As students, we know that we should revise, but we can often find it hard when it actually comes down to it. Sometimes we may feel unsure of where to begin. Otherwise, we may feel that we don’t have enough time to fit everything in. You may even struggle to gather the motivation to even revise at all. One of the best ways to overcome these revision problems is to create a revision timetable.
Continue reading to learn how you can make your own revision timetable and maximise your revision. If you have exams coming up, stay tuned for more advice.
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How do you make a revision timetable?
A revision timetable is just as it says. It is a schedule of what you’re going to revise, when you’re going to revise it and sometimes even how you’re going to do so. As it is pretty much just a table with times down the side and days along the top, it can easily be made on a word document and filled in online or printed off.
A revision timetable is an incredibly useful resource that you will probably need for your revision. Making one is an incredibly easy process as long as you don’t overcomplicate it. To make a revision timetable that actually works, there are 8 simple steps that you need to follow. To learn more about these steps, you can check out this great Think Student article, but also look below for a quick summary of them.
1. Set the start date for your revision timetable
Now that you have an idea of what a revision timetable looks like, it should be a lot easier for you to actually start making one yourself. To do this, you need to figure out when you’re going to start revising.
While this may make you feel slightly lost or unmotivated, starting your revision is arguably the most important step for obvious reasons. Personally, I would recommend that you set your start date in the very near-future so that you have less time to procrastinate or make other commitments.
2. Schedule your worst subjects into your revision timetable
The purpose of revision is to get you ready for an exam. If you have subjects that you’re still unsure about, properly understanding them needs to be your priority for exam preparation. As they are your priority, you will need to allocate more time to revising and re-learning them. Putting them into your revision timetable first also ensures that you don’t forget about them.
3. Schedule your other subjects into your revision timetable
With your worst subjects as your priority, it can be easy to forget about all those of other subjects or topics that you actually understand. The danger with this is that despite understanding it, you may not be able to properly remember it in the exam.
This could turn the tides and make the subjects that you were confident in and the ones that you your worst by the end of your revision. To avoid this, you need to make sure that you are regularly revising your other subjects, but not quite so much as your worst ones.
4. Schedule breaks into your revision timetable
Having figured out what days you’re going to revise for each subject, it is important that you also figure out when to put in breaks. Taking a break is an important part of your revision timetable, almost as important as the subjects you need to revise yourself.
This is because it gives you a chance to rest so you’re not just overloading your brain with information. On top of that, taking breaks alongside your revision can boost your attention and focus, which can make your revision more successful. For more on this and other things to do during exam season, check out this Think Student article.
One way to implement breaks into your revision timetable is to use the Pomodoro technique. This is arguably one of the best methods of revision to use and it simply means that you take short breaks after short periods of revising. This allows your revision to be more efficient as your brain will absorb what you’ve just learnt more easily.
With this method, revision is normally done in 25-minute revision sessions and 5-minute breaks. However, you can adapt this to better fit your revision timetable. For more information about this technique and others, check out this Think Student article.
5. Plan fun activities alongside your revision
Having fun alongside your revision is important. For one, it can help you stay motivated so that when it actually comes down to following your revision timetable, you are more likely to do it. This is especially as it will help you to not feel as though you are constantly revising.
On top of that, you can use this time so that you’re not missing out on other parts of your routine. This could be hanging out with friends, going to sports clubs or anything else that you normally do to relax.
6. Workout your revision learning style
A learning style simply describes how you learn best. Although you may not fall perfectly into one category, there are 4 main types. These are visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinaesthetic.
For visual learners, resources such as pictures, diagrams and detailed notes can help them to better understand a topic. If you best learn visually, methods such as flash cards and mind maps will be incredibly useful to you. To learn how to use and make these effectively, check out the Think Student articles here and here respectively.
Auditory learners best learn from listening and through discussion. For revision, these learners may want to revise in a group, watch YouTube videos on their topic or read their notes or flashcards aloud to memorise them.
For people who learn best with the reading/writing style, it is exactly as the name suggests. For revision, students may want to read over their notes and then rewrite them multiple times, make mind maps or do practice papers.
For kinaesthetic learners, a hands-on approach is best. While practical work doesn’t translate as well into revision, there are still some ways to get around this. These students may want to move around while they go through their flashcards, listen to music while studying or maybe even try to teach someone else what they’re revising to stay engaged with it.
For more on these learning styles, check out this article from the British Council Foundation. Also, remember that these learning styles are just meant to be a guide so they shouldn’t dictate your revision. However, if you really want to find out what kind of learner you are, check out this quiz from Arden University.
7. Figure out how you’re going to revise
Working out how you learn best can make this step a lot easier. However, if you already have materials that you regularly use to revise that get you the results you are after, you should probably keep using them.
If you don’t have this, you could try different revision methods until you find the ones that work best for you. These may include flash cards, mind maps or even YouTube. To learn more about such revision techniques, check out this helpful Think Student article.
8. Make sure to stick to your revision timetable
Making a revision timetable means going through all of that work to fill in your schedule with your worst subjects, your better subjects, breaks, fun activities and then having to figure out how to revise. It seems like a waste to not actually use that revision timetable.
Plus, not using it doesn’t help your revision especially if you are revising randomly or not sticking to it as much as you had planned. This in turn doesn’t help with getting the results you want. Therefore, one of the most important things you can do with your revision timetable is to actually use it until your exams are done.
How much should you revise a day?
This section and the next section will go hand in hand as they slightly depend on each other. How much you should revise each day depends on how much content you have to cover and how much time you have to do it in. It also depends on how much time you can work well for.
As a general rule, in the months leading up to your exams, you should revise for about 2 hours per day. For GCSE exams or ones of an equivalent level, the maximum you should revise per day is 3 hours. Anything more will be straining. This in turn could make you feel overworked and damage your revision.
For A-Level exams or exams for equivalent qualifications, you should bot revise for more than 4 hours per day. This is especially as anything longer than this will make you much less productive and your revision may become pointless. For more information about how many hours you should revise for A-Level and GCSE exams, click here and here respectively to look at two informative Think Student articles.
If you start your revision earlier on in the school year, I recommend to just revise for about an hour per day before exam season. Having started so early, you should still be able to get through a lot of your content before exam season even starts. Also, revising like this should make your revision timetable in these early months easier to fit around other things that you need to do, including homework or any coursework that you may have.
When should you start revising?
As mentioned above, starting your revision is arguably the most important step in the revision process. Despite this, as students we can often feel unsure about when we should actually start revising. This is especially as it will depend on what you are revising for, how much you have to revise and how often you are planning to revise.
While it may seem too early, I would recommend revising as soon as possible or at least at the start of your exam year (so at the start of Year 11 for GCSEs and the start of Year 13 for A-Levels). This is to ensure that you have enough time to recap your content multiple times so that you know it inside-out.
On top of this, starting your revision this early means that you are more flexible to miss a few revision days. This can be great if you have lots of homework, coursework, any other commitments or even if you just don’t feel like revising.
However, if you really don’t want to start revising that early, I would suggest that for important exams the very latest you start revising is about 7 weeks before your first exam. If your exams are in May, this would mean that you would need to start revising in March. For more on this, check out this Think Student article.