Part of utilizing effective study skills is learning that your study schedule is important. Before you start to plan your study time, you need to set up a schedule. If you don’t have some concept of scheduling your time, then you will find it difficult to allocate time when something unexpected comes along. Develop a schedule, revise it when you need to, and follow it.
Even as you develop a schedule, make sure you always have an open mind about revisions. An effective schedule can keep you from getting off-task. But you have to want to do the schedule and stick with it.
A schedule should realistically include everything you do, not just your classes. Break times, social events, these all need to have time allotted to them. It’s not realistic to make a schedule that only includes study and class time. You have to have some time to reward yourself for work well done. Focus on the time that’s not assigned to a class or event, and assign that time where it’s needed.
Make a weekly schedule, and block it off in 24 blocks per day. It may sound silly, but allow yourself some scheduled sleep time, too. Mark rigid times in, like lectures, classes, meetings, etc. Then break down the remaining time into study time and job or extracurricular plans. Be ready to revise your schedule whenever you need to.
When should you study? The best time to use effective study skills is when you are alert and well-rested when you can concentrate fully on the information presented. Don’t schedule study time right before a test – that’s not the time you’ll get the best use of study or the best results on your tests.
If you have a study hall period before a lecture, make sure you’re comfortable and sure of everything you’ve read, and make notes on any course material that’s not clear to you. If you have a study period after a lecture, look over the notes you just took while the lecture is still fresh in your mind.
For foreign language or speech/debate classes, schedule a study hall right before that. Practice with others, if you can, to help hone your skills.
Remember, schedules are always made with an option for revision. If your schedule isn’t working for you, it doesn’t do you any good to try to stick with it. Change it until it works for you. And work on improving your study skills. Once those are better-developed, it will be easier to tweak your schedule.
Your most valuable resource as a student is time. It seems there is never enough of it. It is also something that is often wasted. The schedule that you develop should help you make the best use of all your time and your effective study skills. It’s very easy to avoid studying, but it doesn’t help you. Once your schedule is revised the way you want it, you need to stick to it.
You have to be willing to make your schedule work, and you have to want to do well in school. You are responsible for your education. Good effective study skills can help you. Make a schedule, stick to it, and work smart, not hard.