It’s only another day until Spring term ends and Easter begins, and for many of you, that can only mean one thing. Revision!
At this point, summer and the end of the road may seem like a million miles away. For one thing, we’re still all in winter coats and stuck inside on the weekends. But in a blink of an eye, it will be warm and exams will be just around the corner, and you’ll be panicking if you’ve failed to do enough revision.
Easter is the most daunting time - you know you have to start, but there’s a hell of a lot to do, and you just don’t know whether to begin, while you can’t really picture yourself sitting in that exam hall just yet.
But if there is anything you do this Easter weekend, beyond stuffing yourself with one too many Easter eggs it’s to formulate a plan. It will ease the anxiety of what to do first, and means that you don’t have to think about the exams - just get through the targets you set for yourself each day, and each day will feel like an achievement in itself, especially when it comes to 10 pm and you find yourself in front of the tv with a tub of ice cream.
Formulating a plan, here’s how to start:
1. Find out the exact exam specification you are taking (so that you can revise using the correct past papers) and the syllabus of each subject from your teachers. Once you’ve got the syllabi you know what you need to learn from each subject. Break each subject down into manageable chunks in a list form, identify key subjects and topics, so that when it comes to creating your revision plan you will have covered everything.
2. With your lists, organise your notes so that you know you have information on everything you need - if not, you can ask your teachers for help. Arrange your revision materials so that they are all in one place and easily accessible and understandable, and if you like, in the same format.
3. Create a revision timetable - well-structured revision plans can really formalise what you need to do over the next few months, and continuously revising you’ll help calm your nerves when it comes to the exam.
When creating a revision plan you will need to think about:
How do you want to create your revision plan?
Modern technology means that apps such as Todait offer you a simple and efficient way to create a study timetable on your phone, with targets and motivation, website such as GoConqr , examtime and GetRevising let you build a plan on your computer, while you may prefer the old fashioned way of printing a planner, filling it in, and pinning it on your bedroom wall. The Organised Student offers lots of printable timetables, lists and to-do sheets that you can freely use.
Fill your exams into the timetable
When you know when your exams are, you can create goals for yourself, and you can also see the end in sight!
When do you revise best?
If you’re a morning person (unlikely, you’re a student after all!) plan your day so you’ve more to do in the morning, while if you are an afternoon or evening person, plan to start a bit later (however, no later than 10 would be ideal!) then add in more revision before lunch.
What are you going to concentrate on first?
Going through some subjects, such as English Language and Maths may help you with Religious Studies or History or Physics or Economics so you may want to plan to revise them first. You will also want to look at when your exams start and what exams come first. Depending on what you prefer, you may want to revise in the order of the exam timetable or you may want to do the basics for your final exams, leave them and study intensely for your early exams and finally return to them once the early exams are over, getting rid of a subject on your timetable.
How much time do you want to dedicate to each subject at once?
Are you good at studying in long bursts with small breaks, for example, 90 minutes with a 15-minute break, 50 minutes and a ten-minute break, or even 35 minutes with a 5-minute break? The choice is yours. You may also find that you need shorter studying times and breaks at the beginning of your revision, however when you start to do past papers and consolidate your subjects (rather than just learning from scratch) you can dedicate more time and have fewer breaks.
How much do you want to dedicate to each subject?
Not all subjects will take the same length of time to revise. Some subjects, such as Biology or History involve a lot of remembering, while you may find you only need a couple of revision sessions in Maths before you attempt past papers. Don’t feel that you have to dedicate the same amount of time to each subject - by breaking your subjects down into topics and key subjects you’ll have a rough idea of how much each subject will take.
Don’t forget the blank time
Make sure that you allow for extra time as you won’t know for sure how long each subject will take you to revise. You can then adjust your timetable accordingly a few weeks later when you see how it’s all going.
Remember your social life
Getting out and about and enjoying life is just as important, so remember to factor in any commitments you might have, for example, birthdays, playing a sport, cinema trips, etc.
Don’t fill your timetable up to the brim. Everyone needs a bit of downtime, whether it’s walking the dog, watching terrible tv, going to the gym - just remember to factor it in.
Colour code it
If you code both your timetable, either by subject, module or topic and match your revision notes to that colour it might help you recall your notes when you enter the exam hall.
Breaks after an exam
Who on earth wants to revise the evening of exams? No one! So factor in a break - don’t do anything too energetic and tiring, but going for a swim, eating dinner out with your friends, watching tv or reading, and forgetting about the day will be better than being back at your desk with revision notes in your hand.
Tick off your time
Every time you cross out a day it feels like an achievement. If you’re using a revision app you’ll be able to see how many hours you’ve revised each day, and over the course of a few weeks, it can really add up and feel satisfying.