The 3 Ts of Revision

When considering revision and how best to teach it, it seems to split nicely into 3 categories; Time Management, Techniques and Test yourself. Here are my favourite methods picked up over 22 years of teaching business, law, accounting and computer science.


As a teacher, it struck me how students struggled to manage the time they had to complete revision tasks every year. Procrastination and distractions make it hard for them to achieve their objectives. Mobile phones add to this with a wealth of apps ready to steal their productivity. Here are some ways that students can use their phones to revise instead:

a) Create a Gantt Chart

This old school tool is still a favourite. Students should map out a Gantt chart at the start of the revision season. It's a tool that will help them to see the bigger picture of all of their revision topics and to be able to start breaking it down into more manageable daily chunks. They can also see any events coming up (like a sister's birthday or a family holiday), and they can factor in the time that they will not be able to revise. This means students are not mentally punishing themselves from being away from the books, as they have already accounted for this interruption. I would suggest they make it on Excel, but there are many apps available that will allow students to create more exciting versions. Some require a subscription, so investigate the free options first. Activities should go down the first column and time across the top. They can put in days, weeks or months. They can have any system of coloured blocks. It will also help students to see that they can do more than one task at one revision session if they have two blocks in a column.

b) Crisis Square

This tool has a variety of names and its origins are unclear, but I have always called it crisis square to give it the most impact. To begin with, students should be given a copy of the specification to RAG (red, amber, green) rate, in terms of how well they know a topic and how confident they are about answering exam questions on it. Students should then be encouraged to draw this matrix out and put all the tasks for revision based on their red, amber, green status into the boxes. Those in the urgent and important box are now in the crisis square. These are the topics that must be tackled first. They can also add all their "time stealers" to the not important and not urgent box. This helps to give them a sense of priority of tasks.

c) Top 3

This technique was shared with me recently by a year 13 who had been inspired by their geography teacher. When faced with an overwhelming amount of GCSE revision the teacher had suggested that the student should write a list in coloumns of everything to be revised. There could be a column of topics for each subject e.g. history, maths, English etc. and then each day he should choose just the top three. These should be revised first and when the student is satisfied they should be removed from the list,