How To Create a Study Plan | Study Skills


Academic life is filled with studying, preparing for exams of many subjects, part-time work, extracurricular and so on. Managing academic activities with your social life could be a tough thing to do. But it is not impossible, not even for a first-year college student.

You could create a study plan to organize your academic activities with your social life. It will also help your time management skills and hold you responsible for reaching your learning outcomes and goals. Creating a good study schedule could take some time for a student since many things need to be considered.

Let’s dive in and find out more about study plans and how to create the perfect study plan for yourself.

What is a Study Plan?

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A study plan is an organized schedule containing studying goals and tasks with dedicated time periods. Every student needs a study schedule to study effectively. The study schedule will include exam dates, quiz dates, academic activities, self-studying time, and even time for group study sessions.

Why do you Need A Study Plan?

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Student life is filled with various activities such as academic work, various tests, extracurricular activities, work, and social activities. Practically all of them are pretty much important.

However, to get through academic life, students have to get good grades in the mid-terms and final exams. To prepare for them, students have to study from the very beginning. And managing socializing activities with studies could be a tough thing to do. Study plans are made to help the students with their time management.

By having a good study schedule, you will be able to manage your homework, assignments, presentations, part-time work, social and extracurricular activities, group study sessions while preparing for the upcoming exams. A study plan also could be a constant reminder and help you improve self-discipline.

What Should Your Study Plan Include

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The study schedule is not just a list of subjects and time slots you assigned them to. It should also include more important details that will help you improve your study schedule and learning process. It shouldn’t be too much but brief details about at least these seven important notes.

        • Your Name
        • Education Details
        • Achievements So Far
        • Prioritized Learning Outcomes & Goals
        • Academics & Exam Schedule
        • Current and Changes in Study Habits
        • Areas that need improvement

How to Create a Study Schedule

Step #1 – Identify Your Goals For Studying

We make plans to achieve something in the end. Take your time and find out what you want to achieve by using a study plan. Then make a list containing short-term and long-term goals.

And make sure that you know how much time it takes to complete those listed goals. How you complete this step will affect your long-term game, so take your time before moving on to the next step.

    • Long-Term Goals – Huge goal set that comes together to archive something at the end of the plans are called long-term goals, such as getting a good job, getting a scholarship, getting into a university. They could take more than a few months to archive. So, long-term goals are broken down monthly most of the time.
    • Short-Term Goals – Long-term goals are broken down into small sets of goals to make them more manageable, and these goals are called short-term goals, which could be completing a quiz or an assignment, an in-class test, or a group study session. Usually, these take less than a month and could break up these tasks weekly and daily.

Step #2 – Subjects & Extracurricular Lists

Since you have already clarified what studying goals you have to achieve, it’s time to make the list of subjects you have to study. Subjects will change from semester to semester so, this is a part of making short-term goals.

This step will help you to find out what you will have to do for each subject.

    • List out all of the subjects you have to be prepared for inside a semester (or until you reach your end goal if you already know the future subjects).
    • If you could find out how many academic activities such as assessments, quizzes you have to go through on each subject.
    • Extracurriculars that you shouldn’t miss should be also included in the study plan if you are planning on participating in them.

Step #3 – Determine Your Studying Style & Techniques

Everybody has their own preferred learning style. Some could learn by listening, some have to see to learn, and some needs to step by step guides to learn something. Finding your learning style and the studying techniques that could help you do the maximum work could take a little bit of time. However, choosing the right ones will help improve your learning speed and memorization.

    • Learning Style – There are four main learning styles: visual, auditory, reading & writing, and kinesthetic learning style. Find what kind of a learning style helps you grasp more content.
    • Studying Techniques – There are ways to study that helps your time management, memorization, study stress-free, and more benefits. For example, one of the popular study techniques, the Pomodoro technique, could be used to study small chunks of time with study breaks. Find what kind of technique may help you prepare for the exams better.
    • A place to Study – Avoid studying in places filled with distractions. Search for a place that’s quiet most of the time, such as a library. If you are in a study group, find a place to study enough, and available for all the members.
    • Studying Time – Choose your preferred time for studying. If you aren’t sure yet, try studying in the daytime and nighttime for a few days. Then decide what is the best studying time for you.

