The two golden rules in creating a study schedule are:
- Make sure you have enough time to actually study!
- Plan your study sessions for when you’re at your most alert and productive.
This is especially important if you suffer from fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression or any other condition that gets in the way of focusing on your studies.
If you’re still not able to find a time where you feel awake and energized, try taking short breaks throughout the day (including one break about an hour before your planned study session) to help give yourself an energy boost.
This will also help reduce the risk of burnout and feeling overwhelmed by studying for too long at once (which is certainly possible!).
For a list of common study disorders and how to prevent them, please see our previous blog post about studying smart.
How do I create an effective study schedule for myself?
Now that you’ve got a plan for when you’re going to study, it’s time to figure out exactly how you’ll spend your time. The most important thing here is to be realistic and not bite off more than you can chew.
For example, if you haven’t studied for the LSAT yet and are hoping to study for 8 hours per day over the next two weeks in order to get ready on time, that’s not going to happen!
You’re much more likely to succeed by breaking up your days into smaller chunks of time and building up your time spent studying gradually.
If you’re trying to balance school and work, it can be helpful to set aside specific days of the week for studying or writing assignments.
For example, if you have a particularly busy day at work on Wednesday and would rather not spend the evening doing homework, you can plan ahead and prepare your materials for the following day so that you can study while you’re at work.
If you don’t have enough time available in your schedule to devote an entire day (or several days) to studying or writing your term paper all at once, another option is to schedule 5-10 minute sessions throughout the day or night.
For example, if you only have 3 hours total per weeknight available for study time, you could spend 15 minutes every hour studying and then reward yourself with a break to help recharge your batteries.
Finally, if you’re working two jobs and don’t have any time available during the day, it can be helpful to schedule study time during your commute or while you’re waiting for an appointment (which can usually be done over your lunch break).
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