What is a study plan?
A study plan is a schedule that students create that outlines study times and learning goals.
Creating a study plan not only helps you become more organized, but it also holds you accountable for your own learning outcomes.
If you are an online student, a study plan is even more important in your success in completing your qualification, since you need to have self-discipline and determination to complete your studies without the constant reminders of an instructor. Why do I need a study plan?
A study plan is an effective way to help you navigate through your college education in an organised way.
Every student will develop a different study plan; there is no correct study plan for everyone.
When creating your personal study plan, you will need to do some self-evaluation.
- Personal Commitments and Time Management- Evaluate of your current schedule and time management. Are there days with fewer personal commitments when you can squeeze some study time.
- • Personal Style Everyone studies differently, so the amount of time you need to study will differ from others. Strategies like biorhythms to work out when you have the most motivation, attention and are most effective. Some students find that studying nightly works best with their lifestyle and others prefer to put in half a day on a weekend in a big chunk of information.
- Learning Style and Personality Type – Knowing your personality and learning style preference is useful for devising the strategies that you can include in your study plan to ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance to succeed with efficiency.
- Identify learning goals – for each study session, identify learning goals, study schedule and plan. Take into consideration other commitments. • Be reasonable – The study plan needs to be reasonable. Although you must set aside enough time in your schedule dedicated to your studies, blocking off five hours with no break will set you up for failure. You can spend less time studying if you do it correctly. For a detailed look at how to make a personalized study plan, explore the step-by-step instructions below.
Steps to create a study plan
- Create a time chart of your current activities. Creating a time chart will allow you to see how you spend your time from day to day.
For a one-week period, take notes about your daily activities. Record things like when you are at work, school, or home with family. Even note when you eat and sleep.
Once you have done this for a week, look for times that you can slip in an hour of dedicated studying. This chart can be helpful for determining days and times that are consistent each week that you can devote to studying.
- Develop a schedule – Now that you have determined available days and times for studying, make a mark in your planner or calendar.
Use detailed notes to block out times on your calendar so that you are reminded every time you look at it. It is best to have a schedule written down so you don’t forget. Seeing it written down can make it seem more important, like a doctor’s appointment you cannot miss.
It is helpful to write down which subject you plan to study, so you can be sure to devote enough time to each of your classes.
For example, Mondays and Thursdays can be set aside for studying math, while Tuesdays and Fridays can be devoted to English.
3. Determine your study goals – At the beginning of each week, determine why you need to study and what you plan to accomplish in each class. Are you preparing for a big exam? For example, if you are studying for an important exam, alter your study plan two weeks prior to the test to incorporate review of old tests and notes in your sessions.
On the other hand, when you don’t have an upcoming test, use your study time to read ahead one chapter in order to grasp the next lecture.
You will need to tailor your study plan depending on your weekly goals, so be sure to analyse what you plan to get out of each study session. While it is tempting to skip your study session when there isn’t a test looming over your head, you will reduce your future test preparation time by reading ahead and preparing for lectures.
4. Stick to your schedule – A study plan works best if it is followed on a consistent basis. You should try to develop a study plan that you can follow for the length of the duration of your course.
Remember, the most important thing is sticking to your plan.
5. follow-through – One way to ensure you follow through with your plan is to schedule time for other activities.
By achieving a balanced schedule, your mind will be more receptive during time devoted to studying. If you schedule several long days in a row of studying, you will get discouraged and will be tempted to give up.
It is acceptable, and even recommended, that you schedule time for non academic activities, such as exercise, hobbies, and socializing.
When you are studying, remember to take breaks in order to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
6. Find a Study Partner – Studying with someone allows for collaboration and discussion. When creating your study plan, check with other students to determine if you can coordinate study sessions. However, if you tend to socialize more than study when you are around others, stick to an independent study plan. If you do choose to study with a partner, choose someone with whom you are likely to stay on task.
Tools for Study Plans
There are a number of ways to create a study plan.
- Spreadsheets and Documents – You could use EXCEL or WORD to create a study plan. The following is an example of a simple study plan.
- Specialist study planner software – Take advantage of study planner apps, like My Study Planner, available for smart phones and tablets, which can help you manage your study schedules. Websites like MyStudyLife.com are also helpful, allowing you to create an account to better organize your study time with to-do lists and calendars.
- Research using the app store or google to find programs