Splitting your revision up into hourly segments can help you to create better structure and make time for healthy brain breaks. If you are breaking an hour into separate segments as outlined in this guide, you could use Beyond’s Revision Clock Worksheet.
Remember, it is essential to look after your mental health and wellbeing, especially as revision can cause stress. It is crucial that you take regular breaks when revising, get outside, ensure you are getting enough sleep and try to set revision goals that are reasonable to maintain.
One way to structure revision is to go through it topic by topic, and spend more time on the areas you are less confident on. Later on in the revision journey, you may want to practise specific question types that may come up in your exam. This might be something you choose to do once you are slightly more confident on a number of different topics within the subject.
In order to best utilise an hour of revision, make sure you have the right materials ahead of time. This may include textbooks, workbooks, revision notes, revision guides, past papers, mark schemes and any other tools that might be useful in your revision.
Step One – Choose a Topic and Review the Material
In an hour of revision, 15-20 minutes should be spent reviewing your chosen topic. This may mean reading through and annotating your notes or a textbook, or using one of the creative revision methods from Beyond’s Revision Methods Guide.
Step Two – Practise Answering Some Exam Questions
Some textbooks or workbooks have practice exam questions directly relating to each topic. These are good to practise, as they are often the same style of questions that could come up in the exam. If not, you may be able to look through some past papers for questions on the topic you wish to revise, or find a revision guide that has different questions on different topics, so that you can practise a variety of different question styles. In an hour of revision, you should aim to spend 20-30 minutes practising exam questions.
Step Three – Review
One of the most important parts of revising is checking your work. Look at the mark scheme for the questions you have completed. How is the question marked? Have you made sure to include all of the different elements that will earn you the most points for that particular question? Have you used the correct exam technique to make the most out of your answer? Give yourself an honest mark, and if there is anything you need to improve on or any key information you missed, make a clear note of this for the future.
Make a note of anything you still don’t understand to follow up with a teacher or a classmate at a later point. Try to get some feedback from them on how to improve. For example, you and a classmate could complete the same question and use the mark scheme to check each other’s answers. In an hour of revision, 15-20 minutes should be spent on this stage.
After this step, it is important to have a break, because you have now completed an hour of revision! It may be a good idea to take a walk away from your desk and get some fresh air before moving on to a new topic.
Make Sure to Revisit the Topic at a Later Date
It is not enough to look at each topic one time and then tick it off and be done with it. People’s brains have a short-term memory and a long-term memory. Your short-term memory may be able to remember the facts and information that you read in order to effectively answer exam-style questions, but this does not mean that you will be able to remember this in the long-term. To really learn something is to be able to recall it from your long-term memory; this is why it is so important to revisit and review all topics, even topics you have felt really confident on in the past, as you revise.
When you revise a topic, you may initially wait a couple of days or a week and then have another look at it. Maybe then you could wait a few weeks before reviewing it a second time, and have longer intervals each time to ensure that you have truly learned what you need to learn for that topic.