Scheduling Study Sessions

Review your time-use chart  (PDF) to determine what time periods during the week will be best for study. Try to locate about 12 hours of uncommitted time per week per examination or course, especially if the content is unfamiliar.

The following table provides suggestions for scheduling study sessions.

Tips for Scheduling Study Sessions

Do Don't
  • Try to study at the time of day when you are most alert. If you're a morning person, study in the morning. A night person should study at night.
  • Try to study at the same time every day.
  • Look for blocks of free time. Try to find blocks of at least one but not more than two hours.
  • Check for activities that may be sacrificed. What are you prepared to give up to meet your independent study goals?
  • Try to include free time for relaxation and reflection each day.
  • Concentrate all of your study in a few marathon study sessions. Instead, spread out your study time to about six, two-hour sessions per week. (If you need to study mostly on weekends, schedule several two-hour sessions with breaks in between.
  • Schedule study time immediately before the departure of your family or immediately before the return of your family. For example, try not to schedule your study time to coincide with your children’s arrival home from school.
  • Schedule study time immediately following an activity that requires great mental effort or physical activity. Allow time to rest and to get mentally prepared to study.


Your Long-Term Study Schedule

When you decide on your most suitable study periods during the week, you are ready to set up a complete, long-term personal study schedule. Consult your course syllabus or examination study guide for guidance.

Your long-term study schedule should include the following:

  • Time to locate and obtain suggested reading material.
  • A two-week examination review/self-testing period immediately prior to the examination.
  • A study goal for each study session. Use your syllabus or study guide to identify objectives and content and plan specific reading assignments based on the content you must master. Try to provide a specific date(s) to study each assignment.
  • Some free study time in case you need to do extra studying on a particularly difficult assignment.

After Your Plan is Created: Some Tips for Successful Study

The key to time management is to be in control. Here are some tips to make the most of your study time:

  • Post your schedule where other members of your household can see it. Highlight your study times so others don’t try to lure you away from your study session.
  • Study difficult subjects first. They will require the most concentration so study them when you’re fresh.
  • Use waiting time. When you are stuck in traffic, use that time to reflect on your reading or listen to relevant audiotapes of key concepts to review information.
  • Use a regular study area. Studying in front of the television or in bed are bad ideas. Use a desk, table, or library for your study location.
  • Don’t answer the phone when you study. Either use the answering machine, turn the phone off, or tell callers you are unable to talk.
  • Stick to your study schedule!