October 2, 2017

The Study Schedule: Your Plan to Defeat Procrastination

By Marybeth Norcross

We have arrived at that point in the semester when students are looking stressed, and are scrambling to catch up with their workload. Many find themselves losing the battle with procrastination, and end up cramming right before an important exam. Their performance is off, and they can’t catch  their breath.

Create a Study Schedule

Creating and sticking to a study schedule is easy to do and will help you win your battle against procrastination. Your schedule will help you stay on top of your work, rather than having to drop everything to study for an exam. It will help reduce your stress and improve your long-term retention of information.

Creating a study schedule is easier when you can actually see time. Use this Weekly Schedule  to create your schedule, starting with what I call the non-negotiables. These are things you can’t control: your class/lab/clinic and work schedules. Your non-negotiables tend to stay fairly constant from week to week, making them easy to schedule around.

picture of a woman sleeping peacefullySecond, add the things you can control. Start with your sleep. What time do you want to go to bed? Bed time is an individual decision, but what is most important is that you get enough sleep. Try to make sure you are getting between 6 – 8 hours per night. You can’t learn if you are exhausted, so scheduling your sleep is very important. Next, schedule family time. Again, this is different for every individual, but it is important that both you and your family know when it’s family time. They can better understand your need for study time if they know they have time with you. Another important thing to schedule is time for physical activity. It doesn’t really matter what you do – take a walk, go to a yoga class, play basketball with friends – just make sure you are doing something. Your memory and your stress level will thank you.

picture of a textbook and glasses used for learningFinally, schedule blocks of time to study. The number of hours needed will vary by College and by program, but all will require concentrated study time.  Try to schedule study blocks every day. You may want to take a day off – like Friday, when you are exhausted at the end of the week – but otherwise, plan to study every day. This will spread your studying out over time, and give you the opportunity to process new information within 24 hours of its presentation. You will be able to stay on top of the work and still have time for reviewing and connecting the new information with what you learned previously. Planned daily study time is the best weapon you have to fight procrastination.

Make the Most of your Study Schedule

image of books for finals saying I will Study and I will winYou can get more out of your study schedule if you plan what you will study during those hours. First, work on the new material from the day. Take your notes and turn the new information into a series of practice questions you can use to review. Work through the practice questions then add them to your other materials for review. Second, make time daily to review the practice questions, charts, diagrams, and other materials you’ve created, so you are constantly reviewing and re-testing yourself. Be sure you use the study time you’ve blocked. Don’t skip a study session! That opens the door and ushers procrastination right into the room!

Creating and sticking to a study schedule is the first step in defeating procrastination and improving your academic performance. If you want some help creating your own study schedule or need tips on how to study more effectively, the Learning Specialists in the Student Success Center would be happy to work with you. Just complete and submit the Academic Coaching Request form, and we will contact you to set up a meeting.