“If you want to be productive, you need to become master of your minutes.” - Crystal Paine

To shine – really achieve and stand out – you have got to dig deep! There’s only so much gold on the earth’s surface, right! The rest is hidden far deeper and requires a whole lot of blood, hot sweat and salty tears. Nothing worth having or attaining comes easy! You can’t do what Sir Edmund Hilary did by lying on your couch manipulating a game-controller for endless hours.

Like many other greats, Tiger Woods become great over time, picking up a golf club for the first time at the  age of only two! We kid you not!

From then on, improvement was his daily grind! What excuse do you have? You think that not everyone can be great? But, actually, you can be great at what you do!

If truth be told, you will lay the foundation for your future success during the years spent at high school and at varsity, for sure!

A solid education, very often, leads to the opening of so many doors that would otherwise remain locked. Already, a matric certificate is required to get an entry-level job at most large supermarkets! If your aim is beyond that, it’s time to hit the books! There’s no time like the present!

Today’s article looks at how focused students can put in place an easy-to-follow revision timetable which will help them rise above mediocrity!

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Examine Your Study Load

At the start of each term or semester, you will be issued with a roster for your classes and assignments, along with a required reading list and an extra-curricular schedule. Read on to discover many magical time management tips for students.

So, from the outset, it makes sense for you to design a schedule which takes all of these factors into account.

How do you go about it?

Start by listing all of the courses that will be examined at the end of the first term or semester. Then, plot all the assignments on a calendar as they will determine, on a weekly basis, what work has to be completed by a particular date. These submission dates, along with your exam timetable, will help you prioritise your daily grind: reading, submission of assignments and studying for exams!

a list of priorities
Listing out your priorities is necessary when deciding what needs to be studied. - Source: Unsplash

Having laid out all of the academic matters that will lay claim to your time, you would have put in place the building blocks for success, which will keep you focused and on track, obviating nasty surprises which may cause you to fall behind. Keep in mind that you may be stronger at particular subjects than others and this will guide you to apportioning more time to, for instance, Mathematics over English literature.

Immediately after you have created a priority list of all your classes, decide what you will be required to do and follow your schedule religiously, so that exams don’t sneak up on you and catch you by surprise.

Work out, and write down, the estimated amount of time to set aside for reading, completion of assignments and studying. Also, add in any time necessary for you to complete lab work or when you have to collaborate on a project with a peer.

Yes, it may take several hours, or a full day, to construct a solid work schedule, but you would have laid the foundation for, not only for your revision timetable, but for your academic success! You’ll have a plan!

Slot Revision Periods into Your Timetable

After you have analysed your course load for the semester, set aside a particular amount of time per subject, so that you do not spend a disproportionate amount of time on one over another.

It is, obviously, important to note that you will be required to create a new revision timetable or schedule each term or semester, as your courses will change.

When designing your work schedule, it is absolutely necessary for you to fill in all the other activities which may require your time and attention. Slot in when you have a dental appointment or a gym class, or when you’re meeting a friend. Bear in mind that to remain sane while studying, you have to strike a happy balance between work and play or down-time!

However, how does one go about scheduling revision blocks?

Below are some tips:

  • Reserve the same time-slot for a particular subject: rather than having to consult a schedule every day, it may be a wonderful idea to work on or revise a certain subject’s topics or notes during the same time-slot every day. This will create a great rhythm that you’ll soon be in sync with and stops you facing the unknown every time!
  • Fill in all the blank spaces: don’t leave any slots open in your schedule. Rather fill those slots with further review sessions or some down time, which will help to prevent burnout because of non-stop study.
  • Less is really more: you will gain far greater benefits from swotting for a short period of time than trying to cram for two to three hours at a time. It is, thus, recommended that you schedule a 30 to 45-minute study session to help you stay sharp. It is, also, far easier to slot a shorter time period, as opposed to a longer one, into your schedule!
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Consider Using Complementary Review Techniques

After this second step of creating review blocks in your study schedule, you now need to fill in the topic or course that requires attention, along with the review technique you aim to employ.

