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Planning Study Time

Here are some hints for planning study time:

  1. Use daylight hours: research shows that 60 minutes of study during the day is the equivalent of 90 minutes of study at night (Pauk, Walter. How to Study in College, Second Edition.1989, p. 45).
  2. Survey required readings before lectures: skim over the title, headings, summary and figures before reading for detail. Surveying is a reading technique to be described in Module 3.
  3. Study soon after lecture type courses: retention and understanding are aided by a review of your lecture notes immediately after class: eg., one study showed that students who wrote a 5-minute review test following a lecture remembered one and a half times as much arterial when tested 6 weeks later as students who did not review, when tested the next day (Pauk, 1989, p. 104).
  4. List and do tasks according to priorities: remember Parkinson's law that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion." If you allot 2 hours to read 10 pages, it'll probably take you 2 hours to complete this 30 min. task.
  5. Start long jobs ahead of time: avoids cramming and the resultant poor quality ("If only I had more time...").
  6. Be realistic: don't plan study periods during the week if it is unlikely that you will follow through; thus, in the beginning, you may plan for only 2 or 3 study periods; if you are successful, then plan for 3 or 4 study periods the next week, etc., gradually increasing your commitment to study while always maximizing the probability of success.
  7. Discover how long to study: as a rough starting guide, for every hour in class you should plan to study for two hours outside of class. Then, adjust up or down as necessary to achieve your goals .
  8. Plan blocks of time: in general, optimum efficiency is reached by planning to study in blocks of one hour -- 50 min of study followed by a 10-min break (Pauk, 1989, p. 45). Shorter periods are fine for studying notes and memorizing materials. Longer periods are often needed for problem solving tasks and for writing papers.
  9. Have an agenda for each study period: be specific regarding the task that you hope to accomplish during each planned study period.

 

   
 
 
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