Preparing to study for an entrance exam or other major test can be daunting. Upon calculating the number of hours you’ll need to commit to studying, you might be worried that you don’t have that kind of time in your schedule. Don’t forget you’ll also need to factor in all of your other obligations like school, work, clubs, family, and friends. How can you follow your study schedule while still keeping up with the other commitments you have in your life?
Know Your Priorities
When creating your study plan, know that not everything in your life can continue as-is. Maybe you’ll have to cut down on TV or time spent on Instagram. Be confident about putting a temporary hold on lower-priority items to make room for the more important commitments on your plate. Keep in mind, though, that some things that might be considered “frivolous” may actually play a key role in keeping your mind sharp. Maybe Instagram is how you destress at the end of a day – if so, feel free to make time for this and instead find other ways to balance out your schedule and make room for your studies.
Maximize Short Blocks of Time
There are only 24 hours in a day, so it’s important to make use of as many waking hours as you’ve got. Keep a test book or a skills-building worksheet with you at all times so you can keep your brain moving as you wait for your morning coffee, preheat the oven, or stand in line for the bus. Even a short five minutes can give you enough time to work out a test question or two. You won’t feel any strain on your schedule since these short pockets of time probably would have been spent idly otherwise.
Anticipate Your Schedule
If you know you have a friend’s party or a family holiday coming up, plan for them in your study schedule. Actively build major life events into your study calendar so you know how much study time you’ll need to reallocate elsewhere in your schedule. No one’s asking you to forgo your best friend’s bridal shower or your dog’s third birthday party – just make sure you have mitigation strategies in place. For example, you might know that Friday night will be a busy one, so you might study for an extra hour on Monday and an extra hour on Sunday to make up for the time you’ll lose.
Work Studying into Your Routine
If you can’t fathom functioning optimally before 9 AM, it doesn’t make sense to suddenly start waking up at 5 AM to study. On the other hand, if you’re a morning person, great – you might try waking up an hour earlier to get some added study time in while your brain is at its best. Or perhaps you prefer late nights – if so, commit that time after school or work to hit the books. If you can’t find time at morning or night, you might try reviewing test prep materials over lunch or during your breaks. We’re all creatures of habit, so build your studies into those habits.
About the Author:
Catherine supports Magoosh’s future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.