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How to prepare your child for the new CE 13+ Science exam

I feel incredibly grateful that I have the Hodder (formerly Galore Park) Revision Guides and Exam Practice Questions and Answers books on my bookshelf at home. I am not just saying this flippantly:

  • It really does give me a sense of security to know that my daughter, who is sitting CE 13+ next year, will have ISEB-endorsed resources to help her revise for the exams.
  • They will also provide me with a comprehensive guide to the new specifications and everything she needs to know.
  • Having these resources at home also means that I don’t have to rely on books and worksheets making their way home in her school bag every weekend! There’s always bound to be something missing!
  • Schools typically cover the 13+ specification in Years 7 and 8, so there’s quite a lot of material to gather together and revise. To have it all in one place in the Revision Guides is invaluable.

As with all revision it is important to start early. Everyone is different in terms of their ability to retain and understand information. Some have to work harder than others. Some will know how to revise, others will struggle. The Hodder Education (formerly Galore Park) Study Skills guides are an invaluable resource if you want to understand more about how you learn and how to master the strategies for learning, retaining and recalling information effectively. I have used these guides to help understand what type of learning my daughter’s brain prefers and therefore the best study skills to use.

So, what is my plan as far as science revision goes?

  • Firstly note that the ISEB have updated the specification for the 2023 CE 13+ exams. It has a reduced content and an updated form of assessment.
  • There is a move away from a predominance of recall to a greater emphasis on understanding and awareness of significance. It also emphasises the importance of practical and analytical skills.
  • The CE 13+ Science Revision Guide is structured to clearly cover the three ‘Learning Outcomes’:
    • Know – specifies knowledge to be learned and recalled.
    • Understand – requires pupils to apply their knowledge to familiar and novel situations.
    • Recognise – requires pupils to show an awareness of the significance of their knowledge and understanding to science and society.
  • Don’t plan to learn everything in the revision guide – your child probably knows a lot already. You could start by:
    • Working through some practice questions, which can reveal knowledge gaps (the answers are given in the back of the book!).
    • Reading through the contents page of the Revision Guide and highlighting any topics they feel they don’t know very well.
    • You could use the sample questions set by topic in the Revision Guide to check they really do know and understand what they say they do!
    • Running through the list of command words, which indicate the type and depth of answer required.
    • Have a look at the science specific exam tips.
  • Once you have identified the topics that need revising you can draw up a revision plan.
  • Based on your child’s learning preferences you can then decide on the study skills that will work best for them. My daughter for example is a visual learner, so the following techniques work well:
    • Bullet point notes using colours and highlighting key words.
    • Flow charts and Mindmaps
    • Mnemonics, such as MRS GREN for the seven life processes (Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion and Nutrition)
    • Drawing pictures and sketch diagrams.

That’s the theory! Now the key is to persuade our children that revision is essential and that they will have a greater chance of improving their level of success if they revise. I hope that you like me come to see that the Hodder Education (formerly Galore Park) revision resources provide a tremendous support in preparing our children for exam success.

Success will give them the confidence to think and achieve for themselves. If they can master this now it will set them up for the rest of their lives.

Louise Martine is a Freelance Publisher and Business Consultant, and is also a school governor. She has four children who have all been through the entrance exam journey, which has given her an insight into education and how to guide the various personalities through school, revision and school exams. Louise is also the author of Hodder Education's (formerly Galore Park) Study Skills 11+: Building the study skills needed for 11+ and pre-tests and the 11+ Maths Revision Guide, as well as Achieve Times Tables.

Order our new Common Entrance 13+ Science Revision Guide (also available as an eBook) and our Exam Practice Questions and Answer book online here. 

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