“Those who make the worst of their time most complain about its shortness.” – La Bruyere
Time management is an issue for all and is not a new problem. Looking at what some of the ‘wise’ have said about time management I discovered that they have actually given tips on smart revision without realising it. It clearly has been an issue for years!
“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late”. William Shakespeare
I find a session before Easter about the summer exams helps flag up that they should at least think about what is ahead. It helps stop the panicky reaction of the exams only being weeks away. It amazes me how students don’t know their months of the year. They seem genuinely surprised when you say in April that the exams start “next month”. It pays for them to plan ahead.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
Students need to grasp the nettle and sort their revision out to take advantage of the time ahead. The obvious first step is a revision timetable drawn up in the weeks prior to Easter. My students use a format with 3 sections for each day (am/pm/eve). Initially I get them to write in their exams. Then they should divide the specification up and allocate revision slots.
“How do you eat an elephant? Answer: A bite at a time.” – Children’s riddle, author unknown
Preparation of materials means the content they have to learn can be broken down into manageable sections. It is important they don’t overestimate how much they can do in a 3 hour session. As you know, preparing mind maps or cue cards on a discrete area of the specification is much more do-able than reading non-stop. It is also a good idea for students to prepare such materials for any exams that follow on rapidly from another so the student has something to remind themselves of the content in very little time.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” William Shakespeare
It is all very well planning to do some revision but we know that there will be days that are less productive. It happens to everyone. That is when ‘slack revision’ becomes useful. Rather than completely wasting time it is good if students pull out a laptop and get onto YouTube. There are plenty of short films on relevant parts of the course on many subjects and it means they are at least doing something related to the task in hand. It’s not ideal, but neither are computer games, Facebook or tweeting how they can’t revise!
“Take a rest. A field that has rested yields a beautiful crop.”- Roman poet Ovid
There needs to be some break though, even from ‘slack revision’. On the revision timetable I always encourage one of the three sessions a day to be kept free. Students will then feel refreshed and positive. The best kind of students!