Get the most out of your time with a study planner that helps you build homework and revision around the rest of your life
There's no one-size-fits-all to revision timetables. You might want to write in the pages of your diary, make a checklist, create a beautiful hand-made timetable for your wall or use an online app.
However you choose to do it, you should begin to feel organised and see the task ahead of you much more clearly once you've made one.
Here's how to whip up a decent study plan to help you get going with your revision, with tips from members of The Student Room.
Why make a study planner?
A study planner, or revision timetable, is a calendar or diary that includes all your activities, lessons and other commitments.
Having a good plan will help you stay motivated and balance your time across different subjects.
"For me, having it written down in a way that shows that I have to do certain subjects on certain days in order to get everything done motivates me to do stuff rather than procrastinate," says TSR member marymcmess.
It'll also mean you won’t run out of time when the revision pressure is on.
"Make a timetable, checklist or schedule to help you stay on track. If you plan when you'll revise and what you'll focus on, you'll make sure you have enough time to work on everything you need to. There'll be no need for last minute cramming," comments DrawTheLine.
It shouldn't take you too long to make a revision timetable either.
VoxNihili says, "don't spend ages on this – it doesn't directly affect your exam grades, so the less time you spend on it the better – but at the same time, you can know where you need to get to, and then take guilt free time off your work once everything is done."
Read more: ace your exams with these revision resources
Five steps to making your revision timetable
1. Make a list of all your exams
"First write down a list of all your subjects and write how many hours you would like to spend on them each week (e.g. you might decide you're better at one subject so you will only spend one hour a week on it and a subject you struggle with you might want to spend three hours on broken up in the week)."
2. Prioritise them – how much revision do you want to do for each one?
"You're going to need to plan more time on your core subjects and those you need for A-levels. I personally attended every revision session going so that I knew even if I didn't get to revise a subject one week I kept it ticking over."
3. Break each exam up into a series of topics to learn/practise
"Download your specific specification, print it out if you need to, and go through it, checking whether you have learnt everything in there. Tick all the stuff you have learnt and make sure you do learn the stuff you haven't."
4. Decide how much time you realistically want to devote to revision each week, making sure to leave enough time to take breaks from studying
"Realistically think of how many hours you can do – I do around six to eight hours everyday during the holidays and the weekend and three to four hours after school."
5. Allocate topics into each week (allocating more time to tough topics and leaving some spare time at the end for going through topics again)
"Fill in or cross out the times in the day when you definitely can't revise. Put in slots for dinner, sport, free time, relaxing time and sleep. Then see what time you are left with and slot in what work you would like to do on what day."
What can you use to make your revision timetable?
There are plenty of apps and websites out there that will build a revision timetable for you. Here are a few to get you started:
- My Study Life: as well as organising your daily and weekly schedule, you can use this app to track homework and assignments.
- Timetable: if you're an Andriod user, you can use this app to save your timetable and all your exams. And it'll even automatically mute your phone for you during lessons.
- Smart Girl: if you'd rather have a physical copy of your study planner, you can download and print all sorts of free planners here.
How can you make yourself stick to your revision timetable?
There's no point making the perfect study planner if you don't try to stick to it as much as possible. Here are some tips from the TSR community to help keep you on track.
Check it every day
"I did 10 hours a week, and varied the hours every day depending on my mood."
Remember it’s flexible – change it when needed
"I really dislike rigid timetables as they do not tailor learning to how you're currently performing so I will change my timetable the day before to suit what I most need to study."
Share it with friends and family
"Keep yourself accountable, write out what you aimed to have gotten done at the end of the day in the morning, in the evening review what you have done and if you've fallen short, critique yourself and address where you've fallen short. This is a lot easier when a friend or family member is holding you to your word."
Reward yourself after each revision session
"Every time you finish a page/chapter/revision resource, reward yourself (but not too much). This is the way habits are formed: cue, reward, repeat. If you make this into a habit you'll have no trouble at uni."
Tick off topics when they’re done
"I find it helpful to just have a list of topics, homework and other stuff and just ticking them off when you're done."
Finally, some tips for making a great study planner
- Be realistic – there's no point setting a plan that you won't be able to stick to.
- Make it detailed – break your revision into chunks, specify times for studying and assign each time to a particular subject.
- Be prepared to change your study planner – life always throws up surprises, and some topics may take you longer than you planned for.
- Give yourself little rewards after a study session to stay motivated.
- Build in breaks – you don't want to get burned out.
- Look at your study plan as a set of guidelines rather than something that should be followed without thinking.
- Give yourself time before an exam to review all the content you need to learn.