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Planning Study Time
Handout from 2003 Orientation Session
- Use daylight hours: research shows that 60 minutes
of study during the day is the equivalent of 90 minutes of
study at night (Pauk, 1989, p. 45).
- 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 material as students
who did not review, when tested 6 weeks later (Pauk, 1989, p.
- List and do tasks according to priorities: remember
Parkinsons' 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.
- Start long jobs ahead of time: avoids cramming and
the resultant poor quality ("If only I had more time...")
- 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.
- 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.
- Have an agenda for each study period: be specific
regarding the task that you hope to accomplish during each
planned study period.
- Use spare blocks to review notes and for study
groups: We have found that students can get most of their
studying done in a normal "work day" if they treat school as
an 8-6 job.
For more study tips, drop by the Counselling