I get berated for saying the same things over and over again but there are two main topics I constantly hound people on.
- Understanding studying is about being productive and efficient not about how long you spend sitting in front of a textbook.
- Planning. Planning, planning and more planning.
One of the best things you can do for your studying performance is using a studying schedule. I’m talking long-term planning what subjects you’re going to cover over the next several months. What you aim to get done in the next few weeks. Right down into the short-term focusing on what you’re studying in the next hour and even when you’re taking breaks.
You can wing this stuff, but it isn’t going to be as efficient as it could be.
And I’ll tell you what. You listen to me rave about the benefits of a study schedule and how you can build one and I have a treat for you at the end. Something which is going to make your studying far easier and more effective (even better than coffee).
A Study Plan is More Than ‘Just a Timetable’
A timetable merely mentions the time duration assigned to a particular subject whereas a study plan is more comprehensive. It also defines a methodology to deal with the preparation, planning and problems faced in each subject by an individual.
A target should be set, items should be prioritized and an effective timetable should be drawn. Effective refers to a schedule that should be followed religiously with a determination to achieve progress and results. This should be based on an analytical approach:-
- How many free hours are available?
- How much time should be devoted to each subject in view of the individual requirement?
- How to prepare and procure the course material?
There’s a reason we have so many different videos on study schedules on StudyingTV. There are so many different variations depending on your schedules, study time preferences, course load, work hours and who knows what else but student Shweta Arora has some great advice on preparing one:
Whenever a person begins work, he knows two things for sure:
- Target – What is to be achieved
- Time – How much time is left
These two are sufficient to sail you through the ocean.
In order to achieve any big target that you might be having, you need to follow 3 steps:
Step 1: Divide the big target into smaller targets.
If your big target is to be achieved in 3 months, divide the big target into 3 smaller targets. They may or may not be equal depending upon your requirement. The point is to divide the entire syllabus into smaller bits and take up one bit at a time. Let’s say your syllabus has 27 chapters in total that need to be covered in 3 months. Following step 1, you divide them into 3 slots of 9 chapters each. Each slot is to be taken up in 1 month.
Step 2: Define each smaller target and divide it further.
Now you know that in month 1, you need to cover 9 chapters. You divide it further into weeks and allocate chapter 1 to 9 to 4 weeks as follows:
- Week I — 1, 2
- Week II — 3, 4, 5
- Week III — 6, 7
- Week IV — 8, 9
Similarly you do it for rest of the weeks as well. Once you are done with this, you will have a concrete plan of how 27 chapters will be covered.
Step 3: It’s time for chalking out daily plan.
Daily plan should include the following:
- Main task – The main task for the day.
- Details – Write specific details of what all you need to do pertaining to the main task. (Read CH2, Solve questions 14–26 etc). You may also give further details of a work that needs elaboration. (E.g – revision given in the picture above.)
- Time per work – Write the time required to complete each work. (30 minutes)
- Total time required – Add up the time of each work to calculate total time required. (5 hours in this case)
- Day’s analysis – Note when you can start studying and till when.
(6:30 pm to 1:30 am)
- Total time available – Calculate the time available using day’s analysis.
(7 hours in the given case)
- Free time – Deduct total time required from total time available.
(2 hours in the given case)
And I completely agree. If you switch from having no schedule and ‘just winging it’ to something like this you’ll see a massive difference in performance alone.
But, I did say I have a bonus for you sticking with me. And a studying schedule is only one of the two main points I keep trying to instill in people.
What you get done is far more important than how long you study for. If you’re efficient with your studying techniques you can get more done in 2 hours than in 20. So before anything else take an hour or two to improve your studying ability and you’ll avoid wasting a lot of time. Better studying results in less work? Too good to pass up.
One of the easiest ways to do this is brushing up on your memory and improving your ability to learn faster. You know who’s a master at this kind of thing? Chess players. I’m not suggesting you go and learn chess at the level of a grandmaster (unless you have a spare decade) but, luckily, a grandmaster has an audiobook ‘Unlimited Memory’ — which you can download for free with Amazon’s Audible.
It’s about 2.5 hours long but, since it’s an audiobook, you can listen when you go to bed or something. I guarantee it’ll change the way you study and even if you cancel Amazon lets you keep the entire audiobook. You can download it here.