Skills Earth Sciences

Make a study planning

In Formulating your learning goals you were prompted to think about the time needed to reach your SMART goals. Try to estimate how much time you actually have. With a low workload, planning is easier to schedule – but if you find yourself with too little time you will have to start prioritizing your tasks. In this way, you are more likely to be able to stick to a schedule. A global plan is used for longer periods and as the time periods get shorter your plan gets more precise. For example, you can make a global plan for an educational period of 10 weeks, in which you determine what your weekly goals are. In addition to this you make a detailed weekly plan in which you list the study activities for a certain week, so that you know what you need to achieve your weekly goal.

When making a weekly plan, use a format that works for you. The internet provides many examples, but if you take the following tips to heart, you will already have made a good start.

  • Determine how many hours you have available for your studies. Determine what is a realistic number of hours to schedule for your studies in the coming week. If necessary, divide the available hours into contact hours and study time. Strictly cut the hours which you know you won’t be studying, because you already have other appointments or because you already spend enough hours on your studies that day for example. And, of course, don’t forget to make time for enough sleep. You can find a template here.
  • Make an activity plan Make an activity plan for each subject, insofar as this is possible based on the information you have. Indicate in this plan how you would like to approach the subject in the coming week. It may be useful to first make an overview of all the courses you are currently taking, including the exam requirements, the material, and the learning objectives. This helps in choosing the right activities.
  • Try to estimate how much time you will need. Make an estimate of the time you think you will need to carry out the different activities. Plan some extra time for unforeseen events. We recommend that you keep two half-days free, so that you can postpone activities if you are running late or aren’t able to study. In this way, you prevent procrastination from becoming a cancellation.
  • Compare the time available with the time needed. If you do not have enough time for everything you have planned, take action. For example, choose to adjust your activity plan, or make more time available by cancelling or moving other activities.
  • Organise and schedule your activities. Think about how you want to organise or cluster your activities. Many students like to plan the activities or tasks for each day, with an estimate of the time needed, but do not like to plan exactly what they are going to do at what time. It can also be unpleasant to do too many different subjects in one day. Think about what kind of planning suits you and find a template that gives you enough support and overview. Having a hard time prioritizing? Check out the module on priorities at Caring Universities.
  • Look ahead. Look at your weekly plan and think about what could go wrong at the times you want to study. Always try to find two possible solutions.