Study Schedules: Strategies to Stay on Track
Phew! What a month it’s been for us at MDIS College! We’ve just finished our Standardised Assessments (SA) in March and students are already getting ready for their Mid-Year Examinations (MYE), which would be held towards the end of May. It is not unusual for students to come up with study plans. Yet, it is also not unusual for us to deviate from these schedules from time to time. Fret not! The following are some tips to keep in mind while creating a study schedule that would be easy to follow.
As a rule, study plans should be specific. In this case, the more specific a goal is, the higher the chances of us following through. Instead of planning to revise English for an hour and Mathematics for two, it would be advisable to note down what EXACTLY would constitute revision. Specify that the hour of English would constitute constructing an essay plan and that the two hours of Mathematics would involve practicing 8-10 questions from a particular chapter. This would undoubtedly heighten motivation as it ensures that we know what successful revision for the day would look like. When we set specific goals, we are defining success, which is critical to achieving success.
Set appropriate cognitive loads
Secondly, it is also essential to take into account the cognitive load required for each revision or study task. Based on official study and work schedules, it would not be advisable to schedule revision tasks that would require immense brainpower. If revising for a subject requires one to compile notes, memorise notes, construct essay plans and write essays, it would be wise to examine how much mental effort (aka cognitive load) is required for each of those tasks. Scheduling the tasks with lower cognitive load on busy and potentially tiring days and vice-versa would go a long way in enhancing productivity.
The previous two tips will help with this next one. While multitasking might be fun in some circumstances (like when we watch a movie while having popcorn), it would be unwise to complete revision and a movie marathon simultaneously. For some of us, finding the motivation to power through a revision session, knowing that entertainment is a click away, can be difficult. In this day and age, pulling away from our phones is never an easy endeavour. But we must remind ourselves that frequent interruptions would only impede our thought processes affecting our productivity and motivation in the long run. This would be made easier if we have already defined success and have planned to reward ourselves after the achievement of success.
Regardless of what we do to try and stay on track, we sometimes fall off the wagon and end up accumulating backlog, rendering our previously perfected schedule useless. What we decide to do at this point will truly make or break our revision. We must choose to get back up, recalibrate our schedules and push on. We might take baby steps while those around us take superhuman leaps – but the most important thing is to keep moving forward.