Drill Those Definitions

The Importance of Definitions

I do a lot of physics tutoring and have spent the last week addressing exam technique with my tutees.

I have already taught them the magic trick for longer questions (click here for the exam technique magic trick!) and have been surprised at how few of my students have learned the basic definitions.

So, this weekend, I sat down and counted the percentage of each exam paper that relied simply upon learning definitions and formulae.

Can you believe that 9-11% of each exam paper was devoted to basic recall of definitions and formulae!

With this fact in mind, I will dedicate the rest of this blog to one simple tool that will help memorise basic definitions and formulae.

Quizlet

What is Quizlet exactly?

It starts with flash cards. Students can make their own, or choose from millions of flash cards sets created by others. But that’s just the beginning – once you’ve got flashcards, you can use several study modes including multiple choice tests and study games. You can add images and listen to audio, and even study on the go with one of dozens of Quizlet-compatible mobile apps.

Students are the core of Quizlet. It is easy to create and share study materials, to study with a few friends or an entire class.

Quizlet is absolutely the tool I use when drilling definitions into my physics classes.Sally Weatherly

My Quizlets

I’ve made loads of Quizlet sets in the last 5 years and always use them around this time to help students revise key terms. Please feel free to search the term “Fettes Physics” when you start on the www.quizlet.com site. We have set up a number of different sets of definitions that relate to the different exam boards we teach.

For example, we made many sets of definitions up for the Edexcel International GCSE. Click here to view our Edexcel IGCSE definitions set.

The student can use the following options to help them study and play:

Have you created useful Quizlets?
Share your link in the comments below

Quizlet Study

  • Listen to the definitions (great for the auditory learner!)
  • Flashcards (saves them wasting paper)
  • Speller (listen to the term and spell it)
  • Test (includes written, multiple choice and true/false questions)

Quizlet Play

  • Scatter (make everything disappear by dragging correct terms on to their definitions)
  • Gravity (type in the correct definition before the asteroid reaches the bottom of the screen)

Here’s a screenshot from the Gravity game:

quizletgravitygame

Where to Quizlet?

The beauty of Quizlet is that there are so many options on how your students access it.

We had an IT suite opposite our classroom and could book the class into this IT classroom during revision lessons.

OR Quizlet has its own apps, which the students downloaded on to their phones. Imagine the excitement when I told them to get their phones out in class and start using them!

 

Quizlet Demo

Quizlet have produced this super short video on how it works, but it really is best to have a wander around the site.

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Have you created useful Quizlets?
Share your link in the comments below


About the Author

Sally

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Sally is the Guzled founder and, more importantly, a part-time physics teacher at Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh. She led a large and vibrant department for 7 years, after training to teach in London. She is a Trustee for Dynamic Earth, an IoP Teacher Network Co-ordinator, a Practical Advisor for AQA and guest lecturer for Stirling University.