How to Make a Study Schedule in College

Midterms, finals, or even just a hectic week are right around the corner. You have to complete a homework, study for three tests, write two papers, and meet up with your group for the project due. Many students look at that schedule and aren’t even sure where to begin or how to start. That’s where a study schedule comes into play. It’s the perfect way to plan what you need to do each day to get things done. While it might be hectic, things are getting accomplished and you are working your way to get through a crazy week.

Start ahead of time

Cramming all of the information into your head the night before the test isn’t worth it. While yes, it can be possible on occasion, is it worth staying up late and all of the stress to get it done in one night? For me, it’s not. Typically, I like to start studying a week in advance so that I have two weekend days to really get stuff done, but if I feel that that material covered on the test will be difficult I often start one and a half to two weeks early. If you are someone who likes to study one chapter per day, take that into consideration as well and remember to add in a day or two to review all information and focus on parts you struggled with.

Know your test, assignment, quiz, and paper dates

I personally sit down at the beginning of the semester with my planner and write down each and every due date. Whether it’s an assignment, paper, quiz, project, or test, it’s in my planner. I always sit down at the end of a crazy test period and figure out when the next crazy test time will be because college goes in terms of midterms and finals season, not by months in my mind. I always make a note in my weekly notes section of big upcoming dates so that I can plan accordingly and know how many days in advance to start studying.

Find out the material that will be covered on the quiz or test

Now that I’ve entered the upper level courses at university it’s not uncommon for my professors to post a study guide online or go over material that will be covered on the test in class. Also, by actually attending class regularly professors often hint at material that will be covered on the test. One of my stats professors used to hint at particular types of questions he would ask on the test and often they would be almost word for word what is in our notes. I also highly encourage stopping by office hours and asking your professor what will be covered on the test and what you should be reviewing.

Know how you will study

Know which method works best not only for you, but for the kind of material you are studying. Do practice problems, high light your notes, read it out loud, make a study guide, write out note cards, go to a study group, rewrite your notes, or even do practice tests. For example, if I’m studying for a math test I will read over the definition notes, look over the kinds of problems I will be doing, write out the steps for the kinds of problems I’m doing, write out any formulas I may need to know, do practice problems, and finally do practice tests.

Break it into pieces

The purpose of a study schedule is not to cram things at the last minute. The purpose is to break things into smaller pieces to make it manageable. If you have an upcoming IMC test that covers 5 chapters maybe you want to start 7 days early and go over chapter 1 notes and definitions day 1, chapter 2 notes and definitions day two and so on and then use days 6 and 7 to review any materials you might have been struggling with. That way, you can take the time to focus on material and only cover 1 chapter’s worth of material instead of cramming 5 chapters into your head in one night.

Get to work

Now that you know your dates, what you need to study, how you will student, and when it’s time to get to work. I always sit down with my study schedule and add it to my daily to-do list so it gets done. It’s the best way for me because then I know that I’m getting work done from the goals that I personally set.

Do you make study schedules? If so, are there any tips from this list that you use? Do you have any tips to add to this list? If you don’t make study schedules, do you plan to make one and use any of these tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!