For some people, planning everything ahead in detail is a waste of time and not efficient. I can assure you this is not true, and the method I am going to share with you is very effective to avoid procrastination if you spend a little to do it, and stick to it. If a test is looming, ask yourself honestly these two important questions:
- How much time do I NEED to devote to studying for the test/subject if I want to score/pass?
- How much actual time left do I HAVE to do this?
The answer for the second question is normally obvious, and it can be fairly easy to determine the answer for the first question as well if you consider the following critical:
- How much time do I normally spend when preparing for this type of exam ? What have been the result in the past from this preparation? If you usually spend 1 hour daily and you consistently get Ds, perhaps you need to re-calculate the time you are spending, or more accurately, mispending.
- What grade do I want to go for? If you are pretty sure you can only get B instead of A, devote less time. If you have got the basics, and know you can grab the A for sure after some intensive study, devote more time.
- What special studying do I have to do? It’s one thing to review notes and practise with a study group, but if you need to sit in a language lab and listen to hours of tapes or run the slower group of gerbils through the alphabent once more, plan accordingly.
- Organize the study materials beforehand, and estimate the actual productive time of sitting in front of study table. Not every hour will be equally productive, but you should be able to project the time you need based on what you are able to accomplish in an hour.
Next, to plan your study time table, there are 3 vital steps to follow, namely Term Planning Calendar, Priority Tasks, and daily schedule.
1- Term Planning Calendar
Our first step to begin is to draft a term planning calendar. The calendar must contain a set of rows and columns. The rows consist of the months and the columns consist of the days of the week. If you have biology semester during the week ahead, mention it in the planner. Very simple, you must also write events which do not include school activities such as a trip to Chicago etc. This will allow you to schedule your studies accordingly. In case your Chicago trip is clashing with your term exams, than mark the Chicago tour as “L” and move it to the next weekend. Fill all the other fields which are related to studies such as the due dates of unit tests, term papers, mid-terms, project reports, final exams etc. If you find bunch of deadlines on a particular day, you cannot help it but complete as these dates cannot be postponed. But perhaps you can change other deadline dates to accommodate the non-changeable dates.
2- Priority Tasks
With the above term planning calendar, there are chances that you might at times, feel the need to know priority tasks. For e.g. “L” – means Low priority, “H”means high priority and “M”means medium priority. That is when we have to begin preparing the next table. Priority tasks are based weekly and not yearly as the term planning calendar. But remember to mention the time required to be devoted for studies. The table consists of 7 rows indicating the days of the week and 3 columns each indicating priority rating, schedules, brief description of the program. Find out your past semester results and devote more time for a particular subject in case you received less marks in your past semester.
3- Daily Schedule
Schedule your daily plan for studies. You can prioritize your tasks on the left-hand column, estimate the time each task presumably would consume (“T” for the TIME column), and note the actual time you have spent on it (“A” for ACTUAL column). It is imperative how well you get a handle on how well you estimate homework time. If you plan to study for 8hours, do not stretch it continuously, instead limit it to 2 hours intervals, do a bit of entertainment and begin continuing studies. If you find history subject interesting, increase its study hours. Sometimes subject like maths is a bit boring, make intervals for every half hour of study so that the boredom does not get over your head. Never overdo your studies, rather plan them in blocks for better memorization. Plan your daily schedule tough tasks during prime hours. And during non-prime hours go for easier tasks such as proofreading, copy notes, check your calendar etc. so that you will not get into boredom. When you feel the need to rest a little, do it, never hesitate but continue after a small power rest.
Always remember, Term planning calendar must be displayed on your study room wall. Priority tasks are based weekly, so carry it with you so as to add any important event when your teacher announces it in the classroom. Daily Schedule has to be carried with you so that you do not forget anything. Now you are ready with your study plan.