Teacher launches exam support app


After working with his students to design an app to help with exam organisation and revision, Andy Buck is hoping the tool will help to make a real difference to students across the country.

The idea for the Exam Pal app came from having run the exams in my school for five years. Exam boards release the dates for exams months in advance but schools only tend to issue these and personal exam timetables in the weeks prior to the exams. 

When I asked my year 11 GCSE students when their exams were last summer they all held up a piece of paper with exam details, duration, venue and seat number (all of which can be stored in the app).

Furthermore, having mentored students for many years, I am constantly being asked:

  • When should I start revising?

  • What are the best methods?

  • How do I create a revision plan?

And so Exam Pal was really borne out of experience and a need I saw in my students.

After deciding upon a name with my year 11 graphics students and discussing the app’s layout and needs, the app slowly began to take shape with the help of local app design agency, 4fx Design & Multimedia.

The app takes the form of a personal schools organiser focusing on examinations and revision techniques. It integrates official exam board exam dates for students, provides exam countdowns, stores previous exam results, syncs to iCalendar and Google calendar.

It also enables students to put in their timetable, log and track homework and has access to key revision tips. The calendar function means parents can have access to their children’s exam timetables, revision timetables and homework alerts too. We have done constant testing throughout with a sample of students in school and the app has grown since our initial design thoughts and with excellent ideas and feedback from my students.

For us, it is about providing a tool to improve academic success especially with exams and revision. Many students want to revise but do not know the best methods and where and when to start. 

We currently have all the exam dates for the summer 2013 exam sessions for all students who are studying everything from GCSEs to GNVQs with the main examination boards.

We are thrilled that so many students have downloaded the app so far and are using it in preparation for forthcoming exams or on a daily basis for referring to timetables or logging homework.

Schools can also buy the app in bulk through the Apple Education Scheme to distribute to key year groups or targeted groups such as gifted and talented or intervention groups.

  • Andy Buck is a graphic design teacher from Hastingsbury School in Bedford.

Further information
Exam Pal is available on the App store and iTunes and costs £1.99. It is currently available for IOS devices such as iPhones, iPads, iPad-mini and iPod Touch. An Android version is in production. Visit www.exampal.co.uk
CAPTION: Revision aid: Graphic design teacher Andy Buck with his Exam Pal app


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