How Do I Create a Study Plan or a Study Schedule?

by | Jun 27, 2023 | 0 comments

One of the most common questions I am asked by students is, can you give me a study plan or study schedule that help me get the grades I am looking for in my exam.

When it comes to study schedules and timetables, there is no magic bullet. There is no one study timetable that out there that works for all students. We are all different, we all have different learning styles, so your plan needs to work for you. When I am supporting students in creating a study timetable, we take a deep dive into what they feel will work best for them.

Not only do we consider the amount of study that is required for the successful completion of their exams, but we also look at how this study will fit into their lives. What I mean by this is, have you considered your extracurricular activities, relationships and other commitments when creating the study plan or study timetable. In the run up to exams, I am often asked by students should they give up their extracurricular activities. The answer is always NO! If you are playing a sport or have other hobbies, these can be a great pressure release from study.

A word of caution when creating a study plan – some students spend hours, if not days creating their study plans. The reason for this is procrastination. They want their study plan or timetable to look pretty and have everything in order when in fact they are delaying the inevitable which is starting to study.

What is the first step in creating your study plan?

The first step in creating a study plan is understanding what you need to do to succeed in your exams? What is expected of you?

Get your syllabus for each of your classes and do a simple traffic light system, green, orange, and red showing which subjects you know well, and which subjects need more focus. This will give you a good visual of what subjects you need to spend most of your time (namely the orange and red areas).

Next, do a time budget looking at what you have got to cover with the time available. Is it realistic. If not, how can you go about re-prioritising?

Try not to be too rigid with your study plan. In planning you are looking at a bird’s eye view of the road ahead, not a minute-by-minute plan for every day.

Once you have your birds eye view with your time budget and your traffic light system, then let’s break this study schedule down and go week by week.

Creating your weekly study plan

At the beginning of the week, set yourself weekly priorities. Ensure your study plan is realistic, otherwise it can feel over-whelming which can result in procrastination and feeling de-motivated.

Ask yourself the following questions as you plan for your week:

  • What are the top priorities for the week?
  • What are your learning goals for the week?
  • What subjects do I need to spend most time on?
  • What obstacles might I face this week?
  • How can I overcome these obstacles?
  • What extra-curricular activities have I planned for the coming week?
  • How am I going to look after my well-being this week?


Creating your daily study plan

As I mentioned already, don’t spend a huge amount of time creating your daily study plan. Five minutes is enough time to create your study plan. Remember, your plan doesn’t have to look pretty, and it doesn’t have to be neat and tidy.

Ask yourself, what subjects do you need to study today. In other words, what are your learning goals for the session? Always schedule time for retrieval practice. What this means is, scheduling time for testing or examining yourself on what you have learned. Schedule time for breaks. So often we can forget about scheduling our breaks. If we are doing focussed, deep study, it is important to schedule productive deep breaks. A deep break is not like your lunch break which may be 45/60 minutes long. While every student is different, I recommend taking a deep break after 60/90 minutes of study. Most people turn their attention to their phones or social media while taking a break. A deep break can include a walk around the block, some meditation or breathwork, a phone call to connect with family or friends.

After your study session, it is always useful to spend less than 2 minutes reflecting on your study. Here are some reflective questions you can ask yourself:

  • What went well with my study today?
  • What could have gone better?
  • What do I need to learn or study more of for more learning mastery?
  • What one thing can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?

While studying it can be so easy to lose focus. Have a good study plan will help you stay on track and will help you stay focused. A good plan and setting realistic learning goals is the key to success. Ensure your plan is flexible and change your plan if it is not working for you.

Here are a few ways you can create an effective study schedule or study timetable. If there are more specific issues you or would like support or coaching with, please reach out contact me for a free chemistry call here.