Christmas is upon us! For students, two or three weeks of fun and excitement lie ahead. It is a chance to rest, celebrate with family and friends and…revise! This is especially true if you have a teenager who is sitting GCSEs or A levels in the summer, or have their mock exams in the new year. The big question is how much revision to do over Christmas.

Some students, believe it or not, like to revise…a lot. They will see the Christmas holidays as an opportunity to get lots done, without the small matter of school or homework getting in the way. However, revising all the time during the holiday, isn’t necessarily the right approach.

Other students, on the other hand, cannot wait to put their school books away, and not get them out again, until the night before they are due to return to school. Surprisingly, this is not the right approach either.

Those who work constantly throughout the holidays will return to school as though they haven’t had a break. There is still a long way until the summer exams and holidays are there to rest. While those who pass the whole holiday without picking up a pen might return to school in a panic and overwhelmed by what the year ahead will bring.

The trick is to get the balance right, between having a relaxing break and revising, so that you are both rested and ready to return to school.

Here are a few pointers to help your teenagers get that balance right about how much revision to do over Christmas:

  • Aim to switch off from school work for one of the weeks of the holiday and then revise during the other week (or two if the holidays are longer). Enjoy Christmas week, concentrating on family, friends and activities that don’t involve school work.
  • Aim to complete three to four hours a day, with breaks in between. Four hours a day will add up to twenty hours over the week.
  • Christmas holidays can be complicated, with a visit to relatives here and friends staying for New Year there. If this is your family’s holiday, plan study days in advance when you can concentrate on work at home. Try to avoid fitting the study in, around the family celebrations. Studies (see show that we’re not good at multi-tasking. Instead of saving us time, constantly switching between tasks results in us being less productive and it is not good for our brain.
  • There are alternative, family-friendly ways of studying, which can be equally valuable, and do not involve picking up a flashcard or a pen, for those non-study days. These include reading a book related to a course being studied….perhaps a history or science book.
  • GCSEs and A levels reward students who have wider knowledge and understanding of the subject. Perhaps a visit to the theatre for English or a walk along the coast or a river for Geography? Or if you have read our previous blog about Christmas board games, play a game to improve your Maths skills.

So how much revision to do over Christmas? It is a holiday, so even on those study days, enjoy a lie-in, keep evenings free for other activities, and revise during the day time. By doing this, it will feel like a break from normal school routines, allowing both time for rest and for revision.

Here at we offer support in preparing for exams as part of our mentoring and study and revision programmes. Contact us today to find out how we can support you.