Carving Out More Time to Study

Unless you are one of those students who never has to study and still gets top grades, there will be a direct relationship between your grades and how much time you spend studying. The problem is, how do you find that time?

With a full course load and especially if you also hold a job, making time to study is a challenge. In order to make it happen, try some of the following…

Give study time the priority

You have classes, downtime, time with your friends, time to take care of yourself, and maybe time for your job, all of them need your attention. But let’s face it, your entire university career depends upon your grades, and that depends on the amount of time you have to study. For this reason, studying needs to be THE priority.

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The reason that so many students have such poor study habits is because they relegate study to whatever time is left over after doing everything else. You have to flip that around.

Just as you do for a class or a job, you should block out time each day for study. Set up a time each day, for as many hours as you can afford, that will be strictly for study. Unless it’s a medical emergency, no other activity should interfere with that time slot.

That will mean saying no to your friends when they want to hang out, and even no to yourself when you feel like taking a nap or having more downtime. It will also mean declining extra shifts at work.

Coordinate study with your most productive times of the day

Each of us has a time of the day when were most alert and we have the most energy. This is usually the most productive time of our day. To the degree that you are able to work around your schedule, try to set your study time up for the most productive time of your day.

For some that may be first thing in the morning – like 5 AM. For others, it could be late evening – as in midnight! Whatever time it is that works best for you is the time you should allow for study.

You only have so much time in each day, so you want to have your study time during your most productive hours. The timeslot when you’re most productive will make it easier for you to study, which will probably also mean that you’ll need less time to do it.

Blocking out distractions

Distractions are part of university life, so the best you can hope to do is to minimize them. Sometimes this requires literally cutting yourself off from familiar people and from your regular routine. The best way to do this is by physically removing yourselves from your regular environment.

The first place that comes to mind is the university library, but that’s not always the best place. Many of the same distractions that will affect you anywhere else on campus are also at the university library. As an alternative, try to use the local municipal library if it’s nearby. You’ll have most of the same resources that you have a the university library, but the usual people type distractions will be missing.

Another alternative is a local coffee shop. Because of their very nature, they can be quiet places that are highly conducive to study. You will also have to make sure that any coffee shop you go to also has Wi-Fi for Internet access. Starbucks is usually a good choice for this, but you’ll also have to be careful that it is one that isn’t so close to campus that you’ll be distracted there are too.

Finding a job that allows you to study – a double win!

There are actually jobs that can help you with studying. For example, I worked as a security guard during much of my time at university and it was the perfect job for studying.

– – Note from Justin – – I worked night security in residence. All I had to do was do one round every hour. one round took me 7 minutes, it was beautiful.

When you work as a security guard you’re mostly being paid to be at a site just case of an emergency. You are not being paid to do a certain type of job, and in fact most of time there is very little to do. I filled the working hours by studying.

Not only was I studying, but I was also earning money while I was doing it. It often felt as if I were being paid to study! Plus, I was in a quiet environment where there were few distractions. It was the type of job that actually increased my study time.

Maybe there are no security guard jobs that are close to your campus, but there may be other jobs where you can do much the same thing. If you can find one, it’s a real double win–money and higher grades!

Skipping classes that are easy for you

If you are a high school student who stumbled on this site, please stop reading this article right now. This section is written for university students for whom attendance policies are usually more relaxed.

Okay, that said…

I always found that there were certain courses that I can pass easily and with very little effort. I sometimes skipped these classes in order to concentrate on more challenging courses that required more time. If your university or your professors have a very loose attendance policy, this may be something you want to try – if you’re not doing it already.

This isn’t a recommendation to ignore certain courses in favor of others, but rather concentrating your efforts where they’re most needed. We all have only so much time, and when you have to make choices…you do what you have to do.

What techniques do you use to increase the amount of time you have to study?

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LOL I love your disclaimer to the last section. I had a class my junior year “Intro to Christianity.” It was a prereq for my minor (religion), but I took it after I’d already had a few upper-level courses under my belt. Plus, I was raised Catholic – I knew almost everything and could have written the text book myself. I went to exactly two classes all year (to take hte midterm and the final) and passed with a 98%.

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