The days are getting longer, we have sunshine and warm weather and the lockdown is gradually easing. It’s the Easter holidays, which translates as two weeks of endless social possibilities if you are a teenager who has been cooped up all winter, not allowed to see their friends. Easter also heralds the start of the exam season. Although external A levels and GCSEs have been cancelled this year, exams certainly haven’t been cancelled. For many Year 13 and Year 11 students, they have been replaced with multiple formal and informal assessments, in their school’s quest to attain the necessary evidence in order to make a reasoned judgement on the eventual grade. So, how much revision to do over Easter?

I remember a BBC article from 2018 about how much revision to do over Easter. A head teacher advised that students study seven hours a day over the Easter holidays. Other educational experts had disagreed and said this was far too much. Although I don’t agree with the seven hour rule, insofar that all students are different and what works for one will not work for another, I did agree with him when he said that, “The best GCSE and A level results don’t go to the cleverest students, they go to those who revised in the Easter holidays.”

This Easter provides an opportunity to rest and reflect following an exhausting term consisting of eight weeks of remote learning and four weeks of being back at school, wearing masks and getting used to lateral flow testing so it is important that you have a rest too. However, it also provides an opportunity to prepare for vital assessments that lie ahead.

If a student uses the time of the school holidays well, they can be a very effective part of the revision and preparation process. However, if students squander the time, and do very little, they can hinder the process, and leave you feeling as though you have missed an opportunity.

The trick is to get the balance between work and play right. You should return to school following the Easter holidays feeling refreshed, prepared and ready for the assessments to come.

How much revision to do over Easter?

  • Aim to complete between four and six hours of work a day, with breaks in between. Four hours a day will add up to 20 hours per week and six hours to 30 hours per week. This is more or less equivalent to a school day.
  • Try as best as you can to work during school hours and on week days. By having the long evenings and weekends free, this will help you to feel as though you have lots of time to do other activities and see your friends.
  • If you enjoy a lie-in during the holiday, have a later start. Equally if you like to be up with the larks, get up and get it all done and enjoy the afternoons off. It’s your time to take control of.
  • Depending on the proximity of the exams, take some time off during the holiday and have a break. If your exams start straightaway on return to school, have the Easter bank holiday long weekend off. If your exams are a few weeks away, have the first week off and the second week studying. At the time, it might not seem like it, but having a break from studying will help concentration and focus when you return to your revision.
  • Mix it up. Holidays can be unexpected with a surprise visit from family members or a spontaneous day trip to the seaside. By mixing up your subjects you will not lose a whole day’s revision of one subject if you decide to have the day off.
  • Make a revision timetable at the start of the week. A good revision/study plan will be focused, flexible and time specific. It will allow for breaks and cover subjects in chunks, spreading them out throughout the plan.
  • Enjoy your holiday and give yourself some nice treats: meeting friends, getting some fresh air, sunshine and exercise.

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