Studying is an essential part of academic success. However, it is sometimes difficult to find the time to study for every subject we need to study for. One way to balance our studying is to create a study schedule, but sometimes, that can be harder than we think. Not only do you have to prioritize the subjects or courses you need to study for within a certain block of time, but you also have to juggle other responsibilities such as family, friends, and your own entertainment! So, I will give you, my 10 essentials steps to create a study schedule!
1 – Your first step in creating a study schedule is to assess your current schedule and the way you currently spend time. This will enable you to take a good look at how you use time and to help identify where you can be more efficient and what activities you might be able to cut.
• Determine how many hours a week you currently study;
• Determine how many hours a week you currently devote to entertainment;
• Do some quick math to see what you could cut. People tend to find they spend a lot of time on entertainment, you can start there.
2 – Although you might design yourself an awesome schedule, your schedule will mean relatively little if you don’t commit yourself to studying. As a result, you need to spend a little bit of time reflecting upon your work ethic. After doing so:
• Plan your schedule based on how you think you will work. If you tend to lose focus and take a lot of breaks, build in extra time into your schedule;
3 – Stick to your schedule! There’s no point in making a study schedule if you don’t stick to it.
• Try to get into the habit of looking at your calendar/planner on a regular daily basis. This will help keep you away from the “out of sight, out of mind” trap;
• Once you’ve established a routine, you may start mentally associating certain acts, such as the opening of a textbook or sitting down at a desk, with a study mode;
• Use an alarm or timer on your phone to alert you when your study blocks begin and end. This will help you stick to your schedule!
4 – List all the subjects you need to study. Perhaps the first step in creating your study schedule is to list all of the subjects and courses you need to study for. Putting your obligations on paper will help you get a better idea of what you really have to do.
5 – Figure out what you need to do for each subject or exam.
Now that you’ve written down all of the different subjects you need to study for, you need to figure out what you need to do for each course.
• If you have a study guide or a textbook with review sections, use it to narrow down what you list;
• Reserve time for reading;
• Reserve time for reviewing your notes;
• Reserve time to create exam study guides, if you’ll need them.
6 – Prioritize your list. After you’ve made a list of all the subjects or exams you need to study for and figured out what you need to do for each, prioritize the list. Ranking each class in importance will help you figure out what subjects you need to devote the most time to.
• Put a number, starting with one, next to all of your subjects or exams. If you need the most time for math, give it a one. If you need the least time for history (and you have five subjects to study for), give it a five;
• Take into account difficulty of the subject or exam;
• Take into account the amount of reading you will need to do;
• Take into account the amount of reviewing you will need to do.
7 – Divide your available time during the week into study blocks. Before you go on, you need to divide up your available time during the week into study blocks. After you do this, you can go and assign your blocks to a subject.
• The trick to creating a study schedule is to plan to study the same time every day so you actually have a schedule you can memorize without constantly checking. By creating a routine, you’ll build a positive study habit;
• Check if there are times or days of the week you can always study during. For example, you may be free 3-4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. If possible, try to schedule your studying then, because a regular, set routine can help you get into a studying mindset and into one more quickly;
• Schedule study sessions in 35 to 50 minute blocks. Shorter time blocks are easier to find and to schedule than longer blocks;
• Create blocks for all of your available time.
8 – Reserve time for non-academic activities. While blocking off time for each subject, you also need to make sure that you are reserving time for family, friends, and rest. This is because you won’t be able to succeed at your studies unless you create a healthy balance between your personal life and your academic life.
• Reserve time for events you can’t reschedule: birthdays, a family reunion, or medical appointments;
• Reserve plenty of time for rest, sleep, and exercise;
• If you only have a very limited amount of time before important exams, consider postponing or canceling regular social or extra-curricular activities.
9 – Fill in your study blocks. Once you’ve got your schedule blocked out and you know what you need to schedule, fill in your schedule. Write down which subject you are studying in each session. This will help keep you on track, create checkpoints for the material, and allow you to organize your textbooks and study materials ahead of time.
• Buy a daily planner, bullet journal or something similar to help you organize your life/weeks. You can also use a basic notebook;
• You can also program your schedule into your phone;
• Prioritize studying for approaching exams. Divide all of your studying up into the limited amount of time you have and spread the material out over the time you have before a given exam.
10 – And finally … Take short breaks and stick to them. Make sure to take one break during each study block. However, this could present problems. One of the most important elements of following your study schedule is to make sure you abide by your schedule and only take the allotted amount of break time. Taking extra breaks or prolonging breaks can and will undermine your schedule and sabotage your plans for studying success.
• Take one 5 to 10 minute break during your study blocks. Don’t exceed 5 to 10 minutes;
• At the start of your break, set an alarm that will go off when your break is over;
• Use your break wisely. Make sure to use your break to refresh yourself. Take a stretch, go for a short walk, eat a small snack, or get pumped by listening to some music. Avoid distractions that could prolong your break.
These are the 10 essential steps that I find important to read and follow in order to create your own study schedule. Sometimes our schedules are hard to follow because important people in our lives distract us from our goals. This is not done maliciously, but just because people who care about you want to spend time with you. But, always try to balance your personal time with your professional/school time.
Stick to your schedule, reflect about your future and try your best to always follow your schedule!
Article written by Sara.
Sara is a 17 year old student from Portugal. She is currently in high school and wants to study European Studies and International Relationships in college. Her dream profession is to be an Eurodeputy in the European parliament. She has studied German, French and is currently studying Portuguese, English, and Latin. She is a lover of history, loves historical books and is obsessed with stationery. Sara owns a YouTube channel along with her friend that you can find by clicking here. She also has a studygram account called @intensive.studies, and a personal Instagram account @sarxleonardo.