Revision timetables: Everything you need to know

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Look, you all know you have to make a revision timetable. It’s the only way to make sure you get all your revision done in time for exams without missing a topic. But where do you start? Every teacher will tell you to do it- but so many neglect to actually tell you how.

I absolutely dreaded making a revision timetable when I was in school, and I could never stick to it when I actually did make one. That’s how I ended up co-founding Adapt- I knew there had to be a better way.

After working on Adapt for months now, I’ve become something of an expert on revision timetables (I know that sentence sounds depressing, but I promise you’ll be excited too when you realise how easy it can be!)

So, let’s start with the basics.

What is a revision timetable?

A revision timetable, or study planner, is a schedule for how you’re going to complete all of your revision before exam day. By creating a revision timetable, you can see all the revision you need to do and how much time you have to do it in.

revision timetable

Here’s a beautiful template design by @wplslars (definitely not necessary, but a pretty timetable can make your revision planning more enjoyable!)

Is it a good idea to plan your revision?

Let’s put it this way- do you often feel overwhelmed at the idea of even starting your revision? If so, planning your revision with a revision timetable could be the answer.

Countless studies have shown that happiness and stress are directly linked, and that planning can significantly reduce stress.

At Adapt, we’ve done our own research into the links between exam stress and revision planning, and found that:

  • While 89% of students say that they feel stressed and overwhelmed by their revision,
  • And 61% of students say that making a plan would reduce their stress,
  • 81% don’t know how to plan their revision or make a revision timetable.

How do you make a revision timetable?

Good question- here’s what you do:

  • First you need to work out when you can revise. Put all of your commitments into a blank timetable (school, sports, clubs, social plans, etc.).
  • Next, break down your subjects into topics, and prioritise based on your confidence and the importance of each subject, then each topic.
  • Finally, slot all of those topics (in the prioritised order) into the empty spaces of your revision timetable.

See part 1 and part 2 of our blog posts with a full breakdown of how to make a revision timetable. Or, watch our YouTube video for more tips:

There are some revision timetable maker websites that will generate a downloadable and printable timetable for you. However, at Adapt we’ve spent months speaking to students about the problems they have with revision planning, and they’ve told us that these timetables don’t work for them. You may have noticed the problem with a printable timetable already… plans change.

That’s why at Adapt, our free app for GCSE and A-level students has software that will create a perfect revision timetable for you in seconds, and keep it updated when your plans change.

However, as we know that some students need help revising now (I can’t even count how many messages/requests we’ve gotten), we’ve made a downloadable revision timetable maker for you to use while you wait!

Click to download a copy of our revision timetable template!

Here’s an example of a completed timetable:

Example of a completed timetable

But be sure to join the waitlist on our website so that you can use the full app as soon as it’s ready!

Things to remember when making a plan…

  1. Focus on output, not time. Try scheduling topics instead of time into your revision timetable. If your schedule has three topics you need to cover that day, you’ll be more focused and productive than if you schedule 6 hours of revision (and spend half of it on Instagram).
  2. Always schedule in breaks/down time! Be realistic with your schedule (ie, don’t plan 6 hours straight of Biology!) to avoid stress and burnout.
  3. Share your revision plan with your friends/family! If there are others around you to hold you accountable, you’re more likely to stick to your schedule.

What makes a planner fail to work?

We’ve interviewed hundreds of students, and the most common reason that they say for why a revision timetable fails is that they don’t stick to it. This can have hugely negative consequences. They say that this makes them feel guilty for taking breaks or not feeling constantly motivated, and also more stressed because they lose track of what they still need to revise.

That’s why Adapt does all the manual work for you. As a GCSE or A-level student, all you have to do is tell us which subjects and exam boards you’re taking, and what your commitments are (eg, football at 7pm on Tuesdays), and we’ll make a perfect revision timetable for you. We have teacher written topic lists that cover your entire syllabus, and we know all your exams dates.

Even better, Adapt it updates itself- if you miss a topic, it reschedules it for another day, so you can get everything done without the guilt, stress, and countless hours of planning!

Sign up to the Adapt waitlist here, become an “Early Adapter” here, and find out about the people behind Adapt here.

Revision Timetable: Adapt

What types of study planners are there?

There are so many different types of study planners and revision timetables. It’s worth thinking about what will work best for you!

  • Planners for different purposes. It’s important to take into account what you’re planning for. Whether it’s a Biology test in two weeks, your GCSE mocks, or your A-level exams, your goals and focus will differ.
  • Different types of planners. While some people prefer to schedule by time, others prefer to create a to do list.
  • Planners with different time frames. Do you prefer to plan with a weekly, monthly, or yearly planner?
  • Planners with different designs. Do you prefer the look of a pretty planner from Paperchase, or PDF/Excel spreadsheet? It may sound silly, but pick something you will enjoy using!

I hope you found this helpful! If you have any questions at all about revision timetables, or you just want some planning inspo, make sure you’re following us on Instagram at @adaptapp!

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