Developing a Study Plan
"No one ever plans to fail, they just fail to plan."
Being a successful student requires planning, organization and persistence—it requires that you set the stage for studying and learning.
When determining how much time you should spend preparing for your examination, consider the time needed to attend class and study at home for the equivalent college course(s). College professors advise that, in each week of the semester, you should plan on spending three hours studying for every semester hour of credit you will earn. For example, a 3-credit course would require you to study for nine hours in each week of a 15-week semester.
Below is a list of helpful hints, tips, and suggestions for making your study time worthwhile. We encourage you to consider using several of these tips in your study plan.
- Establish a routine: Get a calendar and block out regular study times. For a 4-credit exam, plan to study approximately 12 hours-per-week.
- Find a quiet place to study:
- Organized—eliminate clutter
- Home may not be the best place to study—too many distractions: phone, doorbell, kids, laundry, TV
- Identify, gather and organize resources:
- Excelsior College School Catalog, Content Guides for the exams and Using Exams to Complete Your Excelsior College Degree.
- Compile a library of textbooks.
- Webster's Dictionary and a medical dictionary (for nursing students).
- Pens, pencils, highlighters of various colors, index cards, notebooks, tape recorder and blank tapes.
- Join Chats and seek out Study Partners at MyExcelsior Community.
- Participate in the MyExcelsior Community Book Swap.
- Professional Journals/use the Excelsior Library.
- Plan to take the Excelsior College Practice Exams for the examinations available.
- Schedule breaks & rewards: Plan time for exercise and recreation (walking, TV, meditation, etc.); doing so will help to expend nervous energy and stress.
- Study the more difficult areas first.
- Study when your energy is at its highest.
- Make sure to plan enough sleep time and to eat properly.
- Make audiotapes or flashcards to review when on the go (in the car, etc.).
- Plan daily "to do" list and prioritize: Be realistic about your time.
- Remember this inspirational quotation from Marian B. Sides, Successful Test Taking: Learning Strategies for Nurses (Sides & Korchek, 1998), which stresses the importance of learning as a process, rather than as an end product:
We must not forget that the beauty of a learned person is not that one is learned but that one knows how to learn.