How to make a revision timetable


If you’re interested in this post, you might also be interested in my post about
exam technique in physics.

revision-timetable-small

There’s a running joke amongst teachers about the pupil who spends so much time preparing a revision timetable that they never actually do any revision. Like all good comedy, it’s at least partially based in fact. It’s very easy to allow something – anything - to distract you from your revision.

But this isn’t going to be a problem for you. I’ve made a revision timetable for you.

The timetable has six 1-hour blocks of revision per day. Each 1-hour block is broken into two 25-minute revision sessions separated by a ten minute break. This ten minute break allows you to cool off, and gives you some room to manoeuvre if you’re coming to the end of a topic and you don’t want to run into the next session.

There are five breaks splitting up the six sessions: two 1-hour breaks (for lunch and tea) and three 30-minute breaks.

Let’s take Wednesday as an example:

revision-timetable-example

I suggest you start in the morning at 1000 so Session 1 runs from 1000-1025, followed by a ten minute break, then Session 2 from 1035-1100. Session 3 starts after a half-hour break at 1130 and runs ’til 1155, then Session 4 from 1205-1230. Session 5 begins (after a one-hour lunch break) at 1330. The day runs like this until 1930, at which time all revision should stop until the next day.

There are two versions of the revision timetable template to download. One is completely blank and the other has the suggested timing of each session printed on (in light-grey ink so that you can write over it). I suggest you download both.

Download blank revision timetable (.PDF, 10.9kB)
Download revision timetable with sample timings (.PDF, 13.9kB)

What to do with your timetable:

  • Distribute sessions appropriately. The template I’ve provided has sixty sessions per week – don’t spend thirty of those sessions on one subject at the expense of another. Likewise, don’t spend too much revision time on a subject you feel confident in.
  • Create variety within the day, but not too much. You shouldn’t be doing more than four or five different subjects in any one day. Perhaps alternate two subjects in the first half of the day, and a different two subjects in the second half.
  • Once it’s finished, it’s finished. Spending too much time “improving” or “refining” your revision timetable is just as bad as wasting time making it in the first place.

What not to do with your timetable:

  • Colour-coding is a waste of time. Do you really think you’ll revise physics better if you write it in green?

14 thoughts on “How to make a revision timetable

  1. This was exactly what I wanted – I have wasted enough time planning to revise as it is!

  2. Very useful- but it was rather distracting trying to read good hints when so many words had bizarre hyphens stuck in the middle of them. A physics teacher surely knows how to write properly, so I’m assuming something odd is happening in the formatting.

    Other than that- it was helpful.

  3. What you’re seeing is the possible hyphenation locations – your browser is configured incorrectly if you can see them. You need to change your character encoding, how you do this depends on which browser you’re using.

  4. I’m surprised no-one has pointed this out actually as it’s a major problem for me – your revision timetable has not factored in weekends.

  5. You can simply replicate the existing timetable for the weekend if you want, but I would be inclined to leave the weekends for relaxing. Six hours a day for five days a week is probably enough unless you want to risk burning out.

  6. I disagree with not colour coding, I’m a psychology student and I know how memory works. Colour-coding for each subject is crucial, when you then try to memorise each subject, or sub-categories within a subject, it jogs your memory and helps retrieve information from your visual memory. This applies to everything and every subject, EVEN PHYSICS. Apart from that, good template, taking frequent breaks throughout is crucial, not cramming information in is vital to remembering it all when it comes to the actual exam. You should have included weekends also, to give people the option of choosing as some people may like to revise during weekends and not weekdays. It’s good to take a couple of days rest from it though to refresh your mind. Thanks.

  7. I’d like to see some references backing up your argument, but even if you have them I’d argue that the time and energy expended in colour-coding your timetable would be better spent doing more revision.

  8. spending five minutes on colour coding, ensuring a better performance under pressure in an exam is not wasting time. It is spending it wisely!

  9. I’m still waiting to see those references about colour-coding being “crucial” and helping to “retrieve information from your visual memory”.

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