Study Skills: How to Organize your Study Time

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

“He that rises late must trot all day. “ – Benjamin Franklin

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” – Charles Buxton

Before we jump into organizing our time, I would like to comment on the Benjamin Franklin quote. It is so wise and truthful. Imagine you have overslept and school starts in 15 minutes. You jump out of bed and frantically get dressed. You don’t have time to pack a lunch so you just grab money. You sling on your backpack and sprint to the bus. Unfortunately, you miss the bus so your mom must drive you. By the time you arrive at school, you are tardy. In the first period, you realize you left homework at home. Now you only get partial credit and will have to do extra work. At lunch, you have to stand in line for food, where normally you just sit down and eat your lunch with your friends. I think you get the point. You are having to work a little bit harder (or “trot” as Mr. Franklin says) just to keep up with life because of poor time management. This same concept applies to more than just sleeping late. If you don’t plan ahead for tests and projects, then you can find yourself scrambling and stressed all the time.

The second quote is equally insightful. You must learn to focus on your important tasks and then schedule time for them. This is where time management, goals, and to-do lists can have an impact on your life and productivity. 

The overall theme of this book is to develop habits. You are only as good as what you consistently do. Making study plans is a habit that can save time. A study plan helps you incorporate the habit of being proactive instead of reactive. Here’s a quick detour to help you understand the difference between proactive and reactive.

Study Skills Book

Learning to be proactive & developing a study plan

Taking the time to map out a study schedule is an effective habit to develop. Creating a weekly study plan might seem unnecessary, but it takes less than fifteen minutes to complete and reduces procrastination. By having set times to study, you can guarantee to get all your needed work done. 

The first step is to get an overview of what is coming up for the week.

*First look for tests that you have written down in your agenda or on your syllabus. Most teachers usually announce major tests very early. Tests are typically a pretty big part of your grade, so they are first in priority.

*After tests, check and look for any long-term projects coming up and make a note of them.

*Look over your agenda for any assignments you have written down.

*Check your to-do list.

Next, create a list of all of your tests, projects, and homework due for the week. This habit will help guarantee you don’t forget any assignments coming up and fit them all into your study/homework time.


The next step is to estimate how long each task will take and begin scheduling this time into your agenda.

Next, I do a rough schedule of the week and then start a final schedule.

Study Skills weekly plan

Many students have had great success with studying with a timer. They set the timer for 15-25 minute intervals, set a goal for what they want to accomplish, then take a quick break when it goes off.

Study with a timer

Learn to juggle your time. The more you plan and schedule your time, the more you will find blocks of time here and there that you can use to study.

Here is a list of examples to help maximize your time:

Recording notes and flashcards on your iPhone and listening to them while working out.

Breaking out your homework or a book while waiting for your orthodontist or doctor’s appointment.

Reading an assigned book or looking at flashcards while riding to after-school activities. I feel very confident you could ask the top ten students in every high school in America and most of these top students study while riding to activities.

Use dead time at school after a test or quiz in another class. I know in my class that students work at different paces, and my top students often ask if they can work on assignments from another class.

Work during homeroom. Some days you can talk to friends but on days, with a large amount of homework, use these ten to fifteen minutes to look over flashcards, study, or jump-start homework.

The key to juggling your time is being organized enough to have study material with you and then finding open time throughout the day. I think you will be surprised to discover the amount of free time you have in your schedule once you start looking for it.


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