5 Things You Need to Do before the Christmas holidays

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Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.

As term draws to a close and you prepare for the Christmas holidays, we’ve put together a checklist of things that you should be thinking about before you break up. 

No need to sweat if you’ve got GCSE mocks appearing on the horizon – just ask yourself the following five questions and tick each one off to make sure you have everything you need before school’s out for Christmas.

1. When are your exams?

This may sound too simple but be sure you know exactly when you’ll be sitting your January exams before the end of term. A nice-looking revision timetable never hurt anyone, and knowing when your exams are happening will help you make your revision plan well before the big days ahead. You’ll be able to properly schedule in your various days of GCSE past papers study, and you’ll also be able to organise in advance those days where you can kick back a little.

2. What homework have you been set over the Christmas holidays?

Lots of your homework will no doubt involve revising for your exams, but you may also have some other pieces of work to do in preparation for next term. Think about how homework will fit in with your revision timetable, and how you can make sure that you’re staying on top of your homework requirements, whilst revising for exams and eating mince pies.

We’d recommend getting any big pieces of homework (that are likely to take more than half an hour) out of the way before Christmas Day, so that after Christmas you can focus on getting into a good revision rhythm.


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3. Do you have all the necessary revision tools?

With the Christmas period fast approaching (and lots of shops likely to be shut or super busy over Christmas), have you thought about the text books, revision guides, primary texts and stationary you’re going to need over the holidays to do your best revision?

If there’s anything you need to buy or order, do it as soon as possible so that you don’t have any excuse for not getting started. For a comprehensive list of the things you might need, check out this blog post.

You should also make the most of your school’s library whilst you’re at school with full access this week. Borrow everything you might need over the holidays – because there’s nothing worse than missing an important resource when you’re trying to revise.

This is also a good time to make sure you’ve got all the lovely stationary that makes for a happy revision experience. Go wild in WHSmith now, rather than wasting a valuable day of revision in the Christmas holidays shopping for highlighters.

4. How will you be approaching revision?

January exams won’t be testing your entire syllabus, because you haven’t finished learning it yet!

So in preparation for your January exams, make sure you know what topics are going to be covered so that you can use your time efficiently. This is also a good time to take stock and think about whether there are topics that need some special attention.

Go and speak to your teachers if there are topics that you find particularly tricky or that you don’t think you’ve quite got your head around yet. Revision confusion isn’t going to be very helpful, so use your teachers this week whilst they’re still around, and get your topics clear in your mind.

Here are some tips from us on what your revision process should look like.

5. Hang on… am I still allowed to have fun?


The holidays are an important time for you to recharge and give yourself space before jumping back into exams next term. Take some time out to have some festive fun with family and friends; just make sure that you keep this balanced with your academic responsibilities.

The next few months are going to be quite intense but you don’t need to be overwhelmed by this – remember to keep taking time out, talk to trusted family and friends about any worries that you have, and ask your teachers if you need any extra help with your learning. You’ve got this.

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