Revision software for examinations is being produced by an increasing number of publishers. Hill Mac Gibbon and Pan Books have now got together to issue a set of six Course Tutor packages covering Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Maths, French and Economics at ‘O’ Level. Each attractively presented package contains a Pan Study Aid Book, a Student Guide and two cassettes — Diagnostic Tests software and Learning Modules.
A core syllabus is covered in each subject, selected from topics covered by the majority of examining boards. This may cause students to become confused about which areas of the subject covered by the packages are relevant to their particular syllabus — but teachers should be able to clarify matters.
The Student Guide gives some useful tips on how to get down to serious studying and contains instructions on how and when to administer the diagnostic tests, together with the test papers themselves. These tests are extremely well constructed with the computer monitoring the time taken by the candidate to answer each question. By reselecting a question number, it is possible to change or revise an answer, and the ‘next question’ key can be selected to skip past a question if need be. Each test has a target time, but this is only for guidance, and the computer tells you at the end how well you would have done if you had stopped at the target time.
At the end of the test, 3 options appear for analysing the mark obtained. The full analysis option gives the correct answer, together with the marks you were awarded and the total number of marks available. The time analysis is shown by means of a bar graph of the time actually taken compared with the target time. Questions answered correctly have the time bar displayed in one colour, questions incorrectly answered in another. The final option gives a full written report of performance, including suggestions for further work. The overall percentage mark is shown at the top of the screen, together with the number of minutes taken. If the target time has been exceeded, the screen gives the percentage score that would have been attained if the test had been stopped at the target time. These packages are highly recommended as comprehensive and worthwhile study aids.