A study plan is an organized schedule outlining study times and learning goals. Just like with work or school schedules, college students should develop a schedule that sets aside dedicated time each week for studying. This schedule should include dates of quizzes, tests, and exams, as well as deadlines for papers and projects.
1. Analyze your current study habits and learning style.
Think about what works and what doesn’t work for you. Are you able to study for long blocks of time once or twice a week, or is it more effective if you study nightly for thirty minutes? Are you more productive at a certain time of day? Do you retain material better if you study a subject immediately after class, or do you need a break first?
2. Evaluate your current schedule and time management.
Use a digital or paper calendar to block out all of your standing commitments, including classes, work, and extracurricular activities. This will let you see how much of your time is already spoken for, and what time you have available for studying.
If your schedule leaves little room for studying, you may need to evaluate what you can cut back on, or how you can rearrange your schedule to have more open time for studying.
3. Plan how much time you need to study for each class.
For many years, the accepted rule has been that you need to study two hours for every one hour of class time, meaning that if you’re taking a typical 15-credit semester, you will spend 30 hours a week outside of class studying. There is some question about the efficacy of this ratio, especially in light of new technology that makes research and writing faster.
At the beginning of each term, your instructors will give you syllabi for the classes you are taking. The syllabi will usually include the dates of any major exams or projects.
You can use these as guides for calculating how much time to set aside for each class, as some courses might be more intensive than others. It will also help you schedule your study sessions to make sure you have enough time to complete all your assignments and prepare for exams.
4. Develop a schedule.
Now that you understand how much time you need for studying, and how much time you have available, you can schedule your study sessions. Add your study sessions to your calendar like any other commitments. This ensures that you remember this is time set aside specifically for studying.
Plan out which subject you will study on which day, to ensure that you’re devoting enough time to each subject. For example, Mondays and Thursdays can be set aside for math, while Tuesdays and Fridays can be devoted to English.
If your schedule is busy, you may have to be somewhat flexible and creative in finding time to study. For example, if you commute to school via public transportation, you can use that time for reading. Or perhaps your job allows you to study when it’s not busy
5. Stick to your schedule.
A study plan works best when it is followed consistently. You should try to develop a study plan that you can follow for the length of each term. You will have to adjust your plan as necessary when you switch your classes each term. Remember, the most important thing is sticking to your plan.