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Mapped out: your revision timetable

Use these tips to get organised and bid farewell to revision stress

Preparing for exams can feel a bit overwhelming, especially when you have a pile of materials to sort through and no idea where to begin. Creating a revision timetable can help you organise all that you have to do and create a plan of attack to make sure you’ve covered everything come exam day.

So how do you create a timetable that will work for you?

  • Start early. Creating your table sooner rather than later will allow you to get a good idea of how much time you’ll need and give you time to deal with any unforeseen problems.
  • Make a list. Start by making a list of all the subjects you have to cover then break down that list into subcategories of topics.
  • Prioritise. Look at when your exams are scheduled to get a better idea of which subjects you’ll have to master first. Also keep in mind which topics will be most time consuming. Which will you need to spend the most time reviewing? Plan to begin working on these subjects earlier in the week.
  • Break up subjects. Don’t lump all the difficult stuff you’re avoiding together. Organise your timetable so that you’ve interspersed topics you’re confident in and can move through quickly in between those topics you find more problematic and will be spending more time on.  
  • Know your study habits. Do you work better early in the morning or late at night? Do you need variation in your tasks to keep focused or do you prefer finishing one subject before moving on to the next? Knowing your study style will allow you to create a timetable that is realistic and works for you.
  • Factor in other commitments. Just because it’s exam time doesn’t mean the rest of your life is put on hold. Don’t forget to include any work schedules, appointments, and activities into your planning.
  • Give yourself breaks. It would be wonderful if you could sit down to work and not stop until everything was finished. But the reality is that after a few hours of work, you start to lose focus. Scheduling regular breaks will give you a chance to step away from your studies and relax. When you return you will be refreshed and ready to focus. Just make sure a short break doesn’t turn into a whole night of slacking off!
  • Be flexible. Your timetable is a guideline to keep you on track, but it’s impossible to know exactly how long every task will take. Don’t panic if you spend a bit longer than you originally anticipated on a particular subject. For the first few days, see how well your actual studying matches with your planned studying, and adjust the rest of the week accordingly.

Good luck and happy revising.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Adam Roxby

    I have been lucky in that so far the only exam i've had to do has been a drugs calculation test but I try to do the little and often method. Part of that obviously includes reading some of the articles on the site but I also record the lectures I attend and listen to them when I am at home and in a more relaxed state to be able to take on board what was said.

    I'm sure if you wanted to do the same then the lecturer would be more than happy for you to put a dictaphone or voice recorder at the front.

    Are there any other suggestions that people have?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • For anatomy and physiology courses, I bought a smaller version of one of the essential A&P textbooks and I take it with me whenever I'm going anywhere on public transport. I can dip in and out of it if something comes to mind that I'm not so sure on. It makes my time spent waiting around for and travelling on trains a lot more productive.

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  • Really good tips. Just thought i could add a tip for any students struggling with revision. I am a second year student studing at the Universit of Cumbria and out Senior Lecturer John Campbell has published two books, Campbells Physiology Notes mainly aimed at 1st years and Campbells Pathophysiology Notes aimed at second and third years. He also has a youtube site where he has posted over 100 lecture videos on a range on topics. He is an excellent lecturer and explains all subjects in a way that is very easy to understand! good luck!

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  • Student_Nurse19

    Khan Academy is a fantastic resource for anatomy and physiology :)

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