It’s even harder if you’re studying through distance learning and need to work full time.
So, how do you do it? I’ve used study calendars for years, ever since I was a student in high school. They really help me stay focused and get enough hours of study in.
Here are my top 5 tips for planning your study calendar, without overworking yourself.
You’ll have some hours that have no wiggle room. They could be set hours that you work, your study hours or even some volunteer hours for a placement. By setting these hours, you know that you’ll definitely have time for them.
I always put these in my study calendar in black. Black pen meant that they couldn’t be removed with a rubber or that fountain pen eraser stuff. They were there to stay.
Once they were in, I could see all the other blocks of time that I had. Now it was time to get to the details.
Work Out Your Hours of Study
How many hours of study does your course expect on a weekly basis? I remember in brick university, we were advised to do something like 300 hours a module, over the course of a semester. With part time study, it is slightly different since we tend to just do one module at a time.
Once you have your full term hours, you can break them down to a weekly basis. Say you had to do 300 hours for a module over the course of a 30 week period (all universities operate on different study weeks, so it’s best to check with your course to see how long a semester is), that means you need to do 10 hours of study a week for a module. This usually includes your set lecture hours.
So, now check your lecture hours, which could be five hours a week. So, you need to fit in five hours of personal study in the week.
That works out to be an hour a day, with two days off from studying that particular module. Now you can find where to place those hours into your study calendar.
I always put these hours in blue. They were moveable if necessary, but they were still important.
Pop In Your Essay Deadlines and Exams
It’s easy to overlook when you have essays and exams due. You think you have all the time in the world, but those weeks soon go by fast. Before you know it, you’ll have a week to write your dissertation!
You need to get your essay deadlines and exams dates written down as soon as you have them. You can then add in some study time or writing time just for these.
I always put these in red. The red pen stood out, and it wasn’t something I could just rub out on a whim. The dates were important—and the study time just as important. Also, read articles about essay writing tips and freshers tips that definitely will help you in your study process.
Plan Some Social Hours
No, you can’t plan all the social events for the year, but you can pencil in some time to spend with your friends. You also want to plan some time in for your gym, own personal “me” time and some shopping.
These were hours that I put in pencil. Most of them were moveable, and I rarely planned anything like that more than a week in advance. The only thing that was more important than the rest was my gym/swim time. I made sure I got to the pool at least once a week (and I still do).
Some people will choose not to actual add their social time to their study calendar. They will see the blank spaces available and work within them, knowing that it is time to themselves. It’s completely up to you.
Sync Your Study Calendars
Most students now can plan their study with their phones and tablets. There are calendar apps available to download to make it all easier.
If you are going to use them, make sure you sync all your devices together. That way, it doesn’t matter where you are when it comes to planning a date. You can quickly check your calendar to make sure you’re free.
Personally, I still like having something on the wall to physically draw, write on and see. But this will always match my online calendars, too.
It’s time to start planning your study calendar, if you haven’t done already. This is the best way to make sure you get enough study hours in and don’t miss your deadlines, while still enjoying your time at university.