Mar 24

Top Tips For Supporting SEN Pupils With Exam Revision

SEN is an umbrella term that refers to students with special education needs. Learners might have sensory and communication difficulties or delayed cognitive development – meaning they require extra support in and outside the classroom.

SEN pupils will have varying support needs, and with proper guidance and tools, they can reach all educational milestones and have the same further study and career options as their peers.

The key to ensuring an SEN learner progresses is offering support during the exam revision process to ensure nothing holds them back.

If you’d like to learn how to support an SEN pupil, stick around for our top tips. Let’s dive in.

Why Might SEN Pupils Need Some Additional Revision Support?

Pupils with SEN needs are covered under the 2010 Equality Act, which ensures schools have a legal requirement to offer additional student support. The support might include:

  • Sensory needs
  • Reading and writing
  • Understanding how to work with numbers
  • Learning boundaries
  • Socialising and building relationships
  • Cognitive difficulties

Exams can bring about nerves in even the most confident students, so when we factor in special education needs, it’s clear that extra support can be the difference between passing or failing the exams.

Supporting an SEN pupil with revision can:

  • Improve organisation skills.
  • Boost confidence.
  • Highlight areas for improvement.
  • Teach valuable exam techniques.
  • Secure the grades each student needs.
  • Give SEN pupils a passion for learning.

Let’s look at some excellent tips for supporting SEN pupils with exam revision.

Understand the student’s difficulties

Supporting an SEN pupil with revision requires understanding their difficulties and how they affect their learning. All learners have varying needs; taking time to understand them will ensure you can plan the revision journey.

For example, if the student consistently performs well in the classroom but struggles with effective communication, you can prioritise teaching them techniques to communicate their point.

Set achievable goals

Make sure your expectations are realistic and set achievable goals that won’t stress the student too much. Going all in with a goal to achieve a B in the subject places too much pressure on revising and can have a negative effect.

Naturally, pupils may not learn things instantly, so don’t put too much pressure on them. Instead, focus on manageable objectives, such as completing a book chapter or doing a practice paper, as the student will be able to build confidence by reaching them.

Create a revision plan

A well-thought-out revision plan will give an SEN pupil structure and direction by clearly outlining the exam date and topics to be covered daily. Include small goals within the plan, such as a practice paper or worksheet, that can be achieved by the end of the session.

Some students respond well to rewards when they finish a session. Remember, for individuals with Autism, consistency is key. Don’t create a revision plan you’re unsure you can stick to, as this could negatively impact the student – and learning process.

Once you’ve reviewed the material, accurately summarise it into key points, which will help them recall important information come exam time.

Break down the material into more manageable chunks

It can be daunting to face a mountain of notes when revising for an exam, but a simple way around this is to break the material into smaller sections and refer back to them as needed.

SEN students will respond negatively to pressure, so each session should build confidence.

For example, if you’re revising English Language, you could create an exercise that focuses solely on comma placement instead of grammatical activities that require the student to identify numerous punctuation errors.

By breaking the material down, you can focus on individual elements before bringing everything together.

Remember narrative techniques

Narrative techniques are a great way to help SEN students remember and recall information. These can include anything from diagrams to mnemonics, which can be incredibly effective for some.

For instance, if you’re revising with someone struggling to retain facts, create story-based scenarios that they’ll remember. The technique brings course material to life, makes it more interesting, as well as aiding with memorisation.

Use visual aids

Using visual aids is especially effective for SEN students who struggle with retaining verbal information. Images, illustrations, diagrams and other graphics are great tools to help explain complex concepts in an engaging way.

For example, if you’re revising geography, create a mind map with continents and oceans and pictures of landforms like mountains and rivers that the student can refer back to during their exams.

Invest in a private tutor

Private tutoring can be highly beneficial for SEN students since they offer 1-on-1 instruction tailored to the individual’s learning needs.

While classroom support is helpful, private SEN tutors will focus on the individual, identifying any knowledge gaps or areas for improvement.

A tutor can also act as a mentor and provide additional support outside the classroom – offering advice on staying motivated or teaching specific exam techniques.

For example, Fleet Tutors offers a fully interactive approach that focuses on identifying barriers to exam success and removing them. Each tutor also specialises in working with SEN pupils and has relevant teaching experience or qualifications.

Make learning fun

Learning doesn’t have to be dull – there are plenty of ways to make it fun. Incorporate games or activities, such as puzzles, quizzes and flashcards, into each session to make the subject more interactive and help the student retain information.

You could even incorporate the learner’s favourite TV show or music into each lesson, making it more fun and holding the student’s attention.

You can do so much, so feel free to get creative.

Final Thoughts

There’s no reason why SEN pupils shouldn’t have the same opportunities as other students, and with some understanding and extra support – they can.

If you’d like any help with revision, Fleet Tutors offers a fully bespoke service tailored to each student’s special education needs.

Please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team for more information.