How to make a long term study plan
Sometimes, especially when you have a lot of assignments to do over the course of a year it can be useful to make a long term study plan. In my degree I often don’t have much time planned into my study planner to complete assignments which means that I like to have a long term plan of what I actually need to do when, which is generally different from what my study planner says. There are a few different things I like to do when considering what my long term study plan will be.
Look at deadlines
The first thing I do when I get my study planner at the start of the academic year is look at my deadlines. I like to see how many I have and how much time is allowed for them (for my degree this is generally 5-7 days which I don’t find is enough time). I also like to see if my deadlines for different modules overlap a lot and therefore if I will have times in the year where I am particularly busy. Once I have done this I decide how long I actually want to spend on each assignment. I generally like to allow about a month because I know I will be doing other studying at the same time so won’t be able to devote all my time to one assignment. This means that I then know when I need to have finished studying each block of content.
Look at other commitments
It is also important to consider what else you will be doing throughout the year. For example, if you know that you are going away for a week and don’t want to be studying then you will need to account for this. You might need to plan to do work for that week in advance or you may decide to just catch up with it afterwards. Whatever you do, it is worth having some sort of a plan for it so you don’t end up getting behind.
Make a rough plan
Depending on how hectic your timetable is you may want to write this down or just remember it. I personally tend to just remember what my plan is, which is generally just to start when the module materials become available (normally 3 -4 weeks before the module officially starts) and to try and do a weeks worth of studying each week and if I have a quieter week to get a bit ahead. This suits me because it means that I will always be at least a few weeks ahead. As I go through the year I sometimes make more medium-term plans, for example to finish all the reading for a particular block and have drafted an assignment by Christmas. However, you may prefer to write down a plan in your diary or calendar, for example. This may work better for you if you have an especially busy life or if you are the sort of person who would be more motivated to study if you could see you long term plan written down regularly
No matter how much you want to get ahead, it is important to remember that this isn’t always realistic (I sometimes need to remember this as well!). Even if you have the intention of doing two weeks worth of work every week, this isn’t likely to be very sustainable as you are likely to get stressed and tired and end up getting behind your plan. Instead try to think realistically about how much you can get done each week and how far ahead you should be. (From past experience I now know that being 6 – 7 weeks ahead isn’t actually very beneficial. Partly because tutors don’t always want to be answering questions about assignments that aren’t due for another 7 – 8 weeks and also because at the end of the year when you have run out of new content you will quickly get bored.)
I hope you have found this blog post helpful for creating a long term study plan – leave a comment to let me know what you like to do to ensure you stay on top of everything throughout the year 🙂