What is a lab practical?
Lab practicals are a form of assessment in which students carry out experiments or investigations to answer specific questions. These experiments usually take place in the lab, but they can also happen outdoors or using online resources. The goal is for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a particular concept through hands-on activities.
This type of assessment is often used when teachers want to assess how well students have grasped an abstract topic by taking them back down to the basics and asking them to apply it in a real-life scenario. In many cases, this means that these assessments will be more challenging than traditional written exams, as there’s no way for the student being assessed to cheat!
However, because lab practicals are an active learning method, students will enjoy them more and be more likely to retain the information long-term. Lab practicals are becoming more popular as a form of assessment in schools around the world. Although there is some debate over whether they are appropriate for primary school children, many secondary schools make regular use of them to help prepare their students for assessments like GCSEs and A levels.
So, if you’re thinking about incorporating practical lessons into your curriculum or revising before an exam, read on to find out everything you need to know!
Why are lab practicals important?
Many teachers believe that the best way to ensure that their students have learned what they set out to teach is by assessing their skills in a real-life situation, and lab practicals are one of the best ways to do this. In addition, students may also feel more motivated during a practical class because they have a stronger connection to what they’re being taught.
This means that they will remember the information for longer and be able to recall it when required. Lab practicals are an engaging way to teach science concepts because students can carry out experiments themselves rather than listening to someone lecture or reading the information in a textbook.
They also allow teachers to assess the way students have interpreted the subject matter and if they can apply what they’ve learned, which is more relevant for examinations.
What will the lab practical be like?
Remember that lab practicals are not just another test! Instead of being assessed on how well you memorize facts, your teacher will be asking you to demonstrate your understanding of a particular topic by carrying out activities themselves.
This could include making predictions about what you think will happen when certain variables are changed, writing explanations of theory, and analyzing results to conclude what you’ve just done. Although lab practicals will be challenging, they should also be fun and allow students to work collaboratively because that is the best way to learn!
You may also find that these lessons are more relaxed than other types of lectures as there’s no set time limit, and your teacher isn’t limited by a specific number of slides or content to cover. However, this doesn’t mean you can waste any time; it’s important not to get distracted during class and remember that you need to complete everything you set out to do!
Before starting a lab practical, make sure you ask your teacher what they expect from it. Some schools prefer written reports, while others require the student to record their findings more visually. Whatever they are, try your best to include everything you can because it will improve your grade.
It’s also important that students understand how much time they have for this type of assessment, as some teachers will set out specific deadlines or require lab practicals to be handed in at particular stages during the academic year. If possible, make sure you double-check this with them, so you don’t miss anything!
What will I need for lab practical?
Every school is different, and every teacher likes different things, but if any materials are necessary for you to complete your task, make sure you find out about them beforehand! This includes safety equipment like goggles and gloves, which you should always use when conducting practical classes to protect yourself and prevent injury.
It’s also important to be aware of any specific materials that you will need for your experiment to work, like chemicals or utensils, because if they aren’t provided by the school, you may have to buy them yourself. If this is the case, make sure you go over what’s required with your teacher, so there are no surprises!
Are there any preparations I should make for lab practical?
If you’re going to be doing a lab practical, make sure you keep a copy of your notes and any previous lessons about the topic on hand. This means that if you feel stuck or unsure about anything during the lesson, having this information will help you work it out! It’s also important to ask questions beforehand to avoid wasting time later on because there’s nothing worse than being unprepared for an assessment.
There may also be equipment that needs initial preparation before it can be used, so also take note of what else has been listed as part of this task and don’t leave any steps until the last minute! The best way to find out is by going over the lesson with your teacher, so if it’s a topic that you struggle to grasp, put in extra work beforehand, so you don’t have to take any chances during the practical.
What if I fail lab practical?
Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t work out, and lab practicals can go wrong for a number of reasons. The most important thing is not to panic because there are always options available! You may be able to redo this assessment at a later date or perhaps carry out an alternative task, but whatever happens, it’s best if you stay positive and remember that everything will be fine as long as you remain calm and focused.
Remember, no matter how well or badly a lab practical went at school, the main thing is that you have gained more experience. This means you can go into your next assessment feeling prepared and confident, which will help improve your grade!