How to make a revision timetable and stick to it
When you make a revision timetable there are two vital things you must do:
- make a timetable that meets your revision needs
- stick to it once you've made it
Today, I'm going to show you how to make a revision timetable that works and some tried and tested techniques to help you stick to it.
How to make a revision timetable
I've got a really thorough step-by-step guide on how to make a revision timetable here. I also have a 5 day email course (it's free!) that takes you through the process step by step. It's called the revision planning kickstarter. Pick the one that's best for you. In this blog post, I'll give you a basic outline of what's involved. Then I'll explain how to stick to it!
A revision timetable is basically a project plan. People make project plans whenever they've got a big task to do over an extended period of time. So, civil engineers will have one when they're building a motorway junction and novelists will have one when they're writing a book.
Your plan should bring together two things:
- What you need to do (that's the subject content you need to revise)
- When you need to do it by (that's when your exams are)
What you need to do
You can find out what subject content you need to revise by downloading a copy of the specification. I show you how to find your exam specifications here.
Once you've got your exam specifications you need to decide which bits of knowledge you need to revise most urgently by analysing your strengths and weaknesses.
When you need to do it by
Your deadline for completion of your revision is the day of each of your exams. So, your first step is to find out when your exams are.
Then, you need to work out how long you've got until each exam and timetable when you're going to revise each piece of subject content so that it's all covered before the day of the exam.
Download a revision timetable outline here.
How to stick to your revision timetable
You're full of good intentions when you make your revision timetable. You think that just planning everything out is the key to your success.
Well, you're almost right. Planning is very important, but at the end of the day, it's just busy work. You need something else to stick to it.
Here are my vital tips on how to stick to your revision timetable.
Make your revision timetable one week at a time
Why do I say this? Because each week you'll find out more about what works and what doesn't work for you. You'll see whether you like to revise a wide variety of subjects each day, or stick to one subject. You'll find out if you can work for 20 minutes before a break or 60 minutes.
Knowing these things will allow you to tweak and adjust the way you plan out your revision according to your own personal quirks and needs.
A word of warning though: don't just make a revision timetable for one week. Keep making new ones and refining them as you go along.Make your revision timetable one week at a time. Click To Tweet
Expect to tweak it and make it perfect
I talked about this a bit above. However, Iots of things will shift and change as you go through your revision period up until your exam.
The weaknesses you identified at the beginning may become your strengths, meaning you need to focus on other areas. Or, your weaknesses may stay weak and need more time as you go along to help you sort them out.
Things may change in your life. Life goes on, even while you're revising. If something happens e.g. your family gets a dog, you might have to find time to walk the dog. Other things change too.
Never expect to make an eight-week long revision timetable and expect things not to change. They will.
Make time for homework and coursework tasks as well as your revision
Especially when you first start to revise you'll still be receiving homework and coursework tasks. Make sure you allow time to do these tasks each week. If you don't you'll end up doing one of two things:
- Wearing yourself into the ground with too much work
- Failing with either your revision timetable or your homework/coursework
Neither you nor I want either of these things to happen. (This is also a good reason to make your revision timetable one week at a time).
Turn distractions into incentives
How familiar does this sound?
You come home from school knowing that you need to do some revision. However, it's been a long day at school and you're feeling a bit weary. You make yourself a cup of tea, lie back on the sofa and start playing on your phone.
Before you know it your tea has gone cold and an hour has gone by. No revision has been done.
There are two ways to deal with this.
- Set a timer for your down time. Everyone needs a break so acknowledge that. However, put limits on it by setting a timer. When the timer goes off, you get to work.
- Use your distractions as rewards for getting the work done. Promise them to yourself as a gift for doing good work if you focus well on a task and get it done.
Learn more about turning distractions into incentives.Stick to your #revision timetable by turning distractions into incentives. Click To Tweet
Flex your willpower muscle
When all is said and done revision isn't a walk in the park. Neither is it a ride on a roller coaster or an evening watching your favourite band. It's work.
If you're really determined to meet your target grades you will have to flex your willpower muscle fairly often. The more often you flex it the stronger it will get. And, it will be easier to flex the more committed you are to your goals.Meet your target grades by flexing your willpower muscle. Click To Tweet
Use revision techniques that work for you
Everyone learns differently. Make sure you're using revision techniques that work for you.Everyone learns differently. Make sure you're using revision techniques that work for you. Click To Tweet
How do you do this?
In your head you constantly need to be asking “Am I learning? Is this knowledge sinking in?” If it's not working something needs to change. You might just need a break, or you might need some new revision strategies.
Find out which revision techniques work best for you by downloading the free chapter of my book The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take.
Mix it up
Don't always use the same old boring revision techniques. There are loads of revision strategies out there that could work for you. Check out these 6 revision techniques to re-energise your exam preparation.
There are also 40 different ways to revise listed in my book The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take.
Yes, but it's not that easy!
I hear you. It's all very well for me to sit here telling you how it's done. It's different when you're trying to do it.
If you're struggling to make a revision timetable or stick to it (or both) check out how you can work with me more a member of my team of academic coaches.
Question: How do you make sure you stick to your revision timetable? Leave your answer in the comments below.