Managing your time effectively is the key to good revision. You should start planning your revision well in advance of your exams. Last-minute cramming isn’t a good way for anyone to revise!
Most students find what works best is making a timetable and sticking to it. A revision timetable is basically a calendar that sets out what times of day you’ll spend revising, how long for, and which subjects or modules you’ll cover on each day.
Structuring your revision
Your revision plan should start with the basics and build up to more advanced concepts as it goes on. This way, it’s easy to identify any areas you’re having trouble with. For example, if you’re revising Chemistry, make sure you understand atomic structure and chemical bonds before moving onto chemical formulas.
You can even apply this approach to the order in which you revise your subjects. You might find it easier to revise certain concepts in Physics if you’ve already covered the building blocks of them in your Maths revision, for instance.
Revising similar groups of subjects on the same day might be helpful too, but beware this can lead to blocks of the subjects you find most difficult all at once, which is a recipe for frustration. Make sure to vary things up if you’re finding certain days too hard.
How long to revise for
How you do it is up to you, it depends on how you learn best. At the least, aim for a 30-minute session every day while you’re learning a module, and four to six hours a day during study leave. You can extend your sessions if you’re still feeling motivated, but don’t overload yourself.
A bit of experimentation should identify what works best for you. You might find 30-minute blasts followed by ten-minute breaks help keep your concentration up. Alternatively, you might prefer to work for longer periods at a stretch and then enjoy a longer break.
Boring as it might sound, giving your revision a predictable structure and routine does help to make sure it gets done! Don’t worry if you miss a session here and there, just make up the time when you can.
If you’re constantly missing days and finding it hard to stick to a timetable, though, let your tutor know. You might need a bit of extra tuition before you’re ready to revise by yourself.
Other things to consider
When you’re making a timetable, you might want to consider things like:
- Subjects or topics you have trouble with and may need extra time on
- Reading last year’s examiners’ reports
- Studying past papers
- How many revision hours you have in total before your exam
- Refresher sessions on topics you covered early on in your revision
- Whether you need different resources (flashcards, videos, language partners etc.) for different subjects