Active Revision: The Results

By Kate Gibson, Course Director.

We thought it would work, we hoped it would improve results; we knew it was much more than just a revision course…. And we were right! On the morning of the 23 August I sat nervously as my computer logged on, as tense as the thousands of GCSE students up and down the county who awaited their results; unusual perhaps for an adult who had neither sat the exams or taught the syllabus this year. I was waiting to see the hard evidence that the Active Revision Course, a Course that had never been done before anywhere else, had really made a difference to students’ grades. I was astounded with every click!

So what was the idea?

The Active Revision Course was designed around the same concept as Gordonstoun; that a balanced holistic approach is what is needed to learn effectively, but condensed this into a week of intense teacher-led, subject-specific revision sessions in English, Maths and Science. The Academic Sessions were interspersed with both aerobic physical activities and also shorter breaks filled with cognitive tasks to keep the mind focused and ready to return to more studying. This was combined with a healthy diet, yoga, mindfulness and a dedicated time set aside to be outdoors in the wild. All these elements had plenty of strong research behind them claiming to improve concentration and the ability to study, but this Easter was the first time that (as far as Google showed us) anyone had actually ever put this into practice with regards to revision; trying to turn theory and controlled experiments into a course that hoped to affect students’ exam results. Of course there are many revision courses on the market which are proven to improve grades, but it was the concept that by also looking after the mental health of our charges we could help them to study effectively and efficiently and develop skills for life.

So what about the results?

The short-term results were naturally more anecdotal: with students visibly buoyant at the end of even the first day of small classes and new activities, chatting about how much they had managed to learn. By the end of the week they boasted of new found confidence in their subjects, had pledged to follow the same timetable once on exam leave and some had even claimed they would keep up the morning run! But the real shocker was those mid-term effects which appeared digitally in late summer, when we saw the huge leap up in grades from the mock results. All students went up at least one grade in the subjects which they had taken on the course, most went up by 2 grades and one student went up by 3 grades. The longer term effects are much harder to measure, especially for Gordonstoun students who are already benefiting from an all-round education. But parents of some of the external students have written to thank us for the positive impact that the course and its structure and its nurturing staff have had on the social and emotional life of their children.

So what about the future for this unique Course?

The course was small but effective last year and we are delighted to say that we have already started taken bookings for next year’s course which runs from the 13 to the 19 April 2019 and we hope to see numbers increase. We have already had a great deal of interest and sign-ups are looking very healthy so if you would like to know more or sign up please visit our website or contact Kate, the Course Director, on or phone on 013430837818.