Looking for the right way to make a school schedule for students? We have a step-by-step guide for you.
Earning a degree, whether online or on campus, requires many choices and a lot of dedication to stick to those goals. It’s one thing to choose a major and a university, but it’s a whole other story when it comes to school schedules for students. Building and maintaining good study habits is essential to completing your degree successfully.
So we’re going to show you some great ways to create a school schedule as well as provide tips on how to maintain those study habits.
What is a Study Plan and Why Do I Need One?
Apparently, 25% of students polled in a survey have never been taught any study skills. And 34.2% of recent graduates say that not studying properly and effectively is their biggest regret from university. And only 30% of students are taught how to manage their time. That said, it’s safe to say that study skills are not just important but essential to completing your degree successfully. And creating a study plan is going to keep you on your path.
What is a study plan? A study plan is an organized schedule that a student will make that outlines study times and goals. Study plans can be seen like work or school schedules, where there are calendars and times that can be blocked off and dedicated to certain activities.
It will help you get organized and hold you accountable for your accomplishing your goals. If you study online, a study plan is extra crucial to managing your time since your success is due to your self-discipline and determination.
Keep in mind that there’s no one study plan — it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to make a plan that suits you, yet also takes your goals into account. Each student has their own method of studying and it’s wise to make a plan that suits you and is really feasible and reasonable. For example, blocking off six hours of studying without giving yourself a break isn’t very realistic and can set you up for failure. So it’s best to be realistic.
Now that you understand why a study plan is a good idea, we will go through a step-by-step guide on how to create one.
How to Build a Study Timetable and Stick to It
Making a study schedule is one thing. Sticking to it is another ball game. We want to guide you through the steps needed to create a study schedule and also maintain it.
1. Figure Out Your Learning Style
There are five different learning styles and knowing which you dominate in will really help you create a plan that suits your specific style of learning. Again, the more you tailor it to your needs, the more likely you are to follow through and thus succeed.
You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. Things like mind maps and infographics are helpful when gathering and learning new information.
You prefer using sound and music when learning. Sound recordings or rhyming helps you remember information. Study music is particularly beneficial to you. If you’re an aural learner, you might like our article on the secrets of study music.
You prefer using words when learning, whether it’s in writing or speaking. Reading content out loud can be helpful when retaining information.
You prefer using your body and your hands when learning. Role-playing and also writing and drawing are physical activities that help you learn.
You prefer using logic, systems, and reasoning when learning. Use lists and tables to sort out information and keep information organized.
|Social or Solitary Learner|
Regardless of which style of learner you are, you’re going to fall into either the social or the solitary category of learning. As it sounds, a social learner prefers to learn in groups and with other people, whereas a solitary learner prefers to study and focuses best when alone.
Once you determine which style of learning speaks to you best, you can then decide how, where, and when to study.
2. Create Realistic Study Goals
When it comes to study goals, it involves both planning and executing. and you need both the accomplish your goals.
- Start by picking a simple goal for your first or current semester. For example, you could make it your goal to complete an essay, go to 5 classes, or complete an internship.
- Then make a list of all the things you need to do to work towards those goals. For example, to complete your essay, you’ll need to read all the necessary material, take notes, write a draft, and so on.
Remember, it’s not about looking at the big picture when it comes to a study schedule. The way to succeed in sticking to your schedule is by taking baby steps and looking at each day separately. Trust us, once you see that you’re accomplishing your daily and then weekly goals, you’ll see the results.
3. Make Studying a Daily Part of Your Routine
Studying needs to be part of your daily routine. It’s just a matter of how much time and when you think studying will be best suited to you.
Considering which learning style you have, you’ll know best what works for you. Did you know that 12:41pm is the optimum time for revising your notes when preparing for an exam? But when students were asked what time they prefer to study, 3% said 5am — which means what time may be optimal for one student to study, could be unsuitable for another. It’s very important for you to figure out what times of the day you find your brain most willing to focus.
Keep in mind that you can play around with your schedule. If you start out with making 12pm – 4pm your study block and see that it just doesn’t work so well, change it up next week! Be flexible and you’ll figure out a perfect schedule with time. We suggest you start with at least one hour of studying per day, and go from there.
