The Exam Period is Here: How Will You Use Your Gained Time?

An article by Richard James Rogers (Author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management)

Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati

So the Easter vacation is almost over. Here in Thailand the local people celebrate Songkran – A Thai traditional holiday which is focussed on spending time with family and relatives.

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Having brought my Year 11 and 13 students to the end of their courses, I’m left a little deflated. Like a sprinter who’s just finished the 400 metres I’m left thinking: ‘What’s next?’

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Our final year students will hopefully have been revising like crazy this holiday: they need too. These exams will determine the next stage in their lives.

Use of gained time

Here are some things to bear in mind and consider for those of us who will find our timetables a little lighter in Term 3:

  • Invigilation: You’ll probably be asked to invigilate some exams if you’ve lost some of your timetabled classes. We must make sure that we are fully aware of our roles and responsibilities as invigilators (check again with your examination’s officer – don’t just assume that it’ll be the same as last time). We must be prompt and fully responsible during the invigilation process – the integrity of the exams is paramount and a snap visit from an exam-board representative can happen at any time. 
  • Marking: Gained time can be used to catch up with marking – especially for classwork and homework from students lower down the school
  • Feedback and mentoring: This is a great time to have one-to-one discussions with Year 1 IGCSE/GCSE students and ‘AS’ – Level/IBDP/SAT students. Make sure they know that you acknowledge and recognise their efforts and that you’re monitoring their progress. Re-evaluate targets or set new ones if these students don’t have targets already. 

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  • Tutoring: A great way to help students out and earn some some valuable cash at the same time. Tutors will be in high demand now that the exam season has started. Prepare resources in advance if you can and aim to deliver excellence every time – you’ll be surprised at how quickly your reputation will grow. Websites like Craigslist and Learn Pick are great places to advertise your services to potential students. 
  • Curriculum Mapping and Preparation for next year: Yes, get those long-term plans, worksheets, presentations, games and wonderful resources ready now. We all want to have a summer vacation (notice the word vacation there). Check out for great ideas and resources.
  • Pedagogy: Brush up on your teaching skills. Attend a class or seminar. Buy a good book and study it (e.g. The Quick Guide to Classroom Management, Mark, Plan, Teach and The Ultimate Guide to Differentiation)
  • Offer an extra E.C.A.: You’ll be engaging new students who you may teach in mainstream classes soon, and you’ll be seen as a proactive team-player. What could be better than that?

Do you have any further suggestions? Please feel free to comment by using the box below. 



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High School Science and Mathematics Teacher, Author and Blogger. Graduated from Bangor University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Molecular Biology and a PGCE in Secondary Science Education. Richard also holds the coveted Certificate in Mathematics from the Open University (UK). Richard is the award-winning author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management: 45 Secrets That All High School Teachers Need to Know

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