Flavia Belham
Chief Scientist @ Seneca Learning
November 20, 2018
How Many Hours A Day Should I Revise?

It can be hard to decide how much time to spend on revision per day. Especially as everybody does it differently. Let’s face it, planning your revision is an absolute minefield. You’ve got a variety of exams spread out over multiple weeks. You might be worried the most about your last exam, but should you then start revising for that one first? It makes you uncomfortable just thinking about it - and you’re looking for advice on what’s the best approach.

We researched what the ideal number of hours to revise is, but couldn’t come to a final conclusion. There are many theories out there that range from half an hour to over seven hours per day. And to be fair, it’s not for us to decide how much you should revise. In the end, it’s a decision that you should be making. But let us walk you through the different theories and give you the different views on this important question.

Theory 1 - Study Around 15-20 Hours per Week for Your GCSEs & A-Levels

The Student Room interviewed) a few students that came with some solid advice. One student recommends starting to revise around 2 months in advance of the exams. He then went on saying that he puts in 15 or more hours a week for his A-level studies during those months. Another student recommends gradually building the number of hours up as you get closer to the exams. She averages around 5-6 hours per subject each week, whereas a different student stated that he does 2 hours per exam per week.

How much revision should I do a day?

Theory 2 - Revise 7 Hours a Day over Easter

Barnaby Lenon, a former headteacher of Harrow, the prestigious independent boarding school that educated the likes of Winston Churchill and Benedict Cumberbatch recommends that GCSE and A-Level students revise around seven hours a day throughout the Easter holidays. That might sound like an insanely high amount of hours to you. And this recommendation has therefore also been greeted with a mixture of concern and skepticism from students, teachers and psychologists.

Lenon makes the argument in his blog saying that: “Public exam results are important. They can determine the course of your life. Other students will be working hard. So it is worthwhile sacrificing your holidays. Your exams will be finished in June and you will then have about two months holiday.” And continues with: “The best GCSE and A-level results don’t go to the cleverest students – they go to those who revised in the Easter holidays.”

Theory 3 - Revise No More than an Hour per Subject per Week

In his post on Quora, Roy Rishworth recommends: “no more than an hour per subject per week, with up to three half-hour slots on weekdays and the remainder at the weekend. For each half hour, set a timer for 25 minutes. Focus on your scheduled subject for those 25 minutes. Then relax for five minutes. Don’t watch TV or go online, relax. If the weather is nice go for a brief stroll, perhaps. Stroke a cat or dog, if you have one.”

As you can see there is no golden rule for how much you can revise. What we recommend is using our learning platform for your revision. Then you can keep an eye on your knowledge score, which indicates how well you memorize the subject and how you scored. Along with the amount of time spend, this will give you a good indication of what subjects you should revise again and how much time to allocate to them. For more tips on revising check out our Ultimate GCSE & A-Level Revision Guide.