Reviewing before exams can be a long winded process, however, it needn't be completely teacher centered. One technique I've found extremely useful is to have students review materials by circulating around the room posting questions on sheets pasted to tables or to the wall. Focusing a wide variety of forms, and asking the students to circulate to fill in the sheets allows the students the ability to check on each other's answers. Of course, it also permits students to cheat off each other's answers. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The main purpose of this type of exercise is review rather than testing, so students who feel they need some help will see multiple examples from better students in class.
Key to the success of this type of exercise is discussion during the review session. I generally go from one form to the next. When reviewing tenses, I divide the review into four sections for each tense:
- Provide a time expression or phrase that indicates that the tense in question should be used. For example, if the tenses to be reviewed include the present and past simple, present and past continuous, present perfect and present perfect continuous forms each student places one time expression appropriate for that particular tense on the sheet provided.
- Positive sentence - students should provide write a positive sentence including an appropriate time expression. Encourage students to use the time expressions the have been posted previously on the individual sheets.
- Negative sentence - following the same instructions
- Questions - as above
Aim: Reviewing grammar before an exam as a class, rather than teacher centered
Activity: Grammar sheet to fill in by the students
Level: Any level
- Prepare a sheet for each grammar or learning concept that you would like to review in class. The sheet should be titled with the name of the form and a number.
- Place the sheets strategically around the room, the more space the better. You can hang sheets on the wall, or place sheets on tables.
- Give each student a number. If there are more students than sheets, double up on the numbering. If there are more sheets than students, it won't be necessary to number each sheet.
- Ask students to go to their assigned sheet. Ask the students to write an example of the form (if applicable) on each sheet.
- Encourage students to compare notes and ideas as they circulate around the classroom doing the exercise.
- After students have provided an example of each form, double check the sheets to make sure the review is progressing correctly. If there are problems, take time to discuss the issues with the entire class. Typical examples include students not using the base form of the verb in the question forms of the present and past simple, word order not being switched in question forms, etc.
- After the class has reviewed together, ask students to take their seats.
- Discuss any issues that are still unclear to the students.