Built on research


Smart Revise is built on over thirty years of classroom experience and educational research. Simple strategies such as starting revision early is at the core of Smart Revise. We believe the best revision starts after the very first topic has been taught. Smart Revise is not a revision guide, it is a course companion that redefines what most students and teachers think of as revision. To us it is continually practicing recall of previously taught material throughout the course, and not just at the end.

Ineffective revision

Reading work, text books and revision guides. When a student simply reads or rereads their books or notes it creates an illusion

of knowing, when in fact many studies show students get nothing out of it. Revision guides are useful for reminding yourself of a concept in a short, easy to digest way, but on their own they will not raise attainment.

Using highlighter pens on notes. Surprisingly highlighting does little to boost performance and it may actually hurt performance on higher-level questions that require inference making.

Inefficient revision

Making notes is better than reading them, but they are far more effective if they are written as questions. That is why the Cornell method of note-taking is very popular.

Revising with friends. Many students like to get together with their friends to study. When that happens, the time will be used less efficiently – even if they are using a good technique – than if they were doing it on their own.

Effective revision

Spaced practice. Attempting to retrieve knowledge frequently. Doing the same practice again and again over a long period of time, not just at the end of the course. Smart Revise is built for this.

Retrieval practice. Instead of reading or using flashcards passively, writing definitions and answers to questions. Smart Revise is built for this.

Interleaving. Mixing up topics that have been previously taught is three times more effective than “blocking” (only looking at one topic at a time). Smart Revise is built for this.

Understanding the exam, practice questions and applying mark schemes. Smart Revise is built for this.

The forgetting curve

In 1885 Hermann Ebbinghaus hypothesised that memory of facts is lost over time. It’s pretty obvious. Every teacher experiences this in their classroom. Ebbinghaus concluded that the best methods for increasing memory retention included spaced repetition based on active recall. In 2015 Murre, J & Dros, J. replicated the study with similar results.

Smart Quiz was built to specifically address the forgetting curve. Many teachers report that it has had an outstanding effect on the confidence of learners and their results when used consistently several times a week throughout the course.

Active not passive

Reading notes and revision guides is proven to be of little value. Writing definitions and answers to questions instead of reading them is far more valuable. That is why Terms has an interactive mode and why only multiple-choice questions are automatically marked.

Doing lots of past papers is essential. It is far easier to answer questions in a real exam if you know what to expect from both the questions and the mark schemes. Unfortunately the exam board past papers are quickly exhausted and let’s face it, they are unlikely to ask exactly the same question again! Questions in text books and revision guides are OK, but they can be limited and sometimes ask for knowledge that isn’t even included in the specification! Smart Revise not only includes hundreds of new questions, each one is also written by an experienced teacher or past examiner.

Our inspiration comes from these studies

Murre, J., Dros, J. Replication and Analysis of Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve

Dunlosky J.et al, 2013. Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Weinstein, Y., Sumeracki, M. and Caviglioli, O., 2018. Understanding how we learn.

Cepeda et al 2008, Spacing effects in learning: A temporal ridgeline of optimal retention

Lonka et al 1994, The effect of study strategies on learning from text

Gurung et al 2010, Focusing on how students study

Spitzer 1939, Studies in retention

Butler 2010, Repeated testing produces superior transfer of learning relative to repeated studying

Karpicke & Blunt 2011. Retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping