GSCE ‘Bootcamp’ Revision Session – 16th April 2019

by Amelia Kinsey and Ben Bradley

In order to improve relations with the Old Operating Theatre for future collaborations regarding the Surgical Revolution and to promote the Age of Revolutions project to Schools around the UK, Amelia and I were sent to London to assist in a GCSE revision Bootcamp for the ‘Medicine Through Time’ module currently studied in GCSE History. The day began rather early, as we boarded our train to St. Pancras at 7:00 am!

Ben and I, as student ambassadors representative of the Age of Revolutions Project, were keen to make a good impression. Although a while since our own GSCE days, Ben himself had done the same ‘Medicine Through Time’ module at GCSE and we had both recently studied ‘Surgery, Science and Society from 1750’ here at the University of Kent. This reassured us we would be beneficial in our duties of assisting and encouraging the students throughout the day.

The session began with an informative introductory lecture from Julie, explaining the events to follow. This enabled us to gain insight into the students current level of understanding. A short game was then conducted by Hailey and Gareth to motivate the students to really get involved!

Structurally the bootcamp was ordered chronologically, literally going through medicine throughout time, categorising topics into various themes, including key figures to remember and any revolutionary aspects. Julie, Hailey and Gareth would lead the first half of each topic, giving a lecture and presentation detailing all the relevant information. Myself and Ben then got involved in the second part of each session. This was predominantly based on source analysis, as a segment of the GCSE paper requires students to analyse the given source and create their own historical question from their analysis and knowledge.

The sources varied in form, including diary entries, paintings, quotes and photographs. The students were very receptive in their analysis and were eager to discuss the sources and with both each other and Ben and I. There was a mixed bag in terms of student confidence, evident when discussing the imminence of the exam. Despite trying to wrap my head around the newly updated numerical grading system, it was obvious to see that the bootcamp was proving beneficial to all.

In-between topics the students were given refreshment breaks with a lovely selection of food and drink, allowing for a mental rest and a (hopeful) restocking of energy and enthusiasm for medicine! This was encouraged by a range of medical related sweets, courtesy of the Old Operating Theatre.

The students were open to converse about each topic, and noticeably as the day went on, why myself and Ben were there, what we were doing at university and how our own GCSE experiences went. Explaining the Age of Revolutions project, our objectives and roles within, seemed a pleasant distraction for the students, who after 6 hours of revision were getting restless!
In addition to allowing the students a break, discussing the project allowed us to promote the work we were doing to the students, with some even asking for the links to the projects website so they could see for themselves. Finally, we ensured the students they would be fine if they revised and stayed calm and it was time for myself and Ben to leave.

At the end of the session, there was lots of great feedback from the students and I left wishing I’d had the opportunity to attend a revision bootcamp in my GCSE days. Admittedly I wouldn’t say no to the University setting up something similar for my own upcoming exams!

We would like to say a big thank you to Julie, Hailey and Gareth on behalf of the Age of Revolution Project for organising and hosting the bootcamp and for allowing us to be part of the experience.