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My Tutor Tip 4: Get Revising with an Exam Timetable

Thursday, 28 December 2017

When you want to do Maths revision or memorise any subject creating a timetable can be super helpful as it gives you a plan on how you are going to revise.  Taking some time to create the plan of action and then (of course) implementing it can keep you on track.

How to Revise: The Timetable

Drawing up a Timetable

Creating a revision timetable can be as simple or as complex as you like.  It could be created by you or someone else.  It is however a highly personable thing.  I would probably advise keeping the timetable simple for two reasons.  Firstly when it gets more complex it is trickier to follow and secondly you don't want to be running around and not actually getting anything done.

You don't need a highly complex system to create a timetable of learning.  You could use a free program like Google Calendar or even build it in a Word document.  However you could use an application also that is downloadable to your phone.  This website makes a couple of suggestions (click here). 

Step 1: Subjects For Your Test

Pictures of Different SubjectsTo start with, to create a basic timetable you need to work out how long you have between now and your exam and how many subjects.  If your subjects are all equally weighted (as no subject is more important than the other in terms of final mark) and you have multiple subjects split the time you have equally into subject areas.  I would suggest building in break times, meal times, socialising times etc.  For example, if it your birthday and you have a birthday party you are not going to feel like studying during, right before or after.  You need to take these things into account.  It is part of life that we have events happen and if we can build in time to limit their impact this is helpful.  Please note some events are also unforeseen.  For this reason although somewhat rigid a timetable also needs to be flexible.  If necessary you need to be prepared to change.

Step 2: Study Topic Times

Finger Pointing at Stars

So at this stage you should have a timetable split into subjects (e.g. Maths on Monday, English on Tuesday).  It is an overview not specifically going into topic areas.  Next I would suggest creating a list of all the topics you need to know for the exams in each subject (e.g. angles in Maths).  Revision guides are great for this as they often provide short crib notes and a subject overview.  I wouldn't just rely on these books for revision though as often they just give a brief overview.  I would also explore curriculum documents and topic checklists which your tutor (like myself - if you're on a tutor hunt visit my tuition pages to find out more) or your teacher can help with.  If you search on the internet you should be able to find checklists.  For example an Edexcel topic checklist for Maths GCSE is available on TES's website for free.

Step 3: Exam Solution Planning With Topics

Traffic Light
Next I would go through the topic list for each subject and go through with a red, orange and green highlighter (traffic light colours).  Red means you have no clue what this topic is about and urgently needs revising.  Orange means you feel semi-ok at the topic and green means you feel you have a good understanding.  The idea behind this is what you don't have a clue about gets studied first and what you feel more confident with last within your revision.  If you are finding this tricky you could use a revision textbook or practise papers to help you find your weak areas.  Please note a paper though only includes a sample of topics.  Also, although you may feel confident in a topic (e.g. fractions) and not confident in another you still want to revise all topics for a subject to make sure you really got it.

Now add your topics to your timetable allocating enough time for each.  Remember to leave time spare time for revision of your revision topics (you ideally want to look at topics more than once) and some time for practice papers.

And that's it your timetable is created!  Next steps is making sure your crib notes are in order and to actually revise. 

Remember intention plus action equals manifestation so if you create a timetable but don't revise there is no point to the timetable!  Planning and revising are both required.


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