Get organised and make the most of your study time
Plan your schedule and reduce exam stress with this guide to free online revision tools and resources, as recommended by members of The Student Room.
To get the most out of your available time, study plans or timetables can help you fit your revision around the rest of your life.
A good plan should keep you motivated and help you to divide your time effectively across your subjects.
“Make a weekly planner, perhaps on a Sunday evening/Monday morning. This way, you can incorporate your school timetable and other commitments, while factoring in however many hours of study you desire,” suggests Tsrsuperstar.
Where can you build a free revision timetable online?
If you don’t fancy writing up your study planner using pen and paper, there are loads of free online options.
- adapt: this A-level and GCSE revision timetable builder app comes recommended by TSR member pen_to_paper, who says “once you find out your exam boards per subject, use an app called adapt. You can enter all your boards and it has a list of all the topics covered and it makes you a revision timetable tool”.
- GoConqr: although mainly a study help app, GoConqr also has a planner page, which kurtcraft says they have been recommended: “it does give you the total time you’ve planned out for each subject you’ve put in, which might be useful,” they add.
- Google Calendar: “I recently started using Google Calendar for my revision timetable. It allows you to create an event (say an hour of Spanish revision) and then have it repeat every day/every three days/any other duration at the same time, which has been useful for me,” shares kurtcraft. Download Google Calendar on Google Play here, or on the App Store here.
Making notes is the first stage of revision for many students.
Notes provide the raw material to revise from and act as the foundation for checking what you know and spotting the gaps in your knowledge.
Even just the initial process of collecting all your resources together and creating the notes actually helps you learn.
“When making revision notes I always write a few bullet points over the main point. I then write more on the things I know I forget. If possible, I draw small diagrams. Three of my textbook pages end up as a single sheet of revision notes,” says sanaindaclub.
Read more: how to study effectively for your exams
Where can you find free online revision notes?
Making your revision notes online means you won’t lose them and it’s easy to add colours and highlighting to make them more memorable.
You can also find libraries of revision notes made by other students for your particular exam board and subject online – here are a few recommended by members of TSR.
- BBC Bitesize: GCSE students can find revision notes for their subjects and exam boards as well as quizzes to help test your knowledge. “BBC Bitesize is super helpful,” shares pen_to_paper.
- Save My Exams: “they have revision notes for most boards along with exam questions per topic and past papers,” says pen_to_paper.
- Seneca: “I would recommend the website Seneca for revision, this helped me achieve two A*s. The repetition makes everything just seep into your brain more,” says Semiha(t). “It’s the best website that helps to teach you knowledge, recall the knowledge and also tests your knowledge too. It’s free to use and makes learning so fun and interactive,” adds mxqi.
Especially recommended for visual learners, mindmaps are diagrams with a central starting point that you add branches to – you can add more branches to take them as far as you like.
They can show you the connections between different elements of a topic, providing a big picture without losing sight of the detail.
“I normally make a mindmap by drawing a cloud/bubble in the middle of the page, write the main idea here, then draw singular branches off it and then add smaller branches,” says Essie4Real.
Where can you build free mindmaps online?
Here are a handful of the mindmap builders out there that have been recommended by TSR members.
- MindMup: TSR member Hillmanator recommends using MindMup “to create a detailed mindmap showing your key points”.
- GoConqr: is “really good for mindmapping and colour-coding and it’s very visually pleasing,” says Sheffield Hallam student Harry.
- Canva: is also recommended by Harry, who says it is good for creating “smaller mindmaps with visuals and icons”.
Flashcards and revision cards
Flashcards are small, double-sided pieces of card with a question on the front and its answer on the back of the card. You can use them to test yourself by reading the question and checking you know what the answer is before you read the reverse side.
Revision cards are often larger than flashcards, so they can contain more detailed information and key points can be emphasised with colour or highlighting.
Revision card fan furryfce12 says, “for me they really help as they break the information up a bit although I put as much info on one revision card as is humanly possible.
“My sister uses flashcards – putting words on one side and definitions on the other, so she can learn both and test herself. Both work for us, but it hasn’t worked when we’ve tried each others’ methods.”
Read more: can you predict exam questions?
Where can you build flashcards and revision cards online for free?
These are a few of the websites and apps that TSR members have been using to build their flashcards and revision cards.
- Anki: this flashcard-building tool is very popular with TSR members. “Anki is great for spaced repetition – it gives you certain cards every day that you should practice so that the information becomes long-term memory,” says Tigergirl.
- Cram: “I make my own flashcards for revision on cram.com,” comments
Jasmine528. As well as creating your own flashcards, you can search Cram’s library of flashcards created by other users across a range of topics.
- Quizlet: Quizlet’s flashcard offering is “more flexible,” than some others, comments Tigergirl, as “you can practice whichever cards you want”. Once you are “confident on a quizlet, use blurting to see if you can recall the content without prompts then create flashcards on your less confident areas,” advises SB1234567890.
Quizzes are a fun and competitive way to revise – as well as being an incredibly effective method of learning.
This is because quizzes can help you see exactly where the gaps in your knowledge lie. Once you’ve figured out what you need to learn, you can make sure your revision focuses on those areas.
“Once you have revised something, give yourself a mini quiz to refresh your brain. Do this at the end of the revision session, then at the end of the day and then at the beginning of the next day. This will push it into your long-term memory,” says Brimstone.
Where can you find and build free quizzes online?
Whether you want to build your own quizzes, take quizzes written by other people or a combination of the two, there are websites that can help you.
- Quizlet: create your own quizzes and discover sets created by teachers and other students. “I swear by the Quizlet app, it helps me so much when revising,” comments Bethzz07.
TSR member Gingerbread101 describes them as “the holy grail of revision”; past papers are vital because they show you how a course is assessed and the types of questions that you can expect to be asked.
Taking past papers will also show you where you need to improve and how to perfect your exam technique.
“Past papers are generally a good way to revise all your subjects as you can work on exam technique while identifying weaknesses and strengths to direct your revision accordingly,” says TriplexA.
Read more: how to use past papers to ace your exams?
You can find recent A-level and GCSE past papers on the exam boards' websites. Here are the links to take you there:
- AQA past papers and mark schemes
- (Pearson) Edexcel past papers
- Eduqas past papers
- OCR past papers and mark schemes
- SQA past papers and marking instructions
- CCEA past papers and mark schemes
- WJEC past papers and mark schemes