Blog 28 June 2019

How to revise effectively

It’s coming up to that time of year again when exam season is upon us. It can be a stressful time of year, but with the right preparation it doesn’t have to be. Effective revision is a simple process of time management, so that you have the most productive revision possible. Follow our guide below – and good luck!

Plan your time

Time management is essential for productive revision, making sure you get the most out of your revision sessions. Begin by working backwards from the date of each of your exams, so you know exactly how much time you have to study. Then break down your subjects into digestible topics using exam past papers, specifications and course outlines, taking note of areas you feel less confident in.

Fill in your calendar with scheduled revision sessions, alongside other activities (such as your DofE activities) so that you’re not overwhelmed with studying and get those much-needed breaks. Slot in two-hour sessions on bitesize topics throughout the weeks, and the variety should help to keep your focus. Start with the basics and work up to the more difficult subjects, setting yourself realistic goals along the way.

Quality revision doesn’t mean getting everything done in a rush, stay focussed and persevere to find your rhythm. Work out the challenges you need to tackle, manage distractions and your time by setting clear goals and you’ll be onto a winner.

How to structure your day


If you need to factor in your revision around a busy school timetable, it’s vital to have a plan in place to support the revision you’ll be doing in the classroom.

It’s important to make sure you’re setting yourself up well for the day. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a hearty, healthy breakfast, and try to get some fresh air first thing.

Give yourself the chance to take a break and avoid revising through lunchtimes. If your school has dedicated study periods present the perfect opportunity to get together with friends and fellow DofE participants to work in a study group together.

After school be sure to take a break and get outside. Your activity for the Physical section of your DofE programme will get you moving, and clear your head before sitting down to hit the books again.

Study leave

If your school allows you to take study leave before your exams, you have the opportunity to plan your revision to suit your working style. As you would a DofE Expedition, split the day up into manageable parts, with longer mid-morning, lunch and afternoon breaks, and 10 minutes every hour.

Is working at home the best way for you? Consider heading to the local library, or maybe a friend’s or DofE group mate’s house.

Take the opportunity during study leave to work creatively, revising the way that suits you. Whether that is doing lots of past papers, creating posters, songs, or revision cards. The trick is to take information and to make sure your brain is processing it, so actively doing something with the information in front of you.

Different ways to study

Everyone works differently, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to revision. However, if you’re unsure how to approach your studies, try this method:

Revisit: Go over a topic, taking notes (using different coloured pens, mind maps or illustrations depending on techniques that help your memory)

Rest: Take a productive break: go for a walk, work towards achieving your DofE Award or read a book

Test: Find a practice question, either from a past paper or from your teachers, and test your knowledge – can you remember the important points under pressure?

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