Revision week

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Revision week is a period in the UK and other Commonwealth countries preceding examinations in high schools, higher education institutions, and military colleges. In American colleges, this period is known as a Reading Period.[1] Generally, this period is one week long and free of classes or assessment, permitting students to spend the period revising material, generally in preparation for final exams. With the exception of Canadian post-secondary institutions, is not often allocated for mid-semester or ongoing assessment. Each day of such a period may be referred to as a reading day.

The term "revision week" is chiefly used in Commonwealth countries, where it is also known as "swotvac" or "stuvac". For post-secondary institutions in anglophone Canada, it is common to have "reading week" or "mid-term break" during the third week of February, coinciding with Family Day. While in francophone Canada, "semaine d'études," "semaine d'activités libres," or "semaine de lecture," typically falls on the first or second week of March. Some Canadian post-secondary institutions have even adopted reading weeks for the fall academic term, either in October or November, typically coinciding with Thanksgiving or Remembrance Day respectively. In the US this period is generally referred to as reading period or (as slang) dead week or dead days.[2]


The term swotvac (swot vac, swotvac) is commonly used in Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, to refer to this period. The term is a blend of the swot and vac (vacation), indicating the period free of classes. "Swot" (or less commonly swat) is a dialectal word (Scottish) originally meaning "to sweat", which found use as a slang word describing a student paying careful attention to his work. Swot as a verb suggests acting like a swot, studying for one's exams.

The use of the uncommon and outmoded word 'swot' has led to the backronym Study Week Or Take VACation or Study WithOut Teaching (or Tuition) VACation. There are many other different backronyms that can be derived, and the term stuvac[3] (STUdy VACation, STUdent VACation) is also found.

Though once popular and used by universities as the official name for the week, the term seems to have fallen from favour and replaced with study week.[citation needed] As of 2014, however, it is still used by at least three of Australia's Group of 8 universities on the academic calendar.[4][5][6]


It is scheduled after all the regular class lectures and before final exams. In some universities, reading days in the Fall semesters are being scheduled two days before Thanksgiving holidays[7] to extend the holiday weekend like a spring break. However, this break is followed by the last week of classes and final examination week.


In many cases, student governments have lobbied to introduce, extend, or preserve reading days as a day exclusively for study and have run into conflict with teachers who like to use it as an additional day for lectures or exams.[8][9] Another issue is that some students may prefer to take exams on reading day in order to get the semester over with.[2][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Higher education in the UK and the USA". FREE UPSCPDF:UPSC Civil Services Study Materials Free Downloads. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Welcome to Academic Ombud Services | Academic Ombud Services". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  3. ^ The joys of Stuvac, by Asako-Sophia, 2006-10-1
  4. ^ Kevey, Donna (17 May 2017). "University of Melbourne - Key Dates". University Dates. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Academic Year Dates 2015 | Important University Dates". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Semester dates summary". Important dates. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Important Dates and Deadlines". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Academic Affairs" (PDF). Retrieved 8 February 2008.[dead link]
  9. ^ Officials review SGA proposal - News[dead link]
  10. ^ Exam period format adds to stress levels - University[permanent dead link]

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