How to Create an Effective Study Schedule

If you regularly read our journal, you will have probably heard us use the term study schedule before. The benefits of organising your study time so that you stay on track are pretty obvious. Study schedules help you stay on top of your workload, avoid stress and help you meet targets. They also help you fit studying around your other commitments and allow you to have regular down-time to recharge, without falling behind. These things are all important to ensure that you study effectively and do the best you possibly can in your qualification. 

But how do you create a study schedule? Here are some steps for creating a schedule that will work for you. 

Work backwards

The first thing to do is to set your final deadline date. This does not have to be the actual deadline of your course. In fact, it is a very good idea to give yourself some leeway at the end just in case you need it. Also, many courses are designed to allow you to work your way through the material at your own pace. They purposefully give you a large amount of time to allow for different rates of study and other commitments. For example, our Legal Secretaries Diploma Students have one year to complete their course, but on average Students complete it in six months. Once you have decided on your end date, you can work out the total amount of time you hope to dedicate to the course. It is more motivating to have a goal to work towards like this, rather than leaving things open-ended.  

Block out time when you know you can’t study

So, you have your start date and your end date. The next thing to do is to note any breaks, plans, or commitments that you will have during that time frame. These things can include anything from family holidays to childcare. When you know that there are times when you won’t be able to study, you need to block that time out in the schedule. If you don’t factor this in, it may cause stress when it comes up later. 

Spread your time evenly

You now have a time frame you want to work towards, and because you have removed the time when you definitely won’t be able to study, you have a realistic view of the study time that is available to you. 

Now it is time to go through your course and make a list of the tests and assessments that need to be completed. It is good to have an overall view of the workload. Many courses, including ILSPA’s courses, provide a list of the assessments for each of the modules included. You should also pay attention to the length of the course material provided in the modules so that you can factor in reading and study time for each one. They may vary in length, so it is good to look ahead.

It is then up to you whether you plan exactly when you are going to complete those tasks within your schedule, or whether you choose to be more flexible and simply give yourself a guide. 

Be reasonable if you need to make adjustments 

There will undoubtedly be times when things do not go to plan. Situations will arise that will disrupt your work. If this happens, try not to let it affect your motivation. Don’t try to overload yourself by adding the lost time on to the next week. Rolling work over is not always possible. Simply draw a line under that week and start fresh on a new one. If something big happens that seriously sets your schedule behind, start again and create a new schedule.    

Good luck with your studies!