My approach to Tassomai… a student’s success story

 

Our case study is written by Martina Burrows, a student from Rainford High School, Merseyside who used Tassomai to help her get spectacular results in 2019’s GCSE science exams!  Martina was introduced to Tassomai through her school and despite some initial reservations she found an approach that helped her retain information and excel in all three sciences.

During my time in secondary school, science was always a subject in which I struggled immensely and as a result, lost motivation to do well in. As I began my GCSEs, this soon became a bigger problem for me. I didn’t want to fall behind in a subject which was worth 2 of my GCSEs as I’d opted to do the double science award GCSE in place of triple science.  

Like many other people I have spoken with, I had a number of different science teachers during my first year of GCSE. This had an impact on my learning and meant I effectively had to reteach myself a year of content whilst also revising the second year’s content during Year 11. In theory this should have been stressful and difficult, but surprisingly it was much more achievable than expected thanks to Tassomai :)

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Tassomai through my school’s subscription to the service. In my Year 10 and 11 mocks, I wasn’t happy with my science results. I was aiming for a minimum of a 7 in each science but was working at 5s and 6s, which I knew I could improve on.

My revision techniques weren’t working; staring at a textbook and copying down notes didn’t help me retain information or fully understand processes and concepts, and it was evident through my homework results and mini-mocks that I was underperforming.

I struggled the most with physics, which demotivated me even more and led me to believe I couldn’t ever do well at science.  

At the start of Year 11, Tassomai was set as a consistent weekly homework task for my year group to complete several daily goals a week. Initially, I didn’t believe Tassomai would be of any use, and as a result I did the bare minimum and didn’t invest any time or real thought into it. However, I soon came to realise that I had the most useful science revision tool available to me and I wasn’t using it in the most effective way that I could. 

After a year of using Tassomai, I found an approach to doing the questions that helped me retain the information really well and that became of incredible use to me during my final GCSE exams, which led me to understand and enjoy the subject as well as helping me excel in all three sciences...  

Firstly, I aimed to complete as close to 100 questions a day, which with the way Tassomai quizzes you, though short multiple-choice questions, made it easy to do so. I set aside time during different parts of the day. For example, I’d plan to answer 15 questions at breakfast, 20 in the late morning, 20 during the afternoon, another 20 during another period of my afternoon, 15 before my dinner and 15 before I’d go to bed. This way I’d get into a routine of answering questions, spaced out during a spare 10 minutes during my day. Of course, this wouldn’t be the case every single day of the year. Some days I didn’t have time or didn’t feel like it, but as I did so more often, I was able to complete questions more quickly and it would take less time.  

Secondly, I would complete questions from certain blocks, such as B1 or C3, until I would have completed 100% of the section and would be able to recognise the answer in seconds of reading, which I achieved through just constant repetition of reading and answering questions every day in little chunks. Once I’d mastered a block, I’d move on to the next.  

However, the most important thing is to remember to go back and test yourself on blocks you’ve already completed. This will ensure you retain the information in your long-term memory in preparation for your GCSEs.  

On some topics which I struggled more with, I did use other resources, weaved in with my consistent use of Tassomai. My other favourite science revision resources were a book I bought online that had exam-style practice questions for me to complete using my Tassomai knowledge and YouTube videos explaining the most difficult topics. (For me the most difficult topic in my whole science GCSE was electrolysis, which I managed to master myself :p) 

Doing this over the course of the year helped me boost my science results: 

  • Biology: I went from a 6-6 to 8-9 

  • Chemistry: 5-5 to 9-9 

  • Physics: (originally my weakest but ended up as my strongest!!) 4-5 to 9-9 

I was over the moon with my results and progress, which I attribute entirely to my consistent and personalised approach to my Tassomai use. I began the year unhappy and unmotivated with my weakest subject and ended up with my favourite set of results, alongside a newfound love of science. 

Of course it wasn’t easy, but with dedicating time and working hard, cliché as it sounds, it really is possible to do as well as you want to do and Tassomai was the most useful resource I had. I couldn’t have done so well without it!!

I didn’t continue studying science for my a-levels, as much as I wanted to, but I am now left with my GCSE results which I am incredibly proud of, and I continue taking an interest in science and learning more in my free time.

Martina Burrows

Tassomai student Martina Burrows