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Tell me what is wrong with this GCSE revision timetable....

(134 Posts)
IfYouCantSeeMyMirrors Mon 11-Nov-19 13:44:17

….which I have made up. Child due to sit GCSEs in summer 2020 - reasonably bright, reasonably amenable, and not that bothered one way or the other.

Here's my idea in brief: 200 hours of revision, starting from the New Year. (Child sorts out what actually needs to be revised before then and retrieves books from the rubbish tip of bedroom.) To be done in 1-hour slots. 2 hours per night for 3 nights of the school week (with the rest of the time taken up with activities and generally slobbing about), 5 hours for one day of the weekend (the other day at their intermittent Saturday job or relaxing).

Any homework given will be done during those 'work periods' too. During the Easter and May holidays, most days will be 5-hour revision days, making up for the time lost to that.

200 hours, 10 subjects, 20 hours for each. Divide each subject into ten 'parts' and revise each part twice.

Sounds perfect to me. What's wrong with it? This is my first child through the system, but I have more to come....

OP’s posts: |
thekingfisher Mon 11-Nov-19 13:45:44

I can't bear to revisit last year as it was sooooooo stressful. However my first view is that most subjects do not break down into 10 easy sections.

dementedpixie Mon 11-Nov-19 13:48:27

I never monitored and microwave managed my dd to that extent during her exams. 5 hours study each day in the holidays sounds a bit insane tbh

dementedpixie Mon 11-Nov-19 13:49:18

Should be micromanaged, dont know why theres a microwave in there!

thingsgetbetterf Mon 11-Nov-19 13:50:35

As someone who sat their GCSEs only 8 years ago I can tell you that I didn't, and don't know of 1 person, who revised for 5 hours in one go. I imagine he'd lose interest very quickly and most of that time would be sat staring into space.

But tbh my mum never told me how much I should be revising and when, she trusted that I would do what needed doing and if I didn't that was on me. I also won't be making my children revision schedules and don't really understand why you have, especially in so much detail when I'm guessing he's at least 15 and can do it himself so maybe I'm not the best person to answer.

I passed all 11 of mine for what it's worth with nothing under a C so sorting my own revision out worked for me🤷🏻‍♀️

MildlyMiserable Mon 11-Nov-19 13:50:46

I have a GCSE teen, he is doing before school revision, after school revision, Saturday revision, half term and holiday revision, as well as lessons and homework, there’s no way I’m going to add to the revision quagmire - we both need a bit of life!

Nat6999 Mon 11-Nov-19 13:55:12

Ds did after school & saturday morning revision classes before his Y10 mocks. He does at least 90 minutes homework every school night & probably 2-3 hours at weekends, plus an hours maths with a private tutor every week. I'm not going to pile any more pressure on him, he is working hard enough.

RedskyToNight Mon 11-Nov-19 14:00:01

DC's school have suggested shorter revision periods and more revisting (so say 25 minutes one day, then review what you did in the previous session and move on to the next thing, a couple of days later).

You are not factoring in whatever revision they do at school and whatever school support sessions he may wish to attend.

Some subjects will need revising (or he will need to revise) more than others.

Some things lend themselves more to frequent but short repetition (e.g. learning physics formulae)

Has he asked you to do this? I've come up with a revision timetable for mocks for my DC, but he asked me to help him with it and he's provided a lot of input and we are constantly tweaking it. If your DC has not bought into it, this is a bit pointless.

eenymeenyminyme Mon 11-Nov-19 14:01:46

DD has her GCSEs next summer and I wouldn't dream of dictating how many hours she spends revising what! She's old enough now to know what she needs to do, I'm just there to encourage and support her.

Of course if I don't think she's doing any there will be words but I can only advise really. She uses her laptop to revise (google classrooms, etc) but without standing over her I don't know whether she's doing what she's supposed to be or watching Netflix.

Sounds like quite a heavy timetable you've suggested IMO - what does your child think of it?

PanemEtCircenses Mon 11-Nov-19 14:02:53

Subjects don't break up into parts like that. If your child wants this help then download each syllabus and/or buy the revision guide to work out how many topics and how easiest to split them.
It's also likely that following mocks it will be clear where they need to concentrate efforts.
Does your child know how to revise? if they sit down and leaf through some notes it will be next to useless. Helping them learn the skills they need for revision will be more helpful than enforcing a timetable, and invaluable when it comes to a levels.

And make it specific to each subject - eg my kids do language vocab practise in ten minute chunks whilst on the bus (having set this up on flashcards on their phones).
By the Easter holidays my kids do the same length sessions as the exams for that subject. This fits in well with doing past papers. A mixture of one of these sessions a day, and 2 a day (prep for stamina needed on days with 2 exams in them).

Foxesandsquirrels Mon 11-Nov-19 14:06:59

I would look up study YouTubers. These are really clever kids who did really well by making sure their revision was useful and helpful. All of them advise to start receiving in Easter and prepare revision material before that. Your child will get burned out.

PatienceVirtue Mon 11-Nov-19 14:07:19

Am I being thick, but how do you start revising in the New Year for exams in May? (I am coming from the perspective of person who did O levels for which you revised the week before if you were feeling particularly diligent, the night before if not).

I'm trying to stay out of it for my own sanity but I'm thinking my main job is to a) keep him off his phone/xbox at least some of the time, b) make him get to bed early and c) feed him (perhaps this is where microwave management comes in).

He's got mocks at the beginning of January so I'll make sure he's got quiet space to revise for those over the Christmas holidays as well as one of us testing him when needed. If these go well I'll continue with light touch approach.

