How To Create And Use A Simple Revision Timetable You Will Stick To [FREE TEMPLATE]
An exam revision plan can keep students accountable and on task. However, with so many exams to prepare for, creating your own revision timetable or study planner can be daunting. Revision timetable templates can be useful in reducing exam stress and maximising preparation.
In this article, we will look at revision timetables and what a good weekly timetable should look like, as well as provide some revision templates and checklists.
Editable GCSE Revision Timetable
Use this free revision timetable template to help your students plan their GCSE revision. Includes revision tips and what to include in a revision timetable to ensure you're prepared for the exam.
One of the outcomes of this was a free revision timetable template which you can download straightaway if you know your students need it.
If you think you or they will need more persuading, read on!
What is a revision timetable
A revision timetable is a tool for managing study time and exam preparation. Your revision timetable will include a study plan or day-by-day breakdown of the content you intend to cover in each revision session. It may also include an exam timetable for the GCSE 2023 dates, dates of mock exams and any after school group study sessions.
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Revision timetables help students to know what, when and how to revise. They are an important revision technique for GCSE revision, A-Level revision and revision for any other exams beyond that.
Why do you need a revision timetable?
Revision timetables give students control. They allow you to plan your time effectively and track the material you’ve covered. Rather than confronting a whole textbook or your note-taking books at once, a revision timetable breaks up the modules to cover each day, maximising your revision time.
A revision planner or timetable is also specific to your specific needs and learning gaps, so you choose how much time you need to spend on individual topics. Some content you’ll know already by heart and can skip through relatively quickly but others you may need to keep revisiting over the course of your revision period.
How to use a revision timetable
It needs to be flexible
Though students should try to stick to their revision timetable as closely as possible, remember that it is not set in stone. One day you may be tired, or feeling unwell and you may not cover all of the content that you hoped to that day. In this case don’t panic. Simply make a note at the end of the day what topics you will need to come back and revisit.
It may need to be adapted to fit changing needs
On the other hand, students may find that the original revision timetable that they created at the beginning of the revision period just isn’t working and that’s ok. A revision timetable is supposed to help with your own revision and if it’s not, simply adapt it.
It needs to be realistic
That being said, when you set about creating a revision timetable it’s important to be realistic and avoid cramming. Nobody can revise for six hours a day with no breaks for four months straight. We all need to take small yet frequent breaks to digest information, rest and stay sane! For example, consider working for thirty minutes and then taking a ten minute break to get a drink or take a walk, before sitting back down to study some more.
Your revision timetable should give you a sense of achievement each day when you complete a topic, not overwhelm you and make you feel behind. So break your revision down into achievable and digestible chunks to give yourself some small wins.
Creating your revision timetable
There are a few different ways to design your revision timetable. Some students may include all of the subjects that they are studying for all on one revision timetable, other students may have a unique timetable for each individual subject.
Before you start creating your revision timetable first think about:
- What grade do you hope to achieve?
- What grade are you currently working at?
- What are your stronger/weaker subjects?
- What are your stronger/weaker topics?
- What gaps do you need to fill to achieve your desired results for each subject?
Design your timetable in whatever way is best for you. You could use software like Excel if you would revise better with your own planner. Or you can download our free revision timetable templates below.
How to divide up content on your revision timetable
Once you’ve decided on how many revision timetables and what are your aims, you’ll have to think about dividing up the revision content into a weekly schedule. Some things to consider:
- How much time do you have before exams?
- What are your priority subjects and topics? What subjects/topics are you most and least confident about?
- How will you break each subject into topics?
Third Space Learning’s online one-to-one revision tuition uses diagnostic testing to help students and teachers to identify the gaps in maths learning. Our programme is then tailored specially to the needs of each individual student to plug these gaps. Using worked examples and exam style questions, our online GCSE revision tuition aims to help students to prepare for the exams as well as give them confidence going into the exams.
Interleaving your revision
As you break up topics and organise your revision time, it’s good to consider interleaving. Interleaving is an approach that involves mixing up and cycling through topics a few times, before coming back to older topics you may have revised less recently.
For example, rather than spending a whole week revising nothing but graphs and then setting that aside once the week is done, never to be touched again, spend some time each day on a number of topics, going back the following week to review what you revised previously.
