Studying is an important part of academic success. However, sometimes it is difficult to find the study time for each subject that we need to study. One way to ensure success when studying is to create a solid study schedule; however, doing so may be more difficult than we think. Not only do you have to prioritize the subjects and courses for which you need to study, but you also have to balance other responsibilities such as family, friends, and entertainment. However, in the long run, with a little ingenuity and work, you will have no problem creating a schedule or achieving all of your academic goals.
Part 1 of 3: Create the schedule
Step 1. Set short-term and long-term goals for studying
Knowing what you want to achieve in the end will make it easier for you to create and control your schedule. This will also help you identify the areas where you will need to focus.
- Short-term goals might include passing a test in one week, finishing an essay in two weeks, or memorizing a presentation in ten days. For these projects, you will need to divide the tasks into days.
- Long-term goals could include entering a certain university, obtaining a scholarship, or obtaining a certain job or internship. In these cases, you will need to break down the goals by weeks and months to make them more manageable.
- Make sure you know exactly how much time you have for each of these goals. Write the end date and calculate how many days, weeks and months you have left. For example, what is the deadline to apply to a university or when are your exams?
Step 2. Make a list of the subjects you need to study
Perhaps the first step in creating your study schedule is to make a list of all the subjects and courses you need to study for. Putting all your obligations down on paper will help you get a better idea of what you really need to do. If you must study for specific exams, make a list of these instead of the courses.
Step 3. Determine what you should do for each subject or test
Now that you've written down all the different subjects you need to study for, you need to determine what you need to do for each course. Although your time commitment and other obligations for a specific class may vary each week, it is most likely that you will determine it in the long term, so you will need a specific time per subject.
- If you have a study guide or textbook with review sections, use it to narrow down what you include on the list.
- Take time to read.
- Set aside time to review your notes.
- Set aside time to create study guides for exams, if you need them.
Step 4. Prioritize the list
After making a list of all the subjects or tests you need to study for and determining what you need to do for each one, prioritize the list. Sorting each class according to its importance will help you determine the subjects to which you should spend the most time and to which you should assign your best schedules.
- Put a number, starting with one, next to all subjects or tests. If you need more time for math, put one on it. If you need the shortest time for history (and you have five subjects to study for), give it a five.
- Consider the difficulty of the subject or test.
- Consider what you will have to read.
- Consider what you will need to review.
Step 5. Divide your available time during the week into study blocks
Before you start, you should divide the time available during the week into study blocks. After doing so, you can go ahead and assign the blocks to a subject.
- The trick to creating a study schedule is to plan to study the same time each day, so that you really have a schedule that you can memorize without constantly revisiting it. By creating a routine, you will develop a positive study habit.
- Check if there are times or days of the week when you can always study. For example, you can be free from 3 to 4 p. m. every Tuesday and Thursday. If possible, try to schedule the study for then, as a fixed and regular routine can help you adopt a faster and more study attitude.
- Schedule study sessions in blocks of 30 to 45 minutes. Shorter time blocks are easier to find and program than longer blocks.
- Create blocks for all your available time.
- If you have a certain amount of time before the exam, create a reverse calendar instead of a weekly one.
Step 6. Set aside time for non-academic activities
As you make time for each subject, you should also make sure to set aside time for your family, friends, and relaxation. This is because you will not be able to succeed in school unless you create a healthy balance between your personal and academic life.
- Set aside time for events you can't reschedule, like your grandmother's birthday, a family reunion, or your dog's vet appointment.
- Set aside times when you have other commitments like a swim practice, family time, or religious services.
- Set aside plenty of time to rest, sleep, and exercise.
- If you only have a very limited time before important exams, consider postponing or canceling regular extracurricular or social activities.
Step 7. Fill out the study blocks
Once you divide the schedule and determine what to schedule, fill it out. Write down the subject you are going to study in each session. This will allow you to stay on track, create controls for material, and organize textbooks and study materials in advance.
- Buy a daily planner or something similar. You can also use a basic notebook.
- Schedule the schedule on your smartphone, if you have one.
- Just plan one week at a time until you determine how the schedule works.
- Prioritize studying for upcoming exams. Divide all the studies into the limited amount of time you have and spread the material in the time you have before a given exam.
