A Level Revision: Easter Holiday revision plan

Written by Rory Reilly
Schools Specialist at Modelex, Monaco.
A Level Revision Plan for the Easter Holidays
In my 30 year career teaching, I frequently despaired at my colleagues' advice on how to revise. Most seemed totally divorced from reality, or at least the reality of the adolescent. Most saw their particular subject as the most important and expected far too much from their pupils. Even today, when I see advice such as suggesting that the subject specification is the place to start, I think "how can you expect that of a pupil who is feeling just every so slightly desperate right now?"

Good advice should be realistic, and realistically, your average teenager is not going to work for eight hours per day for four weeks right through the holidays.

Let's take your average A level pupil, studying three subjects, with almost four weeks holiday from his/her Independent school. One week will be spent on family holiday, visiting relatives, going on a training camp etc... Two other weekends are given over to other activities and the first weekend is an opportunity for sleep. To start, decide on the number of hours of intensive revision that is actually feasible. I'm not talking about the more gentle reading that can be done in the evening, – I mean the really intense stuff(we'll come to the how later). My advice is to allocate four hours in the morning to the sort of work that really does drive that knowledge into your brain cells.

So we have three subjects, often divided into two teachers' timetables, or in other words six files to be dealt with.

15 days multiplied by 4 hours, divided by the 6 chunks of subject matter and you have—10 hours for your Physical Geography, Mechanics, British History, or whatever. Now have a look at the topics that your teacher has told you to cover. Select the ten that need attention and slot these into your plan. And about that plan – decide on the hours, the chunks of time, the topics, and stick to it.

Where you study is up to you, but don't head for your bedroom only to spend all your time studying the paint pattern on the wall or racing raindrops down windows. I personally couldn't study in my room, it was a disaster. You may work better at the kitchen table, in the study, conservatory or wherever but make sure it is somewhere that will work for you. I would also opt for a quiet room, studies show that in many cases background music impedes absorption of information.

Some will like to use index cards, others special notebooks. My preference was for A4 exercise books. All topics were re-noted, original notes were condensed and a discreet topic would be transferred onto one side of carefully designed A4. Headings were in red, text in black, key words underlined and so on. Don't try to revise by just reading your notes, it doesn't work. Re-work them into neat, carefully designed sheets, which will be so easy to revise from during those final days or hours before the exam. Condensing your class and homework notes like this really does get the subject matter to lodge in the brain. As you condense, you are forcing yourself to prioritise the information into the essential ideas of facts. Do not scribble, take pride in these, they are the most important notes that you have ever written and each day will end with a real sense of accomplishment. I have suggested working in the morning. This is not because research suggests this is the best time, it is simply so that you get the work out of the way, so that by lunch time you feel a real sense of accomplishment. You will be doing something positive while the rest of your world is in bed, on their phones or watching YouTube. It also leaves a guilt-free afternoon or evening to be played with. It may be that you could spend time reading that textbook, going over those poems, reading that chapter, but you don't have to, you have already done the serious work.15 days of work will result in 60 carefully designed and written revision pages!

Consistency is key, set the start day and then stick to it, otherwise you will spend the next two days re-designing your whole programme. And don't spend your precious revision time "organising" your files. If you want to do that, do it in the afternoon or evening.

You won't have covered everything by the time you get back to school, but you will have covered a lot, you will also have learnt how to revise and with still more weeks to go before the exams kick in. Good luck!

A Level Tuition in Monaco

At Modelex, we have extensive experience in tutoring students to excel at their International A-Levels. With 21 subjects available, the International A-Level offers a broad set of qualifications which are directly comparable to the UK A-Levels, and are considered equal for the purposes of university entrance.
Read more about our A Level tuition
A Level Easter Revision Plan
In my 30 year career teaching, I frequently despaired at my colleagues' advice on how to revise. Most seemed totally divorced from reality, or at least the reality of the adolescent. Most saw their particular subject as the most important and expected far too much from their pupils. Even today, when I see advice such as suggesting that the subject specification is the place to start, I think "how can you expect that of a pupil who is feeling just every so slightly desperate right now?"

Good advice should be realistic, and realistically, your average teenager is not going to work for eight hours per day for four weeks right through the holidays.

Let's take your average A level pupil, studying three subjects, with almost four weeks holiday from his/her Independent school. One week will be spent on family holiday, visiting relatives, going on a training camp etc... Two other weekends are given over to other activities and the first weekend is an opportunity for sleep. To start, decide on the number of hours of intensive revision that is actually feasible. I'm not talking about the more gentle reading that can be done in the evening, – I mean the really intense stuff(we'll come to the how later). My advice is to allocate four hours in the morning to the sort of work that really does drive that knowledge into your brain cells.

So we have three subjects, often divided into two teachers' timetables, or in other words six files to be dealt with.

15 days multiplied by 4 hours, divided by the 6 chunks of subject matter and you have—10 hours for your Physical Geography, Mechanics, British History, or whatever. Now have a look at the topics that your teacher has told you to cover. Select the ten that need attention and slot these into your plan. And about that plan – decide on the hours, the chunks of time, the topics, and stick to it.

Where you study is up to you, but don't head for your bedroom only to spend all your time studying the paint pattern on the wall or racing raindrops down windows. I personally couldn't study in my room, it was a disaster. You may work better at the kitchen table, in the study, conservatory or wherever but make sure it is somewhere that will work for you. I would also opt for a quiet room, studies show that in many cases background music impedes absorption of information.

Some will like to use index cards, others special notebooks. My preference was for A4 exercise books. All topics were re-noted, original notes were condensed and a discreet topic would be transferred onto one side of carefully designed A4. Headings were in red, text in black, key words underlined and so on. Don't try to revise by just reading your notes, it doesn't work. Re-work them into neat, carefully designed sheets, which will be so easy to revise from during those final days or hours before the exam. Condensing your class and homework notes like this really does get the subject matter to lodge in the brain. As you condense, you are forcing yourself to prioritise the information into the essential ideas of facts. Do not scribble, take pride in these, they are the most important notes that you have ever written and each day will end with a real sense of accomplishment. I have suggested working in the morning. This is not because research suggests this is the best time, it is simply so that you get the work out of the way, so that by lunch time you feel a real sense of accomplishment. You will be doing something positive while the rest of your world is in bed, on their phones or watching YouTube. It also leaves a guilt-free afternoon or evening to be played with. It may be that you could spend time reading that textbook, going over those poems, reading that chapter, but you don't have to, you have already done the serious work.15 days of work will result in 60 carefully designed and written revision pages!

Consistency is key, set the start day and then stick to it, otherwise you will spend the next two days re-designing your whole programme. And don't spend your precious revision time "organising" your files. If you want to do that, do it in the afternoon or evening.

You won't have covered everything by the time you get back to school, but you will have covered a lot, you will also have learnt how to revise and with still more weeks to go before the exams kick in. Good luck!

A Level Tuition in Monaco

At Modelex, we have extensive experience in tutoring students to excel at their International A-Levels. With 21 subjects available, the International A-Level offers a broad set of qualifications which are directly comparable to the UK A-Levels, and are considered equal for the purposes of university entrance.
Read more about our A Level tuition.