Most students find that their greatest challenge in adjusting to hectic school life and to succeed in the classroom is in managing their time effectively. This is especially true for science students who often work long hours.
When evaluating your schedule, or how you spend your time, you also need to consider your goals and priorities. What is most important in your life, as you look at how you spend your time, ask yourself if this matches your priorities.
Even though attending class and completing assignments is a top priority for most students, many find that they are not allowing enough time for studies. On an average, students should spend about 2 hours of study daily.
If you are finding it difficult to locate the time you need to study, or that there are conflicts among the various demands on your time, you may need to give greater consideration to your goals. By getting clear on your goals, it will be easier to decide how to spend your time. You’ll find that you can more easily put off other things and set aside the time you need for studies. Ask yourself:
- Why have you taken up Science?
- What are your educational goals?
- What are your career goals?
Using Time Wisely
You might have all the time in the world, but if you don’t use it wisely, it won’t help you to meet your goals. Procrastination is a problem for many students. The following are tips to help you deal with this issue:
- Get motivated. Create a work area that is free from distractions and commit to staying there for at least one to two hours. If you get side-tracked, remind yourself how this activity will help you to meet your goals.
- Prioritize. What has to be done first? When is it due? What is worth more in terms of your grade? What is worth more in terms of your personal, educational, or career goals?
- Task with Deadline. Whenever possible, split up tasks with deadline. It is always better to have a time limit set for each of the task that will determine the speed with which you work.
- Make sure you understand the task. Ask questions, get help if needed.
- Break down the task into chunks. Estimate how much time you’ll need to complete the task. Don’t try to do it all at one time. Break it down so that it’s “do-able” and not so exhaustive. Stay up-to-date on assignments to help avoid overload.
- When you really hate it, try to make it as enjoyable as possible. Take up such task first, while you have more energy. Reward yourself when you complete certain aspects of the task or explore the option of studying along with a friend.
Once you have found the time to study, commit to a time and place that meets your needs. In order to do this, ask yourself whether the environment in which you are studying matches your learning style and preferences. Based on your preferences, you should schedule your most challenging classes and intense study sessions in the environments that best match your needs.
The following aspects of study environment can be considered:
Time of day: Whenever possible, you should schedule your most challenging courses and most intense study sessions during that time of day when you are most alert. Ask yourself if you are more alert during the morning, mid-day, or evening and schedule accordingly.
Grouping: Do you prefer to study alone, in small groups, or in large classes? If you prefer small group, form small study groups to prepare for tests and exams and likewise for large classed keeping your preference in mind.
Style of Studying: Some people prefer to sit on a table or desk in order to concentrate and study effectively. Others are able to learn more easily while sitting comfortably on a sofa or lying on the floor .Still others need to move about in order to learn. Further, some people have the ability to sit and study for long periods of time, while others need to take frequent breaks. Recognizing your style of studying will help you to plan your study exercise.