Grab a pen and several pieces of paper and I’ll walk you through the process of creating a revision timetable. By the end of this guide you should have a full-fledged schedule that tells you what to study when. Let’s go…
Step 1: How long are you revising for?
After you’ve figured out much time you will spend on each subject, then you need to consider how much time you have left before your exams. How long is your revision plan going to be?
- A year
- Half a year
- 3 months
- 1 month
- 1 week
- Or even a day?
If it’s a month, a week or a day, you will want to refer to my guide on creating a study plan for binge-revision (coming soon).
This post focusses on long-term revision timetables, as the shorter plans look slightly different.
Step 2: Prioritising
Print off a calendar
For the long term plan, I recommend that you get a calendar from the internet. My favourite website is calendarpedia, because it has all sorts of calendars. I prefer using the monthly calendars in landscape orientation (template 1), because they have so much space for you to fill in all the details. For each day, you can include the subject, the topic and even the time (if you want to).
Schedule rest before revision
Before you start writing, I suggest that you think about taking time off as well. Plan at least 1 day each week without revision, but preferably 2-3 days. Cross out those days on your calendar.
This is very important, as free days give you extra flexibility in case you need to reschedule. This gives you time to catch up on stuff, because you don’t want to be working on your normal day’s workload plus the tasks you could not finish. That’s too much.
Don’t overburden yourself. I’ve made that mistake before; a schedule so tight I couldn’t keep up left me stressed and overwhelmed after just two weeks. Not a good idea for long term planning.
Leave time for your last minute revision
If you’re on a 3 month plan, leave your last 2 weeks blank. That’s one free month for half a year’s plan or two months for a year’s worth of studying. Why? In that time frame, you will want to follow my study plan for binge-revision (coming soon).
Alocate study sessions
Calculate your total number of study sessions:
# of times you are revising each week * (# of weeks of the plan – blank weeks)
eg.5 times a week* (12 weeks plan-2 weeks blank)= 5*10 is 50 study sessions.
Calculate how many study sessions you can dedicate to each subject, using the proportions of your revision (from step 6 on prioritising):
eg. 25% of the time on Geography: 25/100*50= 12.5 or 13.
Pick the days for revising each subject, preferably spreading subjects equally over your timetable.
Give each scheduled subject slot a fixed topic. Make sure you cover all the topics for your subject first, before repeating any.
Too much or too little time
If you can’t fit all the topics into your subject, you have two options:
- Make time for the subject, while reducing the time spend on another subject. Do this only if you can revise all topics for the subject so you have spare time for this course.
- Revise the shortest and easiest topics in one session (2 topics per session), leaving an entire session for per challenging topic.
Schedule repetitions if you have time available (Warning: Do this only after you have scheduled all your subjects and you find that you still have too much free time available)
Now you’ve got everything scheduled, it’s time to get started. To learn how to revise, refer to my Awesome Revision Advice for Smart and Lazy People.