Effective studying takes time, lots of time. It is imperative that you manage your time effectively. Draw out your weekly schedule and plan your study time (schedule study periods just like a class). A rule of thumb is that you should plan to study for a minimum of 2-3 hours for every unit the class is worth each week (thus for a three unit class you should plan on spending 6 - 10 hours a week studying outside of class). Don't wait and try to pack in unreasonable numbers of study hours before a test, plan ahead. Study 50 minute hours with 10 minute breaks, and don't forget to schedule in time for yourself, to work out at the gym or spend time with family members. With efficient time management you can study effectively and have a life.
Manage your time and commit to a study schedule. Consideration of some of the following points will help you make a schedule that will work for you.
- Plan ahead. Mark on your calendar all deadlines for exams, papers etc...(prepare a calendarof the semester).
- Draw out your weekly schedule. Set blocks of time aside for work, classes, and study. Remember you need time to sleep, eat, and play! so be realistic, there are only 24 hours in a day (see the week planning schedule - part of the time management supplement).
- Stick to your study schedule - establishing and maintaining a regular schedule of study so that you know what you are going to study and when will dramatically reduce wasted time.
- Create a checklist of work that must be done each week (i.e. chapters to be read...) and hang this list at your study area. Check off items as you complete them.
- Utilize odd times, don't waste that hour between classes, use it to study or to take care of other tasks. The more you get done now the less you have to do later.
- Study as soon after class as possible while the information is still fresh in your mind, it will take more time if you wait and have to relearn it.
- Limit yourself to 2 hours on one subject at any one time. After 2 hours for most students, their ability to concentrate will decrease as will the effectiveness of their studying. Take a break, then switch to another subject. Short, frequent study sessions are much more effective than one or two marathon study sessions. Do not procrastinate so that you have to cram!