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?

Steps to compiling a 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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. You should revisit the content regularly so that it goes into your long term memory (see previous blog post on forgetting curves)

  1. 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.

  1. Useful timetable apps

Below are three popular apps to help structure your revision:

  • My Study Life
  • SQA My Study Plan
  • Timetable