Planning Your Revision

Effective revision requires a great deal of self-discipline and focus. Use these tips to help you keep on-task!

OCR: How to manage your time

OCR: Procrastination – How to beat it

How to get your revision plan right

  • Be realistic and plan time away from your work to avoid burn-out!
  • Make sure you study the hardest subjects first, and not at end of day when you are tired.
  • Be focused: 20 minutes working followed by 10 minutes rest is a good starting point.
  • Leave your phone turned off/on silent in a different room whilst you are revising.
  • In every hour, only work for 50 minutes at a time and take a break away from your revision.
  • Planning helps you to balance your time so that you don’t spend all your time revising one subject.
  • If you share your revision plan with friends or family then you are more likely to stick to it.
  • Make sure you give yourself breaks and allow time to relax and do the things you want to do and enjoy doing.
  • Don’t worry about other students’ revision plans, everyone does it differently!

Content from BBC Bitesize.

Film with GCSE and Nationals revision tips and advice, from exam survivors The Mind Set


Give yourself just enough time to make your revision goals achievable. You want to feel a little bit of time pressure, but not too much. Strike a balance between ambition and realism.

On your calendar, make sure you fill in your current commitments and day to day activities. For example; when you’re at school, having meals, exercising or just doing the other hobbies and activities you do during your standard week.


The next step requires some introspection. You need to decide which subjects you currently feel the most and least confident about.

The best way to do this is to make a list. Write the subjects you’re weakest at towards the top and those where you’re strongest towards the bottom. Give each of them a number as a reminder for when you input them into your timetable.

When you’re making this list take into account a couple of other factors such as:

  • The amount of material to be learned within each subject.
  • Mark weightings within subjects.
  • The order of your exam timetable (if you have it already). You’re going to have more time to revise some subjects than others based on where they are positioned within your exam timetable.
  • What your grades currently look like – for example, if your Physics grade is rock bottom, you might want to prioritise it above the English Literature class you’ve already got 60% in through nailing the coursework (if applicable)


“Our brain tricks us into believing the low-hanging fruit really is the ripest”. Conversely, when one option is harder to get, we’re more likely to think it’s the wrong choice. You need to be fully aware of what you don’t know and consciously choose to meet those challenges head on. Use the exam rubric to break down what you need to learn.


Allocate 30-60 minute time slots to study each topic. Here’s the workflow you need to follow when scheduling your sessions:

  1. Position topics you’re likely to find challenging when you know you tend to work best in the day.
  2. Use colours to differentiate subjects from one another in your calendar and make sure you write the subject and topic you need to revise
  3. Find a balance between topics you’re less familiar with and those which you think you’ll be able to get through quickly. Use the list you created in Step 2. This will keep a nice balance between revision being a challenge and you making good progress.
  4. Leave a few time slots blank towards the end of the day for some rapid reviews and testing.


Make your timetable achievable by managing your health and stress levels and by allocating time to exercise, socialise and generally forget about revision for a bit. If you followed Step 1 you should be in a good spot already.

Revision requires high levels of:

  • Self awareness
  • Discipline
  • Adaptability
  • Organisation

As much as exams are testing you about what you know in each subject, they’re also testing you for these 4 skills, all of which are critical to your development later in life.

Finally, refer to your timetable often so you can gut-check how your pacing, some days you’re going to have to work faster and longer than usual, others you can afford to ease off a bit. It’s up to you to make that judgement call.

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