Student-led vs Teacher-led Reviews

Should teachers let students control their own reviewing or should they guide them?

Cori Getzendanner, Writer, Reporter, Bad Reviewer

As the end of the school year draws near, AP tests and semester exams approach. Seeing these tests looming in the distance, students begin to review the entire years’ studies to prepare. With this development comes issues regarding the best way to review: should students guide their own studying, or should teachers lead it?

Student-guided reviews allow students to focus on what they personally need to work on. They don’t need to put extra effort into topics they are already familiar with and good at. When they guide their own learning, they can use techniques that work best for them; some prefer kinesthetic activities whereas others learn better by listening to videos.

However, when students guide themselves, they are more likely to get distracted or have minimal motivation. Giving students a huge review packet is also not helpful because it is monotonous and isn’t interactive. Plus, the teacher isn’t always right there to answer questions. While letting students be in charge of their own learning may make the students feel more involved, overall the advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages. 

When teachers lead reviews, they can teach the students exactly what they need to know. They obviously know the material better than the students, so they are able to help students themselves instead of making them wait until the next class or rely on Google. Teachers are able to keep the students more engaged and are able to immediately correct mistakes to prevent students from studying the wrong thing. 

In addition to that, they are able to make reviewing more entertaining by making it into a contest. By putting students up against each other, they will be more motivated to learn as much as they can to earn points and win prizes. While this may seem juvenile, it genuinely works. For example, Cortney Kays’ AP Biology “Kays Kup.” There are different review assignments each worth a certain number of points. For example, making 50 flashcards gets a student 5 points, and completing the entire math packets can get them 20 points. Students are divided into teams and go against each other to win the most points by reviewing as much as possible. 


Survey out of 34:

Teacher-led: 74%

Student-led: 26%


So, teachers, when you are beginning to plan reviews for your class, take into consideration what your students want. Do a survey of your classes, or use mine. In any case, make sure your students get the help they need.