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Making a revision timetable that actually works

Just like an architect wouldn’t begin a project without a blueprint, you can’t just open a book randomly one day, begin reading and hope for the best.

A solid revision timetable not only guarantees you cover everything you need to, in time for the exam; but it also breaks everything down into more manageable chunks - much less scarier!

Once you start getting everything out on paper or screen, you'll have a proper idea of the task ahead. Can you afford a few days off here and there? Or is it pretty much full-on revision right up to the exams?

Let's get started on that winning revision timetable...

1. Compiling your timetable

A basic revision timetable is essentially a calendar; but instead of holidays and birthdays, it contains topics and subjects you need to revise on specific days. Yours doesn't really have to stray far from this model:
  • Divide however long you have until your exams by how many subjects you study
  • Then for each, divide all the topics and areas you need to cover accordingly
  • Keep it very simple or add extra fields, such as to note specific things you want to achieve in a session.
I​​f you can access your timetable on-the-go (via something like Google Docs or an app - see below) you'll have more flexibility over where you can study.

I find rigid timetables stress me out too much and I end up neglecting them. What I usually do is just make a timetable for the month I'm in and assign a sub-topic to that day. Wingsly, Tsr Forum Member

2. Prioritise

What subjects – or particular topics within those subjects – do you need to spend more time on? Perhaps some disappointing mock results have flagged areas you need to pay attention to? Or there are certain subjects where you need to achieve a certain grade, to progress into what you plan to do next?

Remember not to get cocky and neglect those subjects which you’re already strong at.

3. Regular refreshers

Don’t just cover an area once and move on. If you do this, the material you study first will be a distant memory by the time you come to exams.

Fit in time to revisit material. You can test yourself with past papers to check that it's sticking.

4. Approach subjects differently

Certain study methods will suit some subjects better than others. This might depend on how intense the material is, how it will be assessed or simply how you best retain everything.

For example, the following methods might work for you:
  • Flashcards for key dates in history
  • Jingles or rhymes for phrases you'll have to speak in a French oral exam
  • Pictures to identify parts of the human body in biology.
The length of your study periods can also be flexible according to what works for you. For example, you might find that two 45 minute sessions of maths, with a break in between, are most productive - but you can focus on your chemistry revision for longer periods of time.
One way to structure a revision timetable is to allocate revision sessions and breaks within certain times, such as 45 minutes of revision followed by a 15 minute break, which is repeated. Leviathan1741, Tsr Forum Member

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    5. Useful timetable apps

    Below are three popular apps to help structure your revision:

    My Study Life: an app to use throughout the year, not just during your revision period. Track homework and assignments, and organise your daily and weekly schedule. Everything is stored in the Cloud for easy access on multiple devices. Available on: Play Store, iTunes

    SQA My Study Plan: created by the Scottish Qualification Authority for Scottish students, the app creates a personalised study plan based on when your exams are you can import your exam timetable directly from SQA MyExams. Available on: Play Store, iTunes

    Timetable: if you're an Android-head, Timetable is one way to manage school life across your devices. The app even mutes your phone during lessons, in case you forget... Available on: Play Store

    Good luck with your revision! Thanks to the forum members over on The Student Room for their tips - you can follow the thread link for more discussion.

    Need more revision help? Our revision hub can help...

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