Tomorrow is the first day of the 2018 Easter holidays and so it is definitely a good time for Y11 students to think about how they are going to make the most effective use of the time available for revision. I know that everyone works differently but I thought I would write a post to give you something to think about…. Please leave a comment at the end of this post if you find any of this useful.
Easter holidays are a critical time for Y11 students. The IGCSE and GCSE specifications contain so much content that the challenge for you is mostly one of being on top of so much material come exam day. And your exams arrive so early in the summer term that there won’t be much time when you get back to school after the holidays. So it has to be now! (The summer will be very long and there will be plenty of time for lazy days when nothing at all happens…. )
The hardest thing about revision is getting started. If you can build up some early momentum, you will be able to keep your energy and enthusiasm up right through the holidays. So why not start tomorrow…..?
How to organise a revision plan
- It is vital you have a plan. A little time this evening or tomorrow morning spent on getting organized will be time well spent! This would be how I would do it if I could rewind the clock to the summer of 1987….. U2 released The Joshua Tree that year and I thought at the time it was the greatest music ever made….
- Speak to your parents tonight and ask them to talk you through what’s coming up in the holidays. What family commitments do you have that will impact on your revision schedule?
- Count up how many days you will be able to work between now and when school starts again. For my current students, we have 25 days before term starts. But I think you need a few days off at times in the coming weeks. So let’s say, there may be 20 “work” days.
- This is how I suggest you organise a “work day”…. You always do work in the morning session (9am-11.30am) and then you choose either the afternoon slot (2-4.30pm) or the evening slot (7.30pm – 10pm). This is an ambitious schedule as 5 hours work in a day is quite a lot. But let’s aim high!
- Each session is divided into 5 periods of 30 minutes. You must work on a different subject in each period in a session. Have a plan before the session so you know exactly what you are going to achieve. The next bit is very important. At the start of the session, switch your phone off and put it in a different room. Start a kitchen timer (not a timer on your phone obviously!) and set it to 25 minutes. Work at your revision until the alarm goes off. Then you get a 5 minute gap (tea/check Snapchat) before the next slot starts.
- The PMG schedule has two huge advantages: firstly you have completed half your work for the day by 11.30am (which feels good, believe me) and secondly you can enjoy the time you are not working without feeling guilty…. This is a key component to a successful revision programme. Work when you are supposed to be working but then do other stuff, see friends, do some exercise , watch tv, relax. Revision isn’t effective if you are tired or bored so both must be avoided at all costs.
Many of you have 9 or 10 subjects to revise. If we assume 10 subjects to revise (which makes the Maths easier) 20 work days in the holidays and 10 periods per day (see schedule above), this means that you have 20 periods per subject in the holidays. Do the calculation with your numbers so you know how many revision tasks you need to plan per subject. My example gives you 8 hours 20 minutes per subject – your job is to make the very best use of this time so you gain the most from it. I wish you all the very best of luck and don’t forget to leave a comment below. Happy revising!