When is the best time to start revising for exams?

Remember how you used to feel in the days leading up to your school exams? Worried, anxious, yet desperate to get it over with? Everyone feels that way, even your child.

In fact, you’re probably feeling secondhand anxiety due to their upcoming exams – it’s not uncommon for parents to lament about their children’s lack of urgency compared to their own. But here’s a question to ponder over: just when should they start revising for their exams to become as prepared as possible?

Like studying for the Olympics

Ask an Olympic athlete about the amount of training they receive before the actual event, and they’ll invariably give the same answer: Months or years of preparation. In fact, it’s probably reasonable to assume that they’ll resume training right after their last attempt at the Games; they’ll need every edge they can get to achieve their best.

The same principle generally applies for school exams. Although there’s obviously no need to start preparing for year-end papers in the middle of February, it is true that the more time your child sets aside for revision, the better they’ll fare in the exam halls. Early preparation also reduces their overall anxiety as they will feel more confident in themselves the more they practice.

With that established, there’s only one more question to answer: just how early should your child start their revision? The answer differs from person to person, but by considering the following four factors, you may be able to work out a rough timeline for your child.

Four things to consider when plotting a revision timetable

For this section, let’s assume that you are helping your child plan their revision schedule for their end-of-year Maths exam.

#1: Base understanding of topics. There’s no question that someone with a deeper understanding of maths concepts will require less time to revise. Conversely, a student with gaps in understanding for key topics will take longer to complete their revisions. Ask your child about how they feel about their overall mastery of the subject (note: try not to be judgemental about it), and you’ll get a sense of how long they’ll need.

#2: Time. Are their days filled with numerous activities, or do they have lots of free time to spare? If they’re already busy with other things, are they able to pause those activities if they’re not too important to them? Do understand that not everything they do may be obvious to you as a parent, nor is the importance of what they’re doing (i.e. it could be an avenue for them to let off steam).

#3: The right headspace. Stress can affect your child’s concentration levels, making studying more difficult than usual. If they’re looking more glum about the prospect of more revision, you can consider either starting early but at a much more relaxed pace, or put it off entirely until they’re feeling better later on. The actual revision process itself will also cause some amount of stress, so you’ll need to take that into account when planning out their schedules.

#4: Any additional support needed? This is where you’ll need to think about the miscellaneous upkeep they may need to take care of while they carry out their revision plans, such as their diet, sleeping arrangements, study locations and even transportation to and from school. If they need to handle their meals by themselves for example, make sure you factor that in when you’re estimating the time they need to prepare for their exams.

Having adequate revision time for exams is easier said than done; as this article has pointed out, there’s more than one thing to consider in order to give your child a well-balanced schedule. Hopefully, you’ll now have some idea about how early they should begin their revision, along with how to plan for productive sessions.

Need some additional help to streamline your child’s revision process and make it extra productive? Geniebook’s suite of learning products - GenieSmart, GenieClass and GenieAsk - are fully online and designed to match your child’s learning habits, making it super easy for any student to study at their own pace.

Learn more about them in this article, or try out our Strengths Analysis to see just what we can do for you.

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