Turn Your Study Plan Into Action In 8 Steps
A study plan is essential for any student wanting to get ahead or conquer a particularly tricky concept. However, one can get so wrapped up in the planning that they have trouble putting it into action. If that sounds like you, then this is the article for you.
Execution needs to be the primary focus once you have a general target in mind. By going through these eight steps, you’ll never again have a difficult time moving forward.
1. Define a concrete result you hope to achieve.
What do you hope comes from your study time? Most students will say something like, “Pass,” or “get an A.” That’s a good start, but see if you can’t get more detailed with it. For example, you could say, “I need an A, and in order to get it, I will need to master exponents and square roots, because those are the two things giving me the most trouble right now, and I will need to do it by next Friday since that’s the date of the test. I already have solving for variables, quadratic functions, and inequalities down, so this will bring me closer to mastery over all the materials of the test.”
Sit down and write out a mission statement like the one above. Don’t worry. No one ever has to see it. This is just for you, so you can see the end result before you get started. This will guide all the individual steps along the way.
2. Be flexible.
Flexibility is important because your study plan isn’t always going to work out exactly the way that you want it to. For example, you may think that you can learn certain things visually only to find out that you’re better reading or listening to a lecture (or vice versa). As you seek to learn new information, experiment. Try figuring it out in a variety of ways instead of forcing yourself to learn a certain way because that’s how your peers or your teacher taught it to you.
3. Value the insight of your instructors.
Teachers went to school just like you are doing now. They completed all four years of high school as well as four years of college and, in many cases, three years of postgraduate school. They also attend ongoing in-service training. While some are better than others at imparting their knowledge inside of a classroom, you should still value their insight and use them as a resource when you can.
If they have a free period or office hours, stop by and talk with them about things you’re struggling with. The hands-on time can help you achieve numerous breakthroughs.
4. Communicate where you are failing.
It’s important that you share your struggles with your teacher, your tutor, a helpful peer, and yourself. You need to be mindful of where the trouble areas are if you ever want to correct them, and communication is half the effort in overcoming.
5. Teach others what you know.
Communication shouldn’t be entirely restricted to the negative of not knowing. You can also use it to teach others what you know. Why would I want to do that if I already know what I know, you may be asking? For the reinforcement. Also, if there are any holes in your understanding, they will come out whenever you try to show someone else what you’re talking about.
6. Measure your progress.
It’s hard to improve on anything in life — business, education, or pleasure — if you don’t have some form of measuring stick there to guide you. Pay attention to those past tests. Note the questions that you missed as well as the ones that you may have gotten right but had to guess on. Take practice tests, and see where you’re scoring the best. The best way to improve is by getting out there and taking action. Your work allows you to do that.
7. Create a contingency plan.
As your deadline approaches, you’re going to find that some things come easier than expected, while others are much more difficult. That’s okay. You may not have square roots figured out by the time of the test, but if you have exponents conquered — to use the example from No. 1 — you’re that much closer to where you need to be, and you also know where to double up those future efforts. Build a workable, realistic contingency plan based on the progress you made and the time that it took.
8. Harness the power of technology.
Technology is changing rapidly. Each day there are newer and cooler applications that help you learn more in less amount of time. Don’t shut it out. While you definitely want to have time “away from the wires,” so to speak, the rapid growth of human knowledge owes a huge debt to Apple, Google, and countless unnamed developers, mathematicians, and scientists. Ride on the shoulders of giants.
Anyone can create a study plan, but far fewer execute it to perfection. By following the eight tips outlined above, you can be one of the proud that do. What are some steps that have helped you get going on a study plan? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Bank Exams Today]