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To avoid last minute panic at your final exam, you need to prepare… and prepare well in advance. The truth hurts doesn’t it? 🙂 . Though something you’ll be happy to know is that it doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on end of study. It just requires you to understand how to use your study time effectively to attain good marks. In other words, it’s about working smarter rather than harder. So to point you in the right direction here’s a guideline you can follow to create your personalized study schedule.
1. Find out How Much Time You Have For Studying and When
Let’s determine how you spend a typical day. By doing so, we can also determine how you could allocate your study time throughout your day. Start by taking a piece of paper and writing the time of the day down one column like this 6 am, 7 am, 8 am…etc until the time you go to bed again. And Monday -Sunday across the top row.
Now go through these steps:
- Block out the time of the day you spend in class, lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes.
- The time spent on you daily needs such as sleep, eating, hygiene, and travel.
- And time spent on other aspects of life? Such as, entertainment, family, prayer, exercise and socializing.
As the final step, any blank spaces of time left can be filled up with your study time. This will be your weekly study timetable.
2. Some Tips for an Effective Weekly Study Timetable
- Study your subjects on rotation rather than studying only one subject across an entire week. This allows for all your subjects to receive equal attention. And if it seems fit only then allocate more time towards your weaker subjects.
- It is highly recommended that the number of hours you spend in class a week on one subject you should spend double of that in studying outside of class hours.
- There’s no need to over-schedule. Breaks are as important for rejuvenating the mind and body. Studying while you are too tired becomes pointless as you are very unlikely to retain information in this state.
- Keep your scheduled timetable handy. In a diary, you have in your bag. And/or take a copy of it on your mobile. So you can take quick notes as new dates are disclosed by your professors.
- Work with your body clock. It’s when you are at you best as you perform tasks at an efficient rate. Some could be a morning and others are a night-time type of person. If it fist well with your schedule work it to your advantage.
3. Create a Long-Term Plan – Academic Term or Year Planner
Presented as a wall calendar. It provides a visual aid of what special events and deadlines are coming up. And when placed on your wall (which you’ll see every day moving in and out of the house) gives you an easy reminder of what to expect and what you may need to get done. And at a glance you can determine where your lighter weeks are and when your busier weeks are. Use a key (as in map key), different colors and bold headings to make it even all that much easier for you to interpret.
4. Break-Up Assignments, Tests & Exam Into Smaller Chunks of Work Load
See a major deadline coming up? It probably looks quite daunting. This is where your study timetable can be quite useful again. For every day or every other day of the week, you can allocate one day to a specific task.
- If it is for an assignment you need to break it down for time on research, brainstorming, create an outline, the introduction, the middle, the conclusion, a draft and a final copy.
- And for a test or exam you may need to review your notes and chapters, clarify concepts, summarize chapters and practice test questions.
Ok, this is a “Warning!” 🙂 , Any huge task that may come up in a months’ time may give the illusion that you have plenty of time. But stop right there, it doesn’t mean that you can start on it at a later date. This is the number one trap for a stressful, last minute all-nighter. So make a start now, with small chunks of work that won’t look all that bad. And because you started it on time you could even possibly have time to leave it for a day or two. Then you can return to it with a fresh mind to complete it to the best of your ability.
5. Make Use of Spare Time
Ideally you need to spend 10 minutes a day in reviewing each class’s notes for the day. And what better way to fit it in is by making use of your spare time. You know the time you are possibly spending waiting for your next class to begin. Or the time spent in the bus traveling home. Or you were waiting for dinner to prepared 😛 . It’s a perfect time to squeeze in a 10-minute review session. For more on how to review your notes you can check out this post – “How to Take Better Notes”.
When done sooner, you’ll feel more relaxed and confident throughout your study career. As you create the best opportunity to perform well in your final exams. Wishing you all the best.
Unto next time.