Talking Heads: How to Revise Over the Holidays

By Independent School Parent

Stephen Jones
St Edward’s School, Oxford

The holidays are a crucial time for revision, particularly if you are taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma, as IB exams begin in early May.

If you build yourself a clear, achievable plan, you will feel a sense of comfort as you work your way through it. You should also be honest with yourself about the topics you need to tackle, as it is the problem areas that will require the most attention.

Eat and sleep well, take breaks, see friends, and continue taking part in the activities that make you feel good. A calm, well-prepared and well-nourished mind will always produce the best results on the day.

Elizabeth Cairncross
Wells Cathedral School, Somerset

Ask classmates what works well for them, and share what works for you. Build a framework, and identify where is best to work, when and for how long.

Fill your framework with fun activities amongst revision periods, including sport, music, friends and sleep. When you’re revising, leave your phone in another room, but when you’re meeting friends, leave your books behind – unless it’s a buddy session.

For parents – help children by firing questions and testing their knowledge. And remember: “fridge full, mouth shut”. Be the background when revision hits a brief pause and the fridge is raided!

Kirsty von Malaisé
Norwich High School for Girls

I would recommend having a couple of days’ rest to recover once the holidays begin. That way, when you return to your studies, you will feel that much fresher. The secret then is to pace yourself for the long haul.

Draw up a revision schedule, aiming to do no more than an-hour-and-a-half at a time. Give yourself rewards if you hit targets, avoid working late at night, and eat regular meals. If you find it harder to work alone, meet friends to go over the work together. And if you’re running our of steam, it’s best to take a little break and return to work with a lighter heart.

Jenny Dwyer
Sherborne Girls, Dorset

Work backwards to make sure that at the end of the holiday, you are rested and have done enough work to face the exams with confidence. Prepare to succeed!

I always advise students to work for two thirds of the time, two thirds of the time. This means that if there are three week’s holiday, take a week off and have some fun, but try to get into a reasonable routine. For the other two weeks, work two sessions either in the morning, afternoon or evening.

Tell yourself that you may need to work, but it will be worthwhile. Hopefully you will find that all your hard work and revision pays off!