There are basic rules for making any type of schedule. Here is a list of some basic principles that apply to all study schedules.
1. Eliminate Dead Hours. Be sure to make each block of one hour productive. Time between classes can be a valuable time to review notes.
2. Use daylight hours. There is research that shows that each hour used during the day for studying is equal to an hour and a half at night.
3. Study before recitation-type classes. For a course in which you recite and discuss, it is best to study right before the class. The material will be fresh in your mind.
4. Study after lecture-type classes. Retention and understanding are aided by a review of the lecture notes immediately after class.
5. List according to priorities. When you prioritize, you can be sure of getting the most important things done first.
6. Avoid too much detail. Trying to pack too many things into a weekly schedule can waste time. Time used in making a lengthy schedule is time that can be used for studying. Also, a very detailed schedule can be difficult to follow.
7. Know your sleep pattern. Sleep when you are sleepy and study when you are naturally alert.
8. Discover how long to study. Rule of thumb: For every hour in class, study for two hours. Time varies from student to student and subject to subject. Start with two hours and make adjustments later.
9. Plan blocks of time. Optimum efficiency is reached by planning in hour blocks: Study 50 minutes and break for 10 minutes.
10. Allow for sleep. Eight hours a night is proven by medical evidence to be the most beneficial. The quality of your education depends on sufficient sleep.
11. Eat well-balanced meals. Dietary deficiencies result in irritability, fatigue, and lack of pep.
12. Double your time estimates. It is better to overestimate the amount of time needed for a project than to underestimate it. Start long assignments way ahead of time to allow for problems.
13. Don't pack your schedule too tightly. Be precise, but leave room for last minute problems that require time.
14. Make a plan for living, not merely for studying. Life, even in college, is many-sided. All of its many sides must be addressed.
Benefits to Scheduling
1. Gets you started. A well-planned schedule can give a needed shove.
2. Prevents avoidance of disliked subjects. It keeps you from avoiding dreaded subjects and spending all of your time on favorite subjects.
3. Monitors "slacking off". By apportioning time properly, you can keep yourself from slacking off as the semester progresses.
4. Eliminates the wrong type of cramming. If cramming right before an exam is to be effective, the original studying and learning must take place day by day.
5. Makes studying enjoyable. It makes it more pleasurable to study without the pressure of time.
6. Promotes cumulative review. Using short review periods is more beneficial and a better way to prepare for an exam. It is more effective to study in chunks than in one massed session.
7. Frees the mind. Putting things to do down on paper frees the mind from forgetting what you want to accomplish. It lessens pressure and confusion.
8. Controls the study breaks. Rewarding yourself with a 10-minute break can minimize watching the clock. Get up, walk around, or just stare out the window. Try to keep the subject in mind so that you do not need a warm-up period when you resume studying.
9. Keeps you from overlooking recreation. Social and physical activities are needed to be a well-rounded individual. However, do not let the extra activities outweigh the academics.
10. Regulates daily living. Without a schedule, assignments and other things are bound to pile up. This causes panic and stress. With a schedule, assignments and activities can be mapped out to relieve stress and worry.