Friday Gem #29 – Revision Planning using Confidence Rating

Spring Focus: Metacognition – students selecting and organising the whole class revision plan

Teaching and learning Gem #29: Planning the Revision Process/Logging Progress


In this gem, I will be taking you through the way in which we use the girls’ own confidence ratings to plan the revision and teaching schedule in Computer Science, as well as promoting the idea of tackling your weakest topics first.


This Friday Gem was, in part, gifted to me several years ago on a course. The Chief Examiner for Computer Science at the time (pre-Govian A-levels) claimed that it should be possible for a student to fully revise for the A-Level in a single hour, as long as the students prioritised their revision effectively. Although I never did subscribe to that timeframe, I noted that students often simply start at the beginning of the specification and waded their way through to the end, rather than targeting the trickiest topics before fatigue sets in!

  1. First Review

After the Computer Science exam classes have finished the specification (this is usually just after Autumn Half Term), they have a single lesson where they are asked to give their gut reaction to the topics on the syllabus, in order to inform our planning of revision topics going forward.

They are provided with a grid, containing all of the spec points from the syllabus and a booklet full of revision questions which they can use as a stimulus for discussion. Working collaboratively, they discuss the specification points, look at the questions and rate their confidence on each topic (a score out of 5) by completing their column in the table:

Why it’s useful…

Taking these numerical snapshots of the students’ confidence lets the students:

  • Understand their areas of strengths and weakness
  • Discuss the topics and practice exam questions with their peers, to further their understanding
  • Feel more confident about the approaching assessment, as they look at more examination style questions and understand the types of questions and skills required
  • Find reassurance when all of their peers rate a topic with a low score

It also allows us to put the scores in a spreadsheet:

  • We can calculate an average student understanding for each topic
  • Sorting the syllabus from lowest to highest average, we plan our revision lessons to tackle those topics which the students are most concerned about first


  • We can also take an average per student and use this to identify anyone who needs a pep talk or who may need extra support:

Towards the End of Revision
The class comes back to the table again and we repeat the process again. Students are able to see their progress, having hopefully driven all of their confidence scores higher, which should help to prove to them that their hard work has paid off.