4. Create a Timetable
Now it’s going to come down to how you want to make your schedule and this will also be a matter of preference. Do you prefer a traditional paper calendar or digital (whether on your phone or computer)? Whatever you choose, make a schedule and put in all your activities, such as studying time, classes, exams, etc.
Many of our online students at University of the People have jobs while they study, and chances are you’re also going to have work commitments during the school year. This is one of the great benefits about studying online, is the flexibility it gives you to study around work commitments. To make this work it’s essential to include your work schedule into your timetable. Your new schedule is going to include everything you do — it will be your official calendar.
It’s important to prioritize what you need. What comes first? Do you prefer to study in the morning and then go to your evening shift at work? Or are you a night learner and prefer to study when you come home? The best thing about digital calendars is the ability to quickly and easily adjust them. So any changes you want to make won’t be a big deal and therefore be easier to follow.
5. Put Aside Time to Eat and Relax
It may sound a bit strange, but scheduling in time to eat and relax is part of the package. They are necessities, just as much as studying is. And to ignore them, or not see them on your calendar, won’t make your plan realistic. The more realistic your schedule, the more you’re going to stick to it.
Stress hinders learning. Researchers found that even a couple of hours of stress can engage corticotropin-releasing hormones that disrupt the process of creating and storing memories. So basically, lowering your stress levels is going to help you learn effectively. So get those Zzz’s!
6. Make Yourself a Study Zone
Sure, you can make a specific room your study place, but research shows that changing your scenery can help your concentration. Psychologist Robert Bjork suggests that just changing locations when studying (whether to another room or outside) could increase both your concentration and retention levels. Give it a try!
Wherever you choose to sit down and study, try to create a zone with the least amount of distractions in order to stay focused.
7. Take Good Notes and Review Them Daily
Note-taking is a huge part of proper studying. And not only taking notes, but reviewing them. There’s something called the “curve of forgetting” and it refers to how much information you retain and how much you forget. So the first time you hear a lecture, you retain up to 80% of the information you just learned only if you review the material within 24 hours. This effect is cumulative, which means that after a week, you can retain 100% of the same information even if you only review it for five minutes.
It’s this kind of interval studying that works a lot better than cramming — when students pull “all-nighters” and go over the entire course notes the night before an exam. So there you go, the closer you study to the day you learned the information, the more you’re going to remember.
8. Use Your Laptops and Gadgets Wisely
Computers, tablets, and cellphones are all a major part of our lives, which means they can be very distracting. So if you have an hour or more set aside for studying, that should involve closing other tabs and applications that might distract you. However, using your gadgets can also assist you in your studying goals. You can set yourself reminders as well as use applications and programs that make studying more accessible and easier for you.
9. Join a Study Group
This is best for the social learners. Joining a study group, whether in person or online, can help you gather information and collaborate. A study group is great for a few reasons. It can hold you accountable and create commitment in your study goals. It can also be a great place to discuss and debate the material you’re learning. But remember, the smaller the group the better. We suggest a group no larger than six to maintain a proper focus on the work at hand.
Proper sleep habits are the key to succeeding in your study goals. Getting a good night’s sleep each night can enhance your attention, make learning easier, improve problem-solving skills, and improve your recall. So be sure to get your sleep!
Tips to Be more Focused
Aside from your actual study schedule, there are things you can do in general as part of your daily routine that will help you focus and thus succeed. You can also check out our article on which study habits are worth dropping and which are worth keeping.
1. Take breaks for every x minutes of studying
It’s best to take a 5-10 minute break every hour or so of studying. You can get a snack, have a drink, get a breath of fresh air outside, and basically revitalize yourself for another round of studying.
2. Drink water when studying
As a general rule, you should drink water as much as possible! But in terms of studying, studies are showing that drinking water can boost your concentration. So fill up that bottle and keep it on your desk.
3. Rewards for sticking to schedule
Yes, you’re in college now and rewards were a distant memory from your elementary school years. But they don’t have to be! Reward systems are in place for a reason, and that’s because they work. If you reward yourself for completing a goal, you’re more likely to stick to it. So once you finish that essay that you planned for the week, go ahead and treat yourself to a movie night with friends or a meal at your favorite restaurant. You deserve it!
4. Exercise first
We all know that exercise improves our health, fitness, and psychology. And studies show that our brainpower gets a boost even after a short workout, because our bodies pump oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Exercising before studying can make you more alert, open, and able to learn new information.