“What is a study schedule?”, I hear you ask!
A study schedule is a plan of attack to maximise the effectiveness of the time you’ve set aside to revise.
Why do you need it?
Have you got time to waste? Are you revising for the sheer fun of it? Or are you struggling to fit the time in, given that you’ve got other, more important fish to fry, such as the small matter of building and maintaining your business; not to mention finding customers and taking care of them?
So the reason you need a study schedule is to speed everything up when it comes to revising, and making sure that what you are doing is efficient and actually works!
I expect there are many different ways of maximising your efficiency, but in my experience, I find that most of my clients benefit from an approach like this one:
Study schedule: Order of attack!
- Big picture – whole subject
- Test (close eyes, out loud, draw in air)
- Test question
- Reference (filing)
- Sticky question
Let me clarify this study schedule thing:
First I recommend that you acknowledge the context for the work you are going to tackle. What subject or topic does it fall under? After that, notice what area does it pertain to? And specifically, what is it to do with?
Taking the time to know where this new chunk of information belongs in the big scheme of things helps your mind to glue it to the relevant frame of reference, and therefore not only will it make more sense, but it will help you to remember it too.
The brain can remember a limitless amount of information providing that you chunk it up into small enough bits. So identify which bit you are going to learn right now, and look for the keywords. You might want to underline them.
Now you need to arrange those keywords into a logical pattern that makes sense to you and allows your brain to send the information to your long-term memory. This way you will automatically be taking care of the first 2 Keys to Learning:
- Spend enough time with the information so that your brain makes a pattern of it and sends it to your long-term memory
- Actively manipulate the information according to the way that your brain prefers to process, store and retrieve information
Lastly, and to take care of Key to Learning #3, you need to memorise your pattern of notes and test yourself, by:
- Closing your eyes and seeing your notes in your mind’s eye, while
- Drawing them in the air and
- Saying them out loud.
The reasons for this will be clear to those of you who have read my previous articles.
You will, of course, need to catalogue this revision chunk and file it away, with your test question uppermost. Again, read my other articles for more information about this process.
Finally, randomly choose and answer one of your Sticky Questions generated from your preferred learning style, to glue the new information firmly onto older information that you already understand about the subject.
And there you have a very efficient and effective study schedule to maximise the value of the time that you spend studying.