The University of Alabama
Center for Academic Success
124 Osband

  1. On a sheet of paper, write the days of the week from left to right across the top. (You can get a printed schedule from the Center for Academic Success). In a column going down the left side of the paper, write down the hours of the days starting with 7:30 (or earlier if necessary) and ending with the time you generally go to bed.
  2. In the appropriate spaces, write the abbreviations of the courses you are taking (i.e. Mkt 300).
  3. If you have a job, write in the hours that you work.
  4. Write in any activities that you plan to pursue during the coming week, such as club meetings, athletic practice, or any daily exercise that you do, like jogging or swimming.
  5. Write in the times you have your meals. Donít skimp on these hoursóbe sure to give yourself plenty of time to relax and enjoy dinner.
  6. With a pen of a different color, write in the times youíre going to study. There are a number of things to keep in mind when scheduling time to study:
  1. A good rule-of-thumb is to plan to study two hours outside of class for every hour that you spend in class. This may sound like a lot of studying, but if youíre planning to do well in college, youíll probably need to spend at least that much time at it. Some courses, like foreign language courses, may require much more than two hours outside of class; others may not require as much. After youíre into the semester a week or so, you should have a pretty good idea how much time itíll take to keep up with each of your different classes.
  2. The word "study" needs to be defined. To complete "studying" for a course, you should read the course syllabus and complete any assignments that are due for the next class period, including the reading assignment. (This means either underlining the important points in your book or taking notes from it). Once youíve done these things, you can always reread or revise your class notes, start reviewing for the next test, look up old tests that were given in the course in previous semesters, or start on any long-term projects like a term paper that will be due at the end of the semester.
  3. Schedule your studying for times when you are fresh and alert. Some people are at their best in the mornings and should try to do their studying then. Other people donít start to function well until the afternoon, and still others prefer studying in the evening.
  4. Be specific about what you are going to study when. In that way you establish the habit of studying a certain course at a certain time. The more such habits you establish, the easier it will be to discipline yourself to study.
  5. Be sure to put the free time between your classes to good use. For example, if you have a free hour before your biology class, use that time to read the assignment and to review your previous class notes. If you have an hour free after your class, use the time to revise your class notes while the material is still fresh in your mind. Or, use the time to start on the next assignment while youíre still in the proper mental state.
  6. If most of your classes fall on the same day, donít try to do a lot of heavy studying that evening. Just plan to attend your classes, review the material, and study hard on a day that is less hectic.
  7. Concentrate when you study. One hour deep in thought and concentration will be more productive than three to four hours of unfocused study. It will help if you set a goal for each of your study sessions so youíll know where youíre heading and when youíre done.
  8. Donít study for long periods of time. Research shows that three to four hour-long periods of study without breaks are not as conducive to learning as studying for short periods of time with frequent breaks. Some students stop every twenty to thirty minutes; others prefer studying for an hour before they take a break.
  9. Finally, a word about where to study. The kinds of places where people study best vary. Some people need absolute quiet while others can study in front of the television set. Some people like working alone while others prefer studying in a group. You may need to vary your location depending on the kind of work youíre doing. For example, you may need a greater amount of quiet and privacy when youíre studying for a test than when youíre simply doing a homework assignment. Ideally, you should try to find several places on campus where you feel comfortable studying so you donít waste your time running back to the dorm between classes.
  1. Carry your schedule with you for a week and try following it. At the end of the week, youíll probably want to make some adjustments in it. Throw out the parts that didnít work for you, and keep the parts that you felt were successful. Remember, your study schedule is YOURS; so if you donít like it, change it! If you feel that your schedule was too structured, try loosening it up. If you feel that you wasted too much time or that you didnít get as much accomplished as you needed to, you may want to structure it a little more. However, the sooner you can establish some regular patterns of behavior, the better off youíll be.