Creating and sticking to a study plan can be difficult, particularly when you're trying to balance this with a busy home and work life. Whether you're facing the first exam you’ve sat in a while or you’re a seasoned student, knowing how to make a plan that fits in with your schedule is a key first step towards achieving success.
Everyone has their own style of study and what works for you may not work for your colleague sitting next to you; however, here are some tips that will help you to pull together a schedule that is flexible, fits in with your lifestyle and really works.
1. Get familiar with your textbook contents
If you have just applied for your exam and are waiting for your textbook to arrive in the post, you can still start pulling together your study and revision schedule. Log into the Member Area and access Connect to download an ebook version and skim through the contents.
When you’ve received or downloaded your textbook:
- Have a look at how many chapters you need to cover
- Take note of each chapter’s length
- Look at the chapter titles – some concepts could be familiar while others may be brand new.
This will allow you to grasp the extent of work you’ll need to put in over the next few months. Try not to feel too overwhelmed by the amount you need to cover – your study plan will be a life-saver when it comes to learning the material.
2. Download your learning plan
When it comes to creating your study schedule, you will be happy to hear we’ve actually done some of the work for you.
Download your module learning plan from Connect, where you will find a high level study schedule broken down into weeks.
You can use the learning plan as a base for your own schedule, adapting it for any events, annual leave or busy work periods you have coming up.
3. Use the syllabus
The module syllabus is a hugely under-used resource that is extremely valuable for students. Included in your learning plan, the syllabus
- outlines the topics to study in each chapter
- explains the learning outcomes for each topic
- indicates how many questions will appear from each chapter in your exam.
By using the syllabus you can identify the most important topics to cover and the level of detail you’ll need to go into for each. This means that if you’re getting too bogged down on a particular topic, you can move on to something equally as important and come back to it at a later stage.
4. Keep your study plan visible
Creating a lovely colour-coded plan in an excel spreadsheet is all well and good, but if you can’t see it on a daily basis, it can easily start to slip your mind. Either write or print it out and stick it up on the wall at home or around your desk to remind you what you’re due to cover each week.
5. Find out what works for you
If you have scheduled in an hour of study at 8pm every evening but find you’re not being productive, change things up. Try getting up an hour earlier to see if morning study works better for you.
Remember, your plan should be flexible and you may need to fine-tune it to suit your own professional or personal conflicts. Make time for the things you like to do, like meeting with friends or going to the gym. Ultimately, this will better prepare you mentally to achieve your study goals.
6. Don’t get disheartened
If you have had a bad week of study, don’t fall off the wagon. Readjust your study plan to catch up on the material you might have missed and keep going. If you think you have overshot with the amount of study you’ve scheduled in each week, you might need to reassess your plan altogether to make your goals more achievable.
7. Schedule regular breaks
This might sound like an obvious one, but it is important to take regular breaks when you’re studying to ensure you don’t burn out. Include 5 or 10 minute breaks in your study plan; and remember to eat well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the semester to ensure your body is at its healthiest as you prepare for your exam.
Need motivation to get started? Check out our Student Stories from last semester: How I stopped making excuses and started my study →
Not a student yet? Find out more about how you can get started.