Productive Exam Revision Tactics for the Christmas Holidays

Productive Exam Revision Tactics for the Christmas Holidays

April 4th 2017

The key to Christmas holiday revision is to be super-organised, and to plan ahead. Our specialist exam tutors share some ideas for parents keen to help students have a magical Christmas AND some productive revision sessions.

For many GCSE and A level students, Christmas means more than just mince pies, silly hats and Santa – it also means crunch time for mocks revision, and perhaps a looming UCAS deadline too. Balancing the festivities and frolics with serious studying is not easy, but it can be done.

1. Focus on Deadlines First

Is there coursework to complete, or any other task which has a fixed date by which it must be done? Encourage your teen to focus on this task first. Getting that out of the way builds a sense of accomplishment, and will also mean that even if nothing else happens, study-wise, the Christmas holidays will have been useful for something.

2. Create a Calendar

Getting your teen to fill in a calendar at the start of the Christmas holidays can be very useful – but don’t expect them to forgo the fun. Put social events, parties, outings and family activities on the calendar first, as a priority – then your student can see what time is left that they could usefully use for their studies. Doing it this way round rather than prioritising the revision sessions will make it seem much less daunting for your teen – and more fun.

3. Encourage Effective Study Habits

By now, hopefully, your teen will understand how they personally learn best, and can incorporate relevant techniques into their revision, whether it’s mind-mapping, singing, or Q&A sessions with a partner. 15 minutes a day on something which actually works is better than multiple blocks of several hours during which your teen stares into space and feels hard done by.

4. Christmas Comes But Once a Year

….so let your teen make the most of it. The days leading up to Christmas are few, and it’s not fair to expect your child to shut themselves away from the festivities. Instead, encourage him or her to do as much studying as possible during the week between Christmas and New Year, when the parties have finished and there’s much more down time available.

5. Don’t Panic

If New Year arrives and your teen’s spent the entire holiday chilling out, stay calm. There will still be time in January for revision, once the school term has begun. Relaxation during holiday periods is important, and will have helped your child feel refreshed and energised once school starts back.

Steve Spriggs, MD of William Clarence Education, sees a lot of families under pressure over the Christmas period, trying to sort out the tricky balance between study and free time. “Smart studying is what matters,” he says. “It’s not the length of time spent studying which counts, it’s how much learning is actually being done. As well as focused revision periods, teenagers need plenty of down time in order to process their learning, and to foster a sense of wellbeing and motivation.”

Revising little and often, using a method which suits your teen, brings a Christmas holiday period which can be both festive and focused – so if your teen is facing deadlines and exam pressure this Christmas, dish out goodwill and trust along with the mince pies, and let the studying evolve at the student’s own pace.




William Clarence Education is the leading education advisory and consultancy service in the UK. With an unrivalled reach into the UK Schooling and University network, we help and advise families from around the world to reach their maximum potential and gain access to the very best of British education.  

William Clarence put the student’s needs and welfare at the centre of every programme of study we deliver with a focus on integrity and discretion.  Services include UK School and University Placement, Residential Tutoring, Oxbridge Application, US College Admission and Homeschooling.

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