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Weekly Study Schedule

A weekly study schedule will make you aware of how much time you actually have each week, and will help you use that time effectively.

Look over the Sample Weekly Schedule which one student prepared to gain control of his time. Then read the points that follow; all are important in planning an effective weekly schedule.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the Weekly Study Schedule, click on the "Printable Weekly Study Schedule" link below and print out a blank schedule that you can personalize.

Printable Weekly Study Schedule

Sample Weekly Schedule

6:00 a.m.OpenOpenOpenOpenOpenOpenOpen
10:00PsyPhy EdPsySPsyJobOpen
11:00OpenPhy EdOpenSOpenJobS
1:00 p.m.BioLabBioSBioJobL
Study Hours/Day3435205

Open=free time
Phy Ed= Physical Education

Important Points about a Weekly Study Schedule:

  • Plan, at first, at least one hour of study time for each hour of class time. Depending on the course, the grade you want, and your own study efficiency, you may have to schedule more time later. A difficult course, for example, may require three hours or more of study time for each course hour. Remember that learning is what counts, not the time it takes you to learn. Be prepared to schedule as much time as you need to gain control of a course.
  • Schedule regular study time. To succeed in your college work, you need to establish definite study hours. If you do not set aside and stick to such hours on a daily or almost daily basis, you are probably going to lose control of your time.
    There are many values to setting aside regular study hours. First, they help make studying a habit. Study times will be as automatically programmed into your daily schedule as, say, watching a favorite television program. You will not have to remind yourself to study, nor will you waste large amounts of time and energy trying to avoid studying; you will simply do it. Another value of regular study time is that you will be better able to stay up to date on work in your courses. You are not likely to find yourself several days before a test with three textbook chapters to read or five weeks of classroom notes to organize and study. Finally, as mentioned before, regular study takes advantage of the proven fact that a series of study sessions is more effective for learning material than a single long “cram” session.
  • Plan at least one-hour blocks of study time. If you schedule less than one hour, your study period may be over just when you are fully warmed up and working hard.
  • Reward yourself for using study time effectively. As the section on operant conditioning in the chapter on learning in your psychology textbook explains, positively reinforcing a certain behavior will likely lead to an increase in the probability of its occurrence. In other words, if after a period of efficient study, you allow yourself to watch an hour of television or to telephone a friend (positive reinforcement), you will be more likely to use your study time effectively in the future. Remember that your reward system won’t work if you cheat! If you reward yourself with television and phone conversations with friends after not studying, you’ll be just as likely to repeat the negative behavior (not using your study time wisely) as the positive behavior (studying effectively).
  • Try to schedule study periods before and after classes. Ideally, you should read a textbook chapter before a teacher covers it; what you hear in class will then be a “second exposure,” and so the ideas are likely to be a good deal more meaningful to you. You should also look over your notes from the preceding class in case the teacher discusses the material further. Similarly, if you take a few minutes to review your notes as soon after class as possible, you will be able to organize and clarify the material while it is still fresh in your mind.
  • Work on your most difficult subjects when you are most alert. Save routine work for times you are most likely to be tired. You might, for example, study a new and difficult psychology chapter at 8 p.m. if you are naturally alert then, and review vocabulary words for Spanish class at 11 p.m., when you may be a little tired.
  • Balance your activities. Allow free time for family, friends, sports, television, and so on in your schedule. Note that there is a good deal of free time (empty space) in Rich’s schedule (Fig. 1.1), even with his classes, work, and study hours.
  • Keep your schedule flexible. When unexpected events occur, trade times on your weekly timetable. Do not simply do away with study hours. If you find that your schedule requires constant adjustments, revise it. After two or three revisions, you will have a realistic, practical weekly schedule that you can follow honestly.

A Daily or Weekly “To Do” List

Many successful people make the “to do” list a habit, considering it an essential step in making the most efficient use of their time each day. A “to do” list, made up daily or weekly, may be one of the most important single study habits you will ever acquire. A weekly list should be prepared on a Sunday for the week ahead; a daily list should be prepared the evening before a new day or first thing on the morning of that day.

Carry the list with you throughout the day. Decide priorities. Making the best use of your time means focusing on top-priority items rather than spending hours completing low-priority activities. Place an asterisk (*) or an “A” in front of the high-priority items on the list.

Cross out items as you finish them. Doing this will give you a sense of accomplishment, as well as help you see easily what you still have left to do.

The monthly calendar, master study schedule, and “To Do” list, combined with your own determination to apply them, can reduce the disorder of everyday life. Through time planning, you can achieve the consistency in your work that is vital for success in school. You will probably get more done than you ever have before.

Other Tips

  • If possible, study in a well-lighted place where you can sit comfortably and be quiet and alone. If your roommates don’t keep the same schedule as you and are socializing or relaxing during your optimal study times, plan to go the library or student center. Many dormitories have study lounges as well. If you have one particular spot where you usually do most of your studying, you will almost automatically shift into gear and begin studying when you go to that place.
  • Stay in good physical condition. You do not want to be prey to quick fatigue or frequent bouts of sickness. Eat nourishing meals; you will probably master a difficult psychology chapter more easily if you have had a solid breakfast than if you had only a cup of coffee. Try to get an average of eight hours of sleep a night unless your system can manage with less. Also, try to exercise on a regular basis. A short workout in the morning will help sustain your energy flow during the day.
  • Use outside study help when needed. Studying with other people can be beneficial if everyone in the group is committed to doing work and really helping each other to learn the material. Someone else may be able to clarify concepts that you don’t quite understand, and the camaraderie may be just what you need to keep you going. Some students, however, use studying in groups to procrastinate further. You may end up wasting hours talking about things that have nothing to do with your studies, or simply complaining about how much you don’t want to study. If you become part of a study group, force yourself to ensure that the group stays on track and is helpful to you. Also, find out if your school or individual departments have a tutoring service. If so, do not hesitate to use the service to get help on a particular subject or subjects. Determine if your school, like many, has a learning center where you may work on developing writing, reading, study, and math skills. Finally, learn the office hours of your professors and plan to see them if you need additional help.

Printable Weekly Study Schedule


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Budescu, D., & Bar-Hillel, M. (1993). To guess or not to guess: A decision-theoretic view of formula scoring. Journal of Educational Measurement, 30(4), 277-291.

Geiger, M.A. (1991). Changing multiple-choice answers: A validation and extension. College Student Journal, 25(2), 181-186.

Kim, Y.H., & Goetz, E.T. (1993). Strategic processing of test questions: The test marking responses of college students. Learning and Individual Differences, 5(3), 211-218.

Rogers, W.T., & Bateson, D.J. (1994). Verification of a model of test-taking behavior of high school seniors. [Special issue: Cognition and assessment.] Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 40(2), 195-211.

Schwarz, S.P., McMorris, R.F., & Demers, L.P. (1991). Reasons for changing answers: An evaluation using personal interviews. Journal of Educational Measurement, 28(2), 163-171.

Towns, M.H., & Robinson, W.R. (1993). Student use of test-wiseness strategies in solving multiple-choice chemistry examinations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30(7), 709- 722.