Step #4 – Allocate Time Slots

You must consider the time used for your social activities, extracurricular, lectures, and academics before you set a time for studying. It’s recommended to use a few 30-45 minute time blocks for studying daily.

    • Make sure to allocate time for non-academics that you can’t miss, such as family events and necessary extracurricular and social activities.
    • Consider the time for academic activities such as lectures, presentations, in-class tests.
    • Use some time to do exercise or yoga or a power nap, or any relaxing activities.
    • Find out available time slots to study inside a week and use them for studying sessions if possible.
    • Keep a few daily 30-45 minute time blocks available for your study sessions and make them a routine until you reach your end goal.
    • Allocate time for study breaks that lasts 5-10 minutes, depending on the time you studied.

Step #5 – Prioritize Studying Tasks

Too many tasks and little time to get it done? Having too much to do will ruin your study schedule. Now that you already know the available time slots prioritize your studying tasks for a day.

    • Use the list of extracurriculars and studying tasks and prioritize each one of them accordingly.
    • Consider the time and effort you have to put into each of those tasks.
    • Put more weight into academics and study time if you want to get good grades for your tests.
    • Prioritize tasks that are important and urgent first.
    • Eliminate unnecessary activities that take more time and do not contribute to your grades or your social life.
    • Frequently review your tasks list and keep prioritizing to avoid missing out on the most important tasks.

Step #6 – Develop the Study Plan

Now that you have a good understanding of what needs to be done to get better scores for your exams, it is time to create a study plan. You could use a scheduler app, student planner, or a calendar to assign time slots.

    • Consider every subject you have to study and assign them into time slots available inside a week and make it a studying routine.
    • If you have a study schedule template already in your mind, personalize the study template and get the best out of it.
    • Use a college student planner or a scheduler app if you are a person that’s likely to be less distracted by your mobile phone.
    • Try to stick to your schedule and avoid skipping learning tasks to reach the best possible outcome.
    • Keep reviewing your tasks daily and adjust until you reach a study plan that’s more realistic and doable.

Step #7 – Stick To the Study Schedule

Developing a good study plan wouldn’t help your grades if you won’t stick to the schedule. Sticking to a study schedule or changing your current study schedule would be tough for a while. But after you get used to it, it would be much easier to study according to your study schedule routinely.

    • Use study breaks and rewards at the end of study sessions to keep you motivated.
    • Avoid distractions as much as possible.
    • Use study music and healthy college snacks (could use as rewards) to make your study sessions more stress-free and easier to get through.
    • Be responsible for your actions and the results.
    • Keep reviewing your study schedule and make necessary changes to make a more realistic study schedule.

Additional Study Plan Tips

Be Responsible

Keep in mind that you are responsible for your own decisions and your results. Study groups will help you be more responsible and improve your learning process. And it may help you finish your task more quickly.

Take Study Breaks

Some students think that study breaks are a waste of time. But most assuredly, it is not. In fact, taking 5-10 minute study breaks every 30-45 minutes of studying will help you stay more productive.

Keep It Real

Don’t try to create a study plan filled with tasks that you could not get done on time. This would harm your learning process rather than helping you. So, keep reviewing your studying tasks and adjusting time slots accordingly until you reach a doable and more realistic study plan.

Stay Organized

Keep everything you need, from pens and paper to your laptop, organized. That will help you avoid wasting time to find them once you started your study session. This will also help you understand how you should change your time slots in the study schedule. Also,

In A Nutshell

You could create a study schedule using a scheduler & calendar app or college student planners or just plain old paper. And if you have your own preferred study schedule template you could go with that. Making a good study schedule only would so far, your perfect grades depends on how you study and stick to your studying routine.

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