With four weeks to go before the written examination, I decide it is time to give the annual revision lecture. Tricky one this. As a teacher, your motives for hosting such sessions are pure: you are simply trying to get the very best out of your students, and preventing poor exam technique from tripping them up. But try convincing the class of that.

They think they are about to hear you give away the secret contents of their exam in a way that would make Julian Assange look like the soul of discretion.

I remember going to these revision lectures when I was an undergraduate. I remember not believing that my examiners didn’t know, or couldn’t remember, what would be in the paper. I hung instead on every word, noting every inflexion, measuring the emphasis in every sentence, all in a vain attempt to break the code that would reveal the contents of the final exam. Now that I’m the guy at the front of the class with the whiteboard marker, seeing the desperation in the students’ eyes, I realise that my tutors were telling the truth all along. I now know that the only proper exam hint any of them ever gave was that I should go home and do some revision.

So I decide that the greatest service I can do my class is to be candid. A little honesty here might go a long way.

“Look guys,” I tell them. “Hand on heart, I really don’t know what’s in the paper this year.”

Read the full article, as this struck such a chord!


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