6 Ways to Effectively Plan Your Study Time

Whenever you sit down to study, whether it be an all-out catch-up day or just a simple daily refresher as we get closer to finals week, you want to make sure you’re making the most of your time. If you sit around, waiting to study for when you’re super motivated the day before a big exam, you’re not going to get much done. So, whenever you do decide to get started━which is hopefully soon━ here are some ways to make sure your study time is effective:

  1. 1. Get Started Now

    At this point, there’s not much time left in the semester so don’t wait until the last minute if you have a big exam. Whether the test is going to be cumulative or not, chances are you don’t have that many other chances to help improve your grade, so get started early!

  2. 2. Outline the "Big Chunks"

    So you’ve actually decided to get started early, huh? Well, the one major step in making the most out of your study time is knowing what it is exactly that you have to study. So for whatever exams you want to start preparing for, list out all the topics and/or textbook chapters that it will cover━these topics are your tasks.

  3. 3. Break Down and List the Subtasks

    You know what you need to study, but ask yourself “how?” Are there practice questions at the end of each textbook chapter? Can you make flashcards on Quizlet? Were there any optional homework assignments that your professor assigned for extra credit, or just for extra practice? Identify and list the steps that need to be taken in order to completely cover each task. Breaking down a big assignment into small assignments will make the task a lot more doable and manageable.

  4. 4. Weigh the Tasks and Subtasks

    Which topic or section did your professor emphasize the most? Which topic did you struggle with the most? Highlight, star, or make special note of these tasks so that when you start studying you know you need to dedicate more time to these topics and/or chapters.

  5. 5. Decide When Each Subtask Needs To Be Done

    Based on how many tasks and topics to cover that you weighed in as important, you should divide your time up accordingly. If any of your tasks have a hard due date set by one of your professors, then you can go ahead and get that out of the way first. If it helps, list your tasks by the due date, weight of importance, and the time needed.

  6. 6. Set a Timer and Solely Focus on a Single Task at that Time

    When all you can do to prepare for an exam is read over lecture notes or go over vocabulary flashcards, things can get tiring pretty fast. So having a timer set keeps you from wasting too much time numbing your brain with the same information over and over again, as well as ensuring you that you’re spending the right amount of time studying each task and topic you need to for your tests.

I don’t know about you but, in the classes I’m in, a majority, if not the entirety, of our grade is based on only a few exams so studying is a must for me. I’m personally someone who is a planner, and if I’m going to study I don’t want it to be a waste of time. So I hope these tips can help you plan out your library sit-ins more effectively, as they have for me.