Sit with your child and help them work out a revision timetable, planning months ahead of exam time - not just weeks before! Smaller, regular revisions sessions are usually much more productive than cramming (or leaving everything to the last minute, which increases stress) so starting revision well in advance is a good strategy.
If your child is well organised and wants to create their own timetable without your help, fantastic! If possible, get them to share it with you and talk through why they’ve structured it the way they have so you can help tweak it early on if you spot areas that could be improved.
An example of a revision timetable:
As well as long term goals, help them break down their different revision goals, so they will get a sense of achievement after every revision session (i.e answer question 1 on page 23 of the textbook). Feeling that they have done what they set out to do will positively reinforce and encourage them to start their next revision session feeling capable rather than over-whelmed.
Keep subject focus
They might be taking lots of subjects at GCSE but try to stick to just two or three subjects on weeknights to help them stay focused and block the sessions into chunks with short breaks in between. For example, rather than suggest revision from 7 pm until 9 pm, have revision in 25 minute stretches with five minute breaks in between. This doesn’t mean they can’t spend 50 minutes on one subject, it just allows them to rest their eyes and change thinking patterns by taking a break in between.
Factor in relaxation time
You can also make sure they are taking longer breaks by including activities that are not related to revision so that they can still enjoy time with friends and family and their hobbies. Even in the lead up to exam time, taking time out is crucial. It’s important that as well as outlining when they will be revising, they can also see that they have dedicated time for fun things too.
Be strict yet flexible
Part of the value in creating a revision timetable is to ensure all topics are covered in the lead up to exams, rather than your child getting side-tracked by one subject they either find very difficult or prefer doing. Sticking to the timetable is important and promotes self-discipline. However, sometimes things take longer than expected, so don’t get cross if your child deviates from the plan. A good idea is to factor in some unassigned revision time to make flexibility easier.
For more advice and tips on how you can help your child revise for their GCSEs or Sixth-form exams, see The Parents' Guide to Exam revision KS4 (GCSE) or KS5 (Sixth form).