How To Plan Your Study Time
This is a planning method that I’ve come up with by combining different study methods I’ve come across until now.
I plan for each test, exam or assignment in detail . (At least) a week before the test/exam, I spend a day to complete my study plan - then I (try to) follow the plan religiously until the test day.
Basically, there are 4 steps in my planning process:
1. Outline the big “chunks”.
i.e. the main topics to be covered for the test. These are often headings of chapters or modules. I call these “tasks”.
2. Break down& list the subtasks.
A topic/task must be broken down into smaller, manageable pieces that are very specific. More specific goals can lead to greater productivity. I refer to these smaller steps as “subtasks”.
Ask WHAT and HOW. WHAT are you going to study and HOW are you going to study it? So for example, “Study chapter 1.1″ would answer what you are going to study but not HOW. Break it down into smaller steps. Goals like “Summarise ch 1.1″, “Go through problems 1.1.3 to 1.1.11″, etc. are better.
3. Weigh the tasks & subtasks. Highlight the tasks/subtasks that: a) the lecturer emphasised or mentioned as a potential exam question; b) you struggled with specifically. These must be distinguished because they will require more attention and time than the rest of the tasks.
4. Decide when each subtask needs to be completed. I follow The Seven Day Study Plan to plan when I will complete each subtask, and assign a day (between D2-D6) (remember, D1 is used for planning and checking that you have everything that you need) There are a few rules that I bear in mind at this stage:
a) Assign more time to study for the sections highlighted in step 3.
b) Try, if possible, to finish one module within 1-2 days.
c) Try, if possible, to study the material in a logical order i.e. such that the topics flow and are connected to each other in a logical manner. Lecture plans often flow quite logically so I like to study the subject in the order it was taught.
d) It is a personal rule of mine to leave the last day (D7) open. I always try to cover everything before D7 and use the last day to catch up with whatever task I was unable to complete, and to review everything before the test.