Making the most of quiz books


Myself and Andy Lewis are proud to have some GCSE religious studies quiz books published by John Catt. I thought I would share what they are and some ways in which these might be used.

What are they?

The books are based on all GCSE specifications for the new, reformed GCSE religious studies courses.

They have quizzes on the main topics for each religion, repeated 6 times, but with the questions in a different random order. Students should complete a quiz, check their answers and write their mark on their mark tracker. At another point in time (see below) they should complete the quiz again and record their mark. The aim is for them to improve each time if not get full marks.

They are knowledge quizzes. They aim to help students to learn and retain key facts, quotations and reasons. They are the foundations for being able to write coherent, well supported exam answers. They should be used alongside practising exam questions; not as an alternative.

Why is testing useful?

“Testing is a powerful means of improving learning, not just assessing it.” Roediger & Karpicke (2006)

Research on how we learn suggests that the testing effect is a good way to retain things in our memories (Roediger & Karpicke 2006).

Repetition is also useful and research suggests that repetitions at increased intervals (spacing) might have more impact on long term retention that at equal intervals. This blog by Mr Benney discusses what might be the optimum spacing.

What does it mean for the use of these books?

Whoever uses them should consider when they will do each of the 6 quizzes. For example, increased intervals 50 days before an exam could be:

  • Day 1 quiz 1
  • Day 3 quiz 1
  • Day 7 quiz 1
  • Day 14 quiz 1
  • Day 28 quiz 1
  • Day 49 quiz 1

I recommend that the quizzing of a topic starts as soon as you’ve taught/learnt it. So, from the start of the GCSE, rather than at the end.

How could they be used?

With students

  • They could be used as a starter/plenary for a lesson to help students recall content.
  • A student that works elsewhere (out of class, in hospital, at home ill etc) can easily use them. You can tell them which quiz/zes you want them to complete and they can self-check.
  • As regular homework. The teacher can set a specific quiz/zes but should consider when they set the repetitions (as above)
  • They would be useful for cover lessons as the students can ‘self quiz’ and check the answers themselves.
  • As revision for students that have completed the course and have time to repeat the taught content through testing
  • For private tutors that want to give a student a short knowledge test
  • As a knowledge audit – for the student and/or the teacher to work out what they do/don’t know and what they need to focus on to improve.
  • TIP: Give students a revision plan starting as early as possible. If you give them a date/spaced plan it will help them to be organised.

Here is a FREE revision plan for the 2020 GCSE Religious studies exam to use with the Christianity book

With teachers

  • For subject knowledge enhancement – as testing is a good way to help retain information for the long term, these books may help teachers that want to brush up on their subject knowledge
  • Trainee teachers – those new to RE can use these to help learn knowledge needed for GCSE RS.

“To state an obvious point, if students know they will be tested regularly (say, once a week, or even every class period), they will study more and will space their studying throughout the semester rather than concentrating it just before exams.”

Roediger & Karpicke (2006)


To order the books…..



Catholic Christianity with Judaism (by Andy Lewis)

The books are also available directly from John Catt. They will give discounts on bulk orders so please contact them.


Roediger & Karpicke 2006


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