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Exams & revision: Revision planning

“Revising without a plan is like finding a house without a map: you don't know where you are going or how long the journey will take.”

Robert Blakey, I Hate Revision: A Student Guide to Revision Techniques and Study Skills.

There is no single best way to revise for an exam but you do need to adopt an organised approach. Here are some tips for planning your revision:


Find out the exam format

This will mean you know what to expect. You can find past papers for many modules on the Hydra Digital Depository. You must login to access past papers.


Make a timetable

Everyone knows they should, but not everyone actually does it! Be realistic; work out how much time you have and what you need to cover. The depth that you go into will depend on the time you have. We have provided you with some templates below.


Work at your best times

Make sure your timetable takes into account the time of day that you are most effective. Use your poor concentration times for doing other useful but less thoughtful tasks (housework, organising files, making your working environment more favourable to concentration etc). Save your best times for the actual revision.


Set goals

Make daily goals part of your timetable. "By the end of today I will have (at least) revised ___________". The size of the task you give yourself should depend on the time you have available that day, but make it achievable so that you get a sense of satisfaction and feel you are progressing.


Check out revision apps

This blog post: 5 best free apps to help you revise has links to information about some great apps to help you through your revision period.

Goals should be SMART:

Specific - e.g. re-read 2 chapters, making notes, rather than "do some reading"

Measurable - e.g. making notes on the reading proves you've done what you intended and you have something to look back at later

Achievable - what is a reasonable amount you can expect to achieve in the time period?

Relevant - Is this the most appropriate area to be revising at this point or just the one you like the most?

Time limited - a time limit will help you to focus

Revision timetabling

To help with your revision timetabling, we have put together some resources:

Excel file (with daily, weekly and monthly sheets):

Revision Planners (Word documents to edit or PDFs to print)

Of course, you can use online diaries or time management apps to achieve something similar.