In the previous article we looked at how important it is to set goals for your studies. Your study goals are pretty much the first component required for your study plan. For each goal within the plan, you will need to write down the goal and the method for achieving it. To start with, write down your career goal.
You may have a number of specific career goals or perhaps just one. Write down whatever you identify. An example is below:
“I would like to be a mechanical engineer specifically working in the automotive industry. In order to achieve this goal I am studying a BEng Mechanical Engineering degree at university.”
Degree Grade Goal
The next thing you will need to do is identify the grade you are aiming to achieve from your studies. Remember be as specific as you can.
“I would like to achieve an overall 2:1 for my degree in mechanical engineering. In order to achieve this, my final mark needs to be over 60% (based on standard UK degree classification, though universities may vary). I will therefore need to obtain an average of at least 60% for my assessments during the course.”
The grade goal will help you monitor your progress. Using the above example, if you start to see yourself slipping below 60% in your assignments and exams, then it may be a good idea to seek help from your lecturers, a tutor or a mentor who may be able to help.
You’ll need to assess your weekly schedule to identify all your current commitments. The schedule should include the following:
- Contact time – Time spent at college/university for classes etc
- Work time – If you have a job, include your working hours
- Other commitments
- Recreational time – You need to include this to ensure you have some balance
Once you’ve created the schedule, you should easily be able to see the gaps that you can fill with personal study time. If you seem to have very few gaps left after the exercise above, then you may need to amend it. You can now see how many hours you have each week to allocate for personal study. You will also see how many hours you have for personal study per day and more importantly which hours each day.
Now you know when you will be studying, identify what you will be studying. Fill those personal study blocks with what is most relevant. It’s a good idea to include what you have studied in class, in your personal study for that day. The content will be fresher in your mind than if you were to leave it much later.
Another idea you might want to try is subject ranking. Establish the number of subjects you have and rank them in order of how comfortable you are with them. It’s common to find some subjects easier or more enjoyable than others and that’s not a problem. You will however, need to allocate more time to the ones that you are least comfortable with as they may take more time to bring your competence level up. You don’t want any subjects to be pulling your average down and affecting your overall target grade. Resist the urge to spend more time on the subjects your find easier as that will not help overall.
The next stage of the plan is identifying where you will be studying. Ensure that the place that you decide to use for studying has no distractions.
The is one of the most important parts of the study plan as this is what you will actually be doing. Many students complete the some of the stages above and then sit down at the appointed time staring at notes or watching time go by. It’s best to know exactly what you will be doing before you get there to avoid wasting time.
There are different types of study methods with some being content specific whilst others are generic. The methods themselves are beyond the scope of this piece but many will follow in upcoming articles.
I hope you found this useful.
If you have any questions please ask.
Have you created a study plan?
What’s your biggest study challenge?
Please feel free to leave your answers or comments below: