Importance of a timetable
For your studies it is important to have in place a plan to underpin and organise study activity.
This principle applies equally to revision – in fact, a study plan for a qualification ultimately evolves into a revision timetable. When you put together your study plan, you should outline a period within it that will become your revision timetable.
Revision for an examination should not be attempted without a plan in place – even if this is just a summary of what you will do. It is never a good idea to wander aimlessly through study materials and revise at will, even if you feel relatively well-versed in the subject matter, and whilst learning by rote is not unacceptable for factual type examination subjects, cramming is not a good approach because it almost always leaves you feeling ill-prepared and therefore, not fully confident.
Constructing a timetable
The construction of a revision timetable works on the same principles as a study plan. Choose a format with which you are comfortable (a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, a written list or a diary) and:
Effective time allocation
Be careful to allocate time effectively. When you begin your examination preparation, be sure to read and understand the course syllabus. In some cases, there will be an indication of “loading” which will tell you the relative importance of the subject matter to the entire course and examination.
This shows which areas of the syllabus are most likely to appear in the examination in some form or another and where/how you should channel your revision energies.
Be realistic about what time is available to you and what you can achieve within it. If it looks like you will be cramming in the last few days, re-work the timetable (and the study plan, if necessary) to allow for better quality revision.
As with your study plan, it is important to allow yourself some time off for rest and relaxation and to allocate reasonable time chunks in which to study. Overdoing it can lead to fatigue, boredom, stress and poor results.
Beyond this, there are no hard and fast rules to structuring revision and it must be a case of what works best for you. Perhaps you like to revise in the evenings for an hour before dinner? Or perhaps for half an hour before/on your way to work in the mornings.
Some people like to take leave from work (and indeed, some employers allow paid study leave) to get their revision done. If you are revising for an examination for a concentrated period (perhaps several days back-to-back), manage your time effectively. Why not consider working “core” hours of say, 10am–4pm with a 30-,minute lunch break and regular breathers, and then finish for the day to have a decent overnight break?
Draw up a revision timetable to apply in respect of your forthcoming examination(s).
Cross reference to your study plan if you need to.