5 things you need to make time for in your revision timetable
After you’ve divided up your time, next you will need to think about what you will do in each revision session planned out on your revision timetable. Here are some revision tips on what to do make time for:
- Active learning
- Making and reviewing flashcards
- Practice questions
- Exam questions
- Past papers
Active learning involves going through the syllabus content, studying and learning anything that may have been missed or where there’s a lack of understanding.
Flashcards can be an effective revision tool. Though premade flashcards are available for purchase it is often best to make your own as the very act of creating the flashcards will help in your revision.
Once the flashcards have been written you can then use them to test yourself, splitting the flashcards up into those you answered correctly and those that you need to revisit.
Practice questions and GCSE maths questions with worked answers can be very useful in demonstrating how to answer specific types of questions. The exam boards may produce worked example questions, your teacher may go through some in class and they can also be found online such as on YouTube.
Reviewing past exam questions is crucial to understanding the dynamics of the exam. Looking at exam questions will help you to know what to expect on exam day and can even give an indication on what will and may not appear on the actual exam.
Revision top tip: although it may be unpleasant, it is important to do past exam papers, in exam conditions. Getting familiar with the types of questions on the exam and how marks are awarded is crucial to developing good exam techniques.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do a whole paper in one go, but do think about completing 10-20 questions in exam conditions, timed. Doing this will help you to feel more comfortable on exam day, and of course, help with your revision.
Don’t start from scratch, use our revision timetable template
Third Space Learning wants to help you succeed and so we’ve created a printable, blank GCSE revision timetable template for you to personalise and adapt to your needs. This study timetable template can be used across GCSE exam boards (AQA, Edexcel, OCR, SQA, WJEC) to act as a daily planner to guide your revision.
Free revision timetable template and how to use it
Third Space Learning’s revision timetable template is a short, though we hope, valuable resource which can be photocopied as many times as required. Students can also download, for free, this planner template and fill it in to match their needs.
In this resource, the first page is a blank revision timetable, the second is an example of what a completed one might look like.
You can actually use this method for all GCSE subjects, though the example provided is of maths as that is where our expertise lies as maths intervention practitioners.
How to use the revision timetable template
- Start with a list of 5-6 topics that need to be revised, preferably identified from past papers, but with teacher guidance if necessary. If your school buys into any online services offering diagnostic testing, this can be another way to come up with a shortlist of key topics. For example all students who receive Third Space Learning’s online tuition sit an initial diagnostic test to establish their learning gaps in maths.
- Use this list of topics to then create a revision cycle. For example, students might do 10 minutes of Pythagoras and 10 minutes of simultaneous equations on Monday, then 10 minutes of index laws, followed by 10 minutes of surds on Tuesday, and so on, varying the topics throughout the week.
- At this stage of initial revision, read through class notes and any relevant revision guide notes and then work through step-by-step examples from memory.
- Incorporate regular flashcard review to ensure key formulae are well memorised. Aim to do this weekly.
- When the student feels confident in their understanding, the next iteration of topic revision could be working through a topic-based worksheet. Third Space Learning offers a wide range of free topic-based GCSE maths worksheets and GCSE revision mats, with skills practice, applied questions and exam questions.
- Once students are confident with the topic, they can use their folder of past papers and find similar exam questions to attempt – or find questions that they have previously answered incorrectly to correct.
- Timings are flexible depending on students’ needs. For example, some might prefer to work with 15 or 20 minute slots, or have commitments on particular nights of the week. This is a suggested programme and can be adapted to individual needs.
- Closer to the exam – probably around February half term – encourage students to use their revision time to complete a practice paper every week – this can be tied into review in class.
- Encourage students to review their own work using mark schemes, or access tutorials/walkthroughs on YouTube if they are completely stuck.
- As students complete papers, they will continue to identify topics (hopefully now fewer!) which are need to be addressed in another cycle of revision as described above.
Building good study skills
GCSE exams will not be the last time that students will have to revise content. Whether it’s A-Levels, university exams, professional qualifications or even driving tests, the revision skills that students gain preparing for during the GCSE exams will be useful throughout their life. For this reason, it’s important to take this opportunity to develop robust revision skills and we hope that this revision timetable template can help with that.
Do you have students who need extra support in maths?
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Since 2013 we’ve helped over 150,000 primary and secondary students become more confident, able mathematicians. Find out more about our GCSE Maths tuition or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.
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