How to create a flexible study timetable that will make studying easier
Start Early, Not Late
Design your study timetable as soon as you get your class schedule. Incorporate all aspects of your life into it. Include everything you do like commuting, working and home life.
Studying is a big part of going to university. Where you were in school most day from 9:00 to 4:00, in university, you schedule will be completely different.
Your timetable could be very scattered, and you could have very early morning lecturers, or very late afternoon lecturers. You might be in starting some days at 9:00 and other days at 2:00. You might have lecturers till 6:00 some evenings or finish at 2:00 on other days.
If you live away from home, you've only got yourself to keep you motivated to study. Where before your mom or dad or a sibling could help you out, now it's all up to you do carry the work.
It's important that you start as early as possible, because while you think there will be lots of time later on down the line to catch up on things, you will find out that there is not nearly enough hours sometimes in a college week.
For anyone starting university they need to take matters into their own hands. If you are just leaving high school and have never been on your own then you will quickly realise that there is not going to be no someone around telling you what to study or when to study. You are in charge of managing your own time.
Some people have no difficulty in accomplishing this task but for many of us, we have not got the first clue where to start. The amount of new information coming from you from all areas can become overwhelming.
How To Start Planning
It's always important to first look at the classes you have this semester of your course and get an idea of when certain assignment or tests are due
Next get a large wall planner for the year if you can and mark out all these dates on the planner. Try to find a planner that starts at September if you can. That way it will do two semesters.
Next you need to create a weekly timetable that shows the hours you are in class and the hours you're working or volunteering outside college.
If you're travelling to and from college, you will need to account for this time period as well, so mark the hours into your timetable too. This timetable now shows you the list of hours you have free.
Obviously you will want a break, lunch and dinner in there at some point, so pick a time that suits you.
Designing Your Timetable
When designing your timetable, it important that you put it into block of 50 minutes. Then take 5 or 10 minutes between each hour to just take a break.
There is no point trying to wreak your head by studying continuously for 4 hours without a break. You probably won't remember half of it. Also our brain remembers more in the first few minutes of studying and the last few. So starting anew every 50 minutes is a good thing.
Remember to use colours to highlight the times you are unavailable to study. Then leave the periods when you are free at white.
Once you have decided on the times you are free, the next stage is to mark out either 2 or 3 hour intervals for one specific module. Once you start on a module, stick with it till the 2 or 3 hours are up. If you get bored, remember that at some point your going to have to study it and now is as good a time as any.
Sample Study Timetable
Get In The Mood To Study Fast
If your not in the mood to study, then switch gears fast and get in the mood. Even if you are truly not motivated, look at your timetable and just do it.
Once you get started your brain will switch on to the task and know that you're in the study zone. Do not procrastinate. If you have to do something now, then do it. Don't spend 20 minutes putting off. You're only wasting your own time.
Keep A Record Of What You Study
While having a study timetable is important, it's also important to try to keep a record of what it is you study.
You could either have an A4 sheet stuck to the inside cover of each folder for each module or you could record the information in a notebook or diary.
Whatever method you decide to use, it's a good way of knowing where you're at in your study. You want to try to look at everything, and not miss vital topics by mistake.
Giant White Board Planner
If you have space in the room where you study, it might be worth investing in a giant whiteboard.
You can use this tool to help you plan out what you need to do on a week to week basis. Also it can help you see at a quick glance what you need to prioritise.
Don't Forget Assignment Deadlines
If you have assignments due, it's important that you account for these in your timetable. Set out specific hours from your timetable for any researching required for the assignment/s.
You might spend more hours doing the research, compared to the drafting of it, but you can make up the study time later.
Once you know the deadlines, it's a lot easier to work these into your timetable scheduling.
Keep At It
Studying is a skill you can accomplish really well if you put your mind to it. No one is going to teach you how to study, it's up to you to find a method that will fit into your lifestyle.
That's why it's a good thing to have a timetable that gives you some form of direction, because if you don't then you will be starting and stopping and switching from one topic to another.
You will have no sense of direction of where you're going. Stick to a plan and follow it from the beginning to the end. This way you'll have some idea of what it is you are doing.
© 2014 Sp Greaney
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