It’s the peak of midterm season at most universities, and there is a mutual feeling of stress and being overwhelmed among a lot of students. In my first year, the thought of everything being due at once was pretty terrifying (it still is really), but I created a study schedule method that helps me stay calm and get things done. I have included the steps and some examples below in hopes that I can help reduce the stress a little bit:
Step One: Start early! This method will not help you the night before an exam, but can help in the weeks leading up to one.
Step Two: Figure out when your major exams and assignments are, as well as any major time consuming events (training days, volunteering, working). I only use this method when I have lots of things going on in a short time period, not for everyday work, but you can certainly use it for that too.
Step Three: Break up the things you need to do for each exam/assignment. For example: I like to break up studying by chapter or lecture, and essays by paragraph (argument 1, 2, 3, intro and conclusion).
Step Four: Once you know what needs to be done you can figure out how many days you need to start studying before a midterm. For example: If you have to study 5 lectures for a midterm, you need 5 days of studying one chapter per day (and I like to add one more day to ‘review everything’).
Step Five: Create a visual table. I use Microsoft Excel but you can also do this on paper. I like to put dates on the left and subjects across the top. See below for examples of different timetables I have create over the last 2 years.
Step Six: Fill in your tasks for each day and any other major events. This method is great for midterm season when you are balancing studying for exams while doing the regular readings. It is also great because if you have a day that won’t have a lot of time for studying (if you work or have another commitment) you can work around that.
Step Seven: Adjust your daily tasks to make sure you aren’t doing too much in one day and that you are aren’t missing anything. Once your schedule is completed you can transfer the daily tasks into a daily to do list of your planner (see below).
Step Eight: Follow your daily task list. This is the best way for me to not feel overwhelmed because I know that as long as I get today’s tasks done I will be okay. I can go to bed and rest easy knowing that everything will get done.
Step Nine: Make time for breaks and self care!! The beauty of this method is that you can adjust when tasks will be done if you need a break. Maybe do two chapters of studying tonight so you have less to do tomorrow; things like that.
Step Ten: Ace your midterms!
This method has worked well for me, but I know it’s not for everyone. Feel free to adjust it to your needs or comment below how you like to prepare for exams. Best of luck,