IfYouCantSeeMyMirrors Mon 11-Nov-19 14:21:07

OK, feeling slightly less smug now! I should point out that the school has asked us to come up with such timetables, on the grounds that we know our children best and what other things they have to do - I'm not attempting to micromanage and have no intention of showing this to my child! The school's own suggested timetable was MUCH more hardcore than mine!

To answer specific points: it wouldn't be 5 hours in one go! Say 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening. That would include any homework set. There are no school-based before or after school or Saturday or holiday revision slots, and no tutors involved.

OP’s posts: |
TeenPlusTwenties Mon 11-Nov-19 15:14:22

I did micromanage my disorganised-dyspraxic DD's GCSE revision because she couldn't/can't organise her way out of a paper bag.

I set it up in phases.

Sort of like this:
Phase 1 before Jan Mocks:
- create revision cards for all subjects being covered in mocks (autumn term)
then (xmas holidays)
- list of major topics per subject
- estimate hours needed for each topic
- total hours needed
- work out reasonable working over xmas
- fit the two together.
Phase 2 After mocks before Easter
- Target work on weak areas from mocks && create other revision cards
- estimate for each subject hours needed
- etc
Phase 3 Easter until first exam
- Target Learn everything prior to half term PLUS first go through of after half term info
- estimate hours needed
- etc
- use time between exams to refresh for next exam or later ones that week
Phase 4 Half term to end
- learn remaining content
etc

DD1 managed 4.5-5 hrs revision per non school day in ~45 min slots. usually 3 hrs between 9am-1pm, and 1.5-2 between 4pm-6:15pm.

Revision jazzed up between
- learning from guide
- online
- test papers
- me going through helping / quizzing
Some subjects better done in the morning, but others eg MFL could be left for later in the day.
We blocked per subject and then did more detailed short term planning, and allowed flexibility eg 'don't feel like physics today'.

The main thing though is timetable was done with DD's agreement. We estimated together work required, we discussed what hours would suit her, so it wasn't me imposing it.

For DD, 20 hrs would have been totally insufficient for Chemistry, but was easily sufficient for MFL.

ArthurtheCatsHumanSlave Mon 11-Nov-19 15:43:08

I personally think starting formal revision that early is counter productive. By the time you get to Easter, revision fatigue will have set in. Assuming DC has mocks at end of year/start of year, quite a lot will be covered by then in terms of good notes, and revision guides. More detailed revision can be done later. Also, don't forget, depending on the school, some subjects may not be finished until Easter anyway.

Wolfiefan Mon 11-Nov-19 15:45:47

What’s wrong is that you’ve done it. You don’t know the course best and you don’t know your child best. They do. Students should work out their own strategy based on what subjects they’re doing and their own areas of strength or weakness.

IfYouCantSeeMyMirrors Mon 11-Nov-19 16:38:00

That's a lovely idea @Wolfiefan, which I can guarantee in this case would end up with no strategy at all!

OP’s posts: |
PanamaPattie Mon 11-Nov-19 16:44:40

Too much too soon. My DC didn't start revision until the Easter break. No issues. They all passed their grades. IMO, this pressure is too much. It's not good for their mental health.

BeyondMyWits Mon 11-Nov-19 16:47:47

DD(now 17 and doing A levels) did her own timetable for GCSEs. It did not include as much time as yours - maybe one third to half that, and started in the Easter break. School also put on Easter revision classes.

She did very well. I think a part of that was because she focussed her revision where she needed it and did not do too much, so didn't "burn out" too soon. They get bored and fed up of learning.

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 11-Nov-19 16:52:37

NB, in my timetable above, Phase 2 was way lighter on hours than the other 3, producing a breather between mocks and Easter.

Wolfiefan Mon 11-Nov-19 16:56:06

But you saying what should be revised and when will not ensure any more revision takes place. It is vital that students know their strengths and weaknesses and tailor their revision plan to suit them.
Also if the school is completely failing to support students through GCSE I would be very unimpressed. It’s not down to parents to take that role.

LolaSmiles Mon 11-Nov-19 16:57:08

It sounds too much to me.

My advice to my students is to revise effectively.

Often students prefer methods of revision that aren't the most effective and are often quite time consuming.

I suggest my students do the following:
- phase 1: September to mock exams, look at the topic list for mock exams. RAG them and then use their revision guides to recap their weakest topics first. Do some prep in class and start introducing revision strategies.
Phase 2 from Feb half term to the exams
- little and often, 30-45 minute slots of meaningful revision (not 1 hour of checking phones, sorting revision guides, deciding if they'll mind map or exam questions)
- each week identify weaknesses from our recall tasks and make that one of their revision tasks to recap and redo
- use a strategy bank and revision materials (I provide this for them all)
- do lots of mock questions, planned or written in full

This links to what I do with them in class:
- regularly recalling information from old topics as starters
- homework exam questions from older topics
- explicitly teaching effective strategies for revision

Crucially, THEY have to be the ones to make their timetable. They need time for hobbies and to see friends and also time just to be and chill.

beingchampion Mon 11-Nov-19 16:58:03

What's wrong with it? You did it and you're not the one taking the exam..

Let your child sort it themselves. Are you sure that the school told you to perfectly plan 200 hours of revision? That sounds insane.

user1494670108 Mon 11-Nov-19 17:02:25

What's wrong with it is they you have created this plan and not your child

ClashCityRocker Mon 11-Nov-19 17:04:49

The problem is you're assuming all subjects will need an equal amount of time - and then that each area will divide nicely into ten which again will take an equal amount of time.

This is unlikely to be the case and needs to be adapted to suit your child. For example, if they're secure in religious studies but weaker in maths, it would be madness to dedicate the same amount of study time to each.

No comment on the amount of time planned... I did my gcses 16 years ago and didn't spend anywhere near that amount of time but I know things have changed a lot then!

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