they are as individuals. She helps them root out a reason to revise. Some children, who are naturally compliant, don’t need a reason, they just do as they’re told, but many need to understand why they should make the effort. After that, she helps them develop their own revision routine – one which suits them and is manageable.

She says, “What I do is create quick initial tasks for the students which they can achieve easily. Once they have been praised and experienced the satisfaction that success brings, they feel encouraged to try harder”.  She adds that it’s important to acknowledge how tedious revision can be. They’re not alone in finding it all a grind.

So why can’t we mentor our own children in this way? “No teenager listens to their mother!” Caroline declares. She recalls a time when as a teenager she would come home from school and switch on the telly. The plan was to relax until 6 o’clock when the news came on and she would go upstairs to revise. At 5.55 her mother would come in: “I hope you’re going to go upstairs soon”. At that, Caroline decided she would not do so after all. If forced upstairs against her will, she resolutely did no work. She was literally cutting off her nose to spite her face.

Our role as parents, it would seem, is a background one. We should facilitate, support and praise whenever possible. For the business of active guidance, Caroline is the woman to try to empower and inspire your child. If you would like to book a session with her on behalf of your child, please get in touch.