What About You?

Getting Organized and Planning Your Study Periods

Whether you are a full-time student studying on campus or a part-time student studying in the workplace with other commitments, sitting down to study, attending a lecture or writing an assignment will more effective if you have organized your time. This means it is important to plan your study periods beforehand. You are then able to concentrate on the task in hand.

In planning your study you need to think about:



Managing YOUR TIME

As an adult student you are expected to take responsibility for your own studies. Your lecturers do not assume responsibility for telling you what to learn nor how to learn it, nor do they put pressure on you to make you learn. This is why it is very important for you to manage your time for learning.

This is often quite difficult especially if you have come straight from a school environment or have not studied for a while. However, you have chosen the subject you want to study and it is up to you to decide how much time and effort you want to put into it. Only you can determine this.

Some parts of your time for learning will be fixed and timetabled, like attending a lecture, practical or seminar. However, you can still decide whether or not you are going to attend. As a student at university a lot of your other time will be left for you to decide when to study. Remember, while it is important to make time for your study it is also very important for you to balance this with spending time relaxing and completely forgetting about your studying.

This means you need to decide your own priorities, set your own targets and decide if you are going to sit down and study or go out and do something else.




Think about your week ahead. Draw up a general plan, blocking out the fixed time you will dedicate to study as well as some other things that you're going to do - like eating, sleeping, travelling, going out with your friends, going to the cinema etc.

This will give YOU an idea of your schedule for that week. Is there anything you have written down which needs re-arranging for you to accomplish all of the things that you want to do? Set your priorities and rearrange your schedule. Try doing this every week.

Be prepared to be flexible when circumstances change without completely abandoning the overall timetable. 



Preparing yourself

It may seem obvious but it is very important to make sure you have everything you need before you start studying - books, pen and paper etc. If you're 'not in the mood' to study don't sit down and try. It's much better to do something else instead but remember to fix another time for study and stick to it. 

Deciding how long you will study for

You may have acquired your own way of studying but generally it is not a good idea to study for more than 40-50 minutes at any one time. There is a lot of evidence that attention span and concentration cannot be sustained for much longer periods. It's much better to break a long study period into 40-50 minute chunks with a 10-15 minute break. This is especially true if you are finding something difficult. Having a break and coming back to the problem refreshed, rather than getting tired and tense trying to solve it, often works. 





Regularly identify


       The aim of studying and why it is important

       How your study periods can be best organised and carried out

       Whether a study period has been successful and why/why not


Produce a study timetable each week