- Prioritize the courses in which you are doing poorly or in which you are determined to get a good grade.
Part 2 of 3: Consider Schedule and Personality
Step 1. Evaluate your current schedule
The first step in creating a study schedule is to evaluate the current schedule and how you are currently spending time. Evaluating the current schedule will allow you to take a good look at how you use your time and will help you identify where you can be more efficient and what activities you could reduce.
- Determine how many hours a week you currently study.
- Determine how many hours a week you currently dedicate to entertainment.
- Determine how many hours a week you currently spend with family and friends.
- Do a quick calculation to see what you could cut out. People often find that they spend a lot of time entertaining themselves, start at this point.
- If you work, be sure to create a study schedule around your work schedule.
Step 2. Consider your learning style
While determining how you spend your time is one of the most important parts of creating a schedule, you must also determine how you actually study. Finding out how you study can help you determine if you can have overlapping activities. It will also help you determine how you can use time that you generally don't use. Ask yourself some questions.
- Are you an auditory learner? Perhaps you listen to class recordings or other audio study material when you drive the car or work out in the gym.
- Are you a visual learner? Can you post pictures or watch videos to learn? Try watching a video as a way of learning and entertainment.
Step 3. Reflect on the work ethic
Although you could craft an amazing schedule for yourself, it won't mean much if you don't commit to studying. As a result, you should spend a little time reflecting on the work ethic. After doing so:
- Plan your schedule based on the way you think you will work. If you tend to lose focus and take a lot of breaks, add extra time to your schedule.
- If you know you are procrastinating, add extra time before the deadlines. This will provide you with a buffer so you don't end up without meeting a deadline.
- If you know you have a very strong work ethic, give yourself the ability to get the job done early. You could do this by creating an additional "bonus" slot in the schedule that you can use to take advantage of whatever subject you want.
Part 3 of 3: Follow the schedule
Step 1. Make the most of your scheduled free time
One of the main challenges with sticking to the study schedule is that you will be tempted not to do it and instead do something relaxing, fun or entertaining. However, you have to resist the temptation, instead make the most of your scheduled entertainment time.
- Long for free time as a reward for studying.
- Use your free time as a way to recharge. Taking a nap may help you. Going for a walk or doing some yoga may help you relax and focus when you need to go back to study.
- Make sure you get out of the house. Use your free time to get away from your study place.
Step 2. Take small breaks and stick with them
Make sure to take a break during each study block. However, this could present problems. One of the most important elements of sticking to your study schedule is making sure you stick to the schedule and only take your allotted break time. Taking extra breaks or extending breaks can and will undermine your schedule, while sabotaging your plans for success in school.
- Take a long 5-10 minute break during study blocks. Do not exceed that time.
- At the beginning of the break, set an alarm to sound when it's over.
- Use rest wisely. Make sure to use the break to revive yourself. Stretch out, take a short walk, have a small snack, or cheer up by listening to music.
- Avoid distractions that could prolong your break.
Step 3. Follow the schedule
The only definitive rule of thumb about making sure your schedule works is that you stick to it. There is no point in making a study schedule if you don't follow it.
- Try to get used to seeing the calendar or planner on a regular basis; preferably daily. This will help keep you out of the "eyes that don't see, heart that don't feel" trap.
- Once you establish a routine, you can begin to mentally associate certain acts, such as opening a textbook or sitting at a desk, in study mode.
- Use an alarm or timer on your phone to know when study blocks start and end. This will help you stick to your schedule.
Step 4. Talk about the schedule with other people
Sometimes our schedules are difficult to follow because important people in our lives distract us from our goals. They don't do that maliciously, but rather, those people who care about you want to spend time with you. To avoid this, discuss the schedule with the people in your life. This way, if they want to do something, they can plan it according to the schedule.
- Post a copy of your study guide on your home refrigerator for your family to see.
- Email a copy to your friends so they know when you're free.
- If someone plans something during study time, kindly ask if they can reschedule it for another time.
- Be honest with yourself, schedule what you can do and not what you don't want to do.
- Always do your best and stay focused on each of the issues you deal with.
- Avoid procrastination. Try to use your free time to read books. It is entertaining and improves your vocabulary a lot.