How much revision is too much revision?

‘There’s no such thing as too much revision’, is something you might have heard from your parents or teachers but is it actually true? Below, we sort fact from fiction and give you some guidelines for time management during your revision.

Students writing in notepads and typing on laptops in library

Everyone’s revision is different

Former headteacher Barnaby Lenon once made the news by suggesting that students should revise for seven hours a day over the Easter holidays (and you can probably guess how well that went down), but others say it’s the quality, not the quantity of revision that matters.

The important thing to remember is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all all rule for revision. Seven hours of straight revision might feel productive but it won’t work for everyone because we all learn a little differently. Some people prefer lots of short sessions, while others might pick a single subject and focus on it for most of the day. Take our quiz to find your learning style.

Attempting to take in a lot of information all at once is really hard on your brain and helps contribute to a lack of concentration, boredom and that constant nagging desire to check your phone! In short, seven hours a day is too much revision.

So how long should I revise?

According to The Student Room, most students spend around 15-20 hours revising over a working week. That’s around three-to-four hours per day. If that still sounds like a lot, don’t worry – it’s just a guide. How you revise is more important than how much revision you do, so here are a few time management tips that make the most of how your brain works.

Space out your revision

Another counter-argument to long periods of revision is that revising in this way makes it harder for you to store information. Instead of revising for five hours, it’s better to split the time up into five one-hour sessions throughout the week. Spreading out your revision rather than cramming it all into extremely long sessions helps with your recall and is based on a technique called ‘spaced repetition’. Find out more in our guide to the best revision techniques.

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Include testing in your revision plan

After spacing out your revision, the best way to retain all the information you’ve learned is to test yourself. Using mock exam papers gives your revision some structure and having a goal to achieve at the end of a session will motivate you to keep going. Seeing how much you actually know about a topic will also give you the chance to correct any errors or misunderstandings in your learning.

Revise before bed

Don’t: stay up all night revising.
Do: slot in some quick revision sessions before bed.
Research shows that sleeping after learning something can help you retain it up to a week later. You don’t have to spend seven hours trying to remember a topic and there’s no need for all-nighters; it’s a win-win! Find out more about the benefits of revising at different times of day.

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