June 28th 2010

When a new academic year begins, it’s unlikely that you’re already planning your revision timetable but having a study timetable in place all year can really help you reach your top potential.

Not only does it keep you concentrate, but it also helps you maintain a healthy life-study balance, meaning you don’t end up having to try learn too much before deadlines, or have to say no to your social life during busy periods.

It’s hard to know where to start when you think about organizing your study timetable, so we’ve broken it down for you below…

Step One: Identify your deadlines and important social events

To effectively plan a study timetable, you need to write all your important dates down which means both your academic and social events. Think about:

  • Assignment deadlines
  • Exam periods
  • Application deadlines (scholarships, internships, summer programs, jobs’ mission etc.) 
  • Birthdays
  • Important occasions (weddings, anniversaries, religious and national holidays)
  • Other commitments (part-time jobs, music festivals, sporting events, planned holidays etc.)

Once you know these important dates, they need to write down on your calendar. If you know it will take up your entire day or maybe even a few, block this time out right away. Otherwise, make a personal note so you’re aware you will be busy for at least some of the day.

This will help you account for days you won’t be able to study. Rather than finding yourself a week before a deadline with only three available days, you will have prepared for this in advance.

Step Two: Decide how long to dedicate to key dates preparation

Now you know your key events, it’s time to decide how long you need to spend on them. This will depend on your style and level of study, but remember to leave enough time to work on your commitment without having to dedicate all your time to do it.

Whether it’s a party you’re helping to plan or an exam you’re studying for, it’s tempting to skip these important events until you have time to drop everything else and focus on them, but by planning your timetable at the beginning of the year, you can make sure this doesn’t happen.

When you have a clear and suitable timeline of what you need to gain and how long to spend on this, you can move onto step three.

Step Three: Schedule your classes and extracurricular activities

Before you factor how to balance your free time, you also need to account for time in your schedule spent on classes and activities. This will depend on what course you’re joining and how time-intensive your hobbies are.

You might be spending the almost of your week time in lectures, or you might be scheduled down for a study stint in the library – it all depends on your subject and level of studying.

Or else, your weekends and evenings can mainly be spent on the sports or music practice, or you may have entire days free to allocate your time.

Step Four: Balance your free time

So now you know exactly how much time you have, you can work out how much of it you need to spend studying, which fields to priorities, and schedule some social time for yourself as well.

If you have an intensive course where you spend most the day in class, you need to reserve most of your evenings and weekends for non-academic activities.

If, however, you’re pursuing a research degree or only have a few hours of deadline time, reserving 70 percent of your free time for studying and 30 percent for relaxing and socializing is a good benchmark.

This weighting might slightly change depends on plans evolve or particularly busy times arise, so it’s a good idea to approach your timetable flexibly, almost like a guideline rather than a written law.

By managing your time properly from the beginning of the academic year, you have a better chance of knowledge being stored in your long-term memory, making it easier to accurately recall during exams and assignments.

It should also help lessen stress as you’re aware of what’s expected of you from the start, rather than allowing deadlines and important dates to sneak up on you.

Enjoy a favorite movie. Things get done when you come back

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