Revision timetables – success through planning!

No matter how many exams you have, a well-planned and workable revision timetable is the key to helping you manage GCSE Revision timetableyour time effectively and efficiently.  Here are five top tips to guide you through…

1. Revise in the same order as your exams.

Think about when your exams actually are.  Check your Statement of Entry (if you are taking a public exam, you will have one of these) to find out the order of your exams.  Then translate this into an order of revision; for example, if you have an English exam a week before a Physics exam, begin revising English first.  If you have a three-day break between exams, focus firstly on the earliest one and then use the three-day break to focus on the second.  It’s not an exact science, but it is a guiding principle.

2. ‘Topics’ and ‘units’ are easier than ‘subjects’.

You are likely to have more than one paper for each subject you are sitting.  Trying to fill in ‘Biology’ for a morning’s revision doesn’t really offer you the specifics that you need to revise efficiently.  Instead, break it down; ‘Biology – Unit 1 – Topics 1, 2 & 3’ sets out clear aims, and is a much more focused and realistic approach in the timeframe.  Treat each subject as a collection of topics or units, check which paper you are sitting first, and then combine with tip 1 to ensure you are prioritising the earliest exam within each subject.

3. Plan your day like a school day.

If you attend 5 hour-long lessons in a day, why not plan to revise for 5 hours?  If your school/college grants you study leave then you’ll be in charge of structuring your days – your mind and body are used to a routine with set breaks, so there is no sense in changing this.  If you break for lunch at 12:30 normally, then break for lunch at 12:30 whilst revising.  You will also be able to add on ‘homework’ time.  If you don’t have study leave, then you can to structure your evenings and weekends in a similar manner.

4. Be flexible and realistic.

Sometimes even the best laid plans go asunder.  You might get through some topics quicker than expected  – great!  You might not make as much progress as you wanted – don’t panic! Be prepared to revisit your timetable and make amendments that reflect your changing circumstances.  For this reason, an electronic timetable is very useful.  You also need to be realistic from the outset; it is unlikely that you can manage 12 hours revision a day, so why set yourself an unattainable goal?  Think about what you can really manage; consistently failing to meet an unrealistic goal is not going to make you feel confident or well prepared.

5. Prioritize the hardest bits.

Our natural inclination is to avoid the things we find hardest, especially when we have a lot of other things to do.  But it is the road to disaster!  Instead, allocate extra time to things you find most challenging.  One way to do this without making yourself miserable is to use the ’10 minute rule.’  This is much as it sounds – you spend 10 minutes on the thing you really don’t want to do.  No distractions, no procrastinating, just do it.  Tackling things head on is a much better way to lessen stress than ignoring them and then feeling guilty.  Plus, you will feel so much better after 10 minutes that you could probably even manage another 10!

Study Skills

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