Say what?

Well, since there are a variety of revision techniques which specifically suit your learning style, you should match a topic with a particular study method.

Spend some time considering the most interesting learning sessions you’ve had, your learning style, personality, weaknesses and strengths. These factors should guide you in terms of how to arrange review sessions to put you in a strong position when exam season starts.

Let’s have a look at a couple of techniques which can help you revise. The list below has several dynamite study methods:

  • Copying out Notes
  • Mini-Quizzes
  • Flashcards
  • Memory Games

All of the above-mentioned revision methods are superb. You can’t go wrong choosing one over another. They all work! Considering your learning style, you now have to fill in the study blocks in your schedule and match each one to a particular study method. You could, for example, quiz yourself on historical dates for an hour every Monday and Wednesday at 11 a.m. and do a 45-minute review of chemical formulae, using flashcards, starting at 2 p.m.

Using a number of different study methods can keep your energy levels high as they are interesting and engaging!

Who would have thought that reviewing your course notes could be fun?

woman creating artwork under magnolia tree
Take time away from your studies to avoid burnout. - Source: Unsplash

Allocate Review Time with Classmates

Not everyone feels lonely when they’re alone, right? However, spending time alone studying can make you feel a bit isolated. Even those of us who tend to be more reserved or private, at some point, relish some time together with others.

To satisfy this extremely important aspect of human interaction, slot a handful of group sessions into your exam study timetable, where your history or science group can discuss and study specific topics together.

However, it is important to limit these sessions to two or three, since, if all participants don’t remain on-task, they can quickly degenerate into a free-for-all, wasting valuable time and, inevitably, add to your exam anxiety.

A study group is great because members can share their concerns and subject strengths. They can toss around new ideas and use one another as sounding boards. The COVID pandemic has, to a large degree, isolated millions and still does not encourage lots of social interaction! However, many bright sparks have made brilliant use of technology and social media platforms. They have kept study groups going by making use of Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and Slack.

To help retain focus, keep the number of members in your group down to between 3 and 6 participants to avoid absolute chaos!

Remember to Have Fun

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." - Proverb

This 17th century proverb really highlights the point that you shouldn’t go through your studies without some ‘me time’. When you undertake a long road-trip, you stop along the way for a toilet break, to have some padkos or to stretch your legs. This is exactly the same strategy you should apply to your studies. This will break down the tedium of study, leaving you refreshed every time and countering the effects of stress, anxiety and discouragement.

Students thrive when they’ve struck a healthy balance between periods of study and stints of recreation. That word has an interesting ring to it; re + creation!

Take good care of yourself and pencil in some down-time, such as chatting to a friend (not as in a texting chat, a real talk), taking a walk to the local park and back or even take a light jog or cycle.

Everyone needs some fun! Right, Jack?

Make Changes to Your Schedule if Necessary

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, not much is cast in stone and plans and appointments have to be reworked and rescheduled. This applies to exam timetables and course choices too.

So, know that, after you’ve poured hours into your wonderfully-designed study schedule, there may be a need for you to change it! If you're at university, you may change tack and not want to continue with a particular course or one of your courses may be cancelled for the semester, necessitating a review of your programme.

sticky notes and stationery on white desk
Be adaptable! Change your schedule when required. - Source: Pexels

Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to design a study schedule using one of the online applications, such as SimplyBook, Calendly, Calendar or Square Appointments. We, however, would like to suggest that you print it out or make your own one, the old-fashioned way, so that you can make any changes using a marker, pencil or pen.

Struggling to modify your study schedule? Superprof has a brilliant bunch of tutors that you can get support from. With one of these experienced and qualified individuals by you side to help you with your exam study timetable and, with their great time management tips for students, you’ll be sailing through your exam preparation like an absolute pro.

Following a revision or study schedule may boost your performance so much that you may end up as the top achiever in your class! Get cracking, success is yours!

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.