How to make a study plan [NOW].

Hey there,

Congratulations!!! You’re thinking somewhere in your head about making a study plan. It’s about time you upgraded that thought – DO IT. YES!!! follow the steps in this post and just DO IT.

Step 1: Gather your planning tools:

tools for planning

This is important. Tools could include a blank sheet of paper, color pencils, a calendar and so on. If you have a PC or a mobile device you’re in luck . There are a lot of apps for planning on mobile devices and on your PC.

For the steps in this post I recommend 3 blank sheets of paper, a ruler (if you prefer to be neat) and some color pencils(not necessary but they help a lot). Alternatively a calendar app will be most useful.

Step 2: Consider the Study Period:

If you want to study for a test or exam, you need to consider the amount of time you have till that test or exam.

For instance you could have a math test in three days and a physics test in 5 days. This means you have to study for both tests. Your study plan does not have to geared towards preparation for a test. In fact, by definition of a study plan, it shouldn’t.

(A Study plan is an organized schedule that allows a student schedule study times and outline study goals)

IMPORTANT: While you could make a study plan that lasts for an entire semester, I do not recommend this because there may be events that come up which you cannot foresee while making your plan. I believe you should make a study plan template which you can use flexibly for future planning.

Step 3: Gather Study Material:

Make a concise list of the materials you need to study during the period. This could include recommended texts, some cool book you think will help improve your understanding of the course or subject, lecture notes, video tutorials, mp3 records of lectures. Write all these down on your first blank sheet.

Step 4: Prioritize:

course list confidence level

If you’re studying several courses within the same period (which is usually the case) you need to make a list of these courses. After making this list you should assign each course a comfort level. The comfort level represents your level of mastery and overall confidence in the course. You could use #5 to represent a high level of mastery and confidence and #1 to represent a low level of comfort.

Step 5: Fill out your other activities.

Now is the time to bring out your calendar app. You’ll want to set it to a weekly view so eventually, your app should look a little like this:


(I made that with oneNote). You app or drawing may look a bit different from this but hopefully you get the idea.

For each day, you should fill out the hours that are occupied with fixed items on your current schedule like your lectures, meal time, extra-curricular and any other activities you have to keep up with. I recommend you use a color theme for the different categories of items. Note that the calendar should display all the days you have for the entire period of study. In the image above my study period is from Sunday to Wednesday.

Step 6: Identify your study sessions:

Now that you’ve filled in your fixed activities for each day of the study period. It is time to identify your study sessions. Reflect on your past study experiences and try to identify the time in the day you felt most comfortable studying in the past. Your favourite study time during the day varies. It could be in the morning, afternoon or evening.

For each day in your study period, identify your free hours. (you’re sure you won’t be on the move during these hours?). these absolutely free hours are your study sessions. If you are free for 2 hours in the morning and the morning is your favorite study time, then you should mark these two hours as a *useful study session because you’ll enjoy studying more during this time. You could have study sessions other times of the day as well.


Step 7: Set your goals:

This step is simply a call to realism.

Say you are offering a course CSC101 and you have five books related to the course (with each book being at least 500 pages long). These books are all part of the study material I discussed in step 3 above. However if you are going to seat for a CSC101 test in a week, you cannot include finishing all these books as your goal.

In fact to be more realistic I don’t think anyone needs to finish a full text book to prepare for a test that comes up in a week or less. So what you could do is scheme through the book and pick out the relevant chapters. Reading these chapters, studying lecture notes, taking practice tests, review… could all be part of your study goals.

Step 8: Specify what to study during each session:

Now that you have your sessions, it is time to fill out what you should do during each study session. There is no general rule for this but there are some guidelines:

  • Subjects you have problems with should show up more during your study sessions (subjects with #1 priority – see step 4).
  • NEVER do this ([6:00 – 8:00P.M] – study CHM113), what you should do is specify exactly what part of the studying you want to do for example: ([6:00 – 8:00P.M] – Read chapter 5 of chemistry text). Other instances include:
  • [6:00 – 8:00P.M] – review CHM113 lecture notes

            [6:00 – 8:00P.M] – take a CHM113 practice test.

            [6:00 – 8:00P.M] – review previous assignments and assessments for CHM113.

            [6:00 – 8:00P.M] – do CHM113 assignments.

  • Be as realistic as possible in assigning tasks to the various study sessions.
  • Courses you have problems with should be tackled especially during the useful study periods (your favorite study time).
  • Use a colour theme to represent each course you are going to study. Say you are studying CHM113 and PHY230 you can use a green highlight for all activities related to CHM113 and a red for all PHY230. that way whenever you look at your plan, your perception of your next activity will be more intuitive. You’ll know that all things green are CHM113 related and all things red are PHY230 related.

Well, by now i expect you’ve made your study plan. if you have any questions, remarks, contributions or anything please leave them as comments below.



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