How to make a study plan – that works for you

Welcome to the journey of academic excellence! That’s the idea, at least. One way to help maximise your chances of hitting your academic goals is to create a study plan. It will help you fit everything in, prioritise your work, and ensure that you don’t miss out on the fun stuff at uni either. Plus, it should mean you never miss a deadline. So, let’s look at how to make a study plan, what its components are, and how it can help you smash your uni studies.

[Warning: this article contains lists. Lots of them.]

How to make a study plan – the components

A study plan is more than just a schedule; it’s a roadmap that guides you through your academic pursuits. So, let’s break down its essential components. How detailed you want to get is up to you, but these tips are a good place to start.

Goals and objectives: The first part of your study plan should be to take some time to reflect on your academic aspirations. Is there a particularly challenging subject you want to master, a dream internship you’re looking to land, or a specific career path you need to align your studies with?

Priorities and deadlines: As a student, you juggle lots responsibilities and activities. Identify the deadlines associated with each task or assignment. This will help you allocate enough time to each of them and prevent last-minute rushes.

Time for different subjects: Each course demands a varying degree of attention and effort. Allocate dedicated time slots for studying different subjects based on their complexity and your proficiency level. Remember to factor in time for revision and practice exams, if needed.

Breaks and leisure activities: While the academic side of university is important, so is your well-being. And living your best life. Integrate regular breaks and leisure activities into your study plan to prevent burnout and maintain that study-life balance. These could be short breaks to do some deep breathing or yoga, or longer things like taking a walk in nature or getting together with your buddies. After all, uni is supposed to be fun, too!

Life admin: That means the sort of things that have to be done, even if they might not be right up there on the ‘I really want to do that’ list. Think chores in your res, grocery shopping, visiting the podiatrist, etc.

How to make a study plan that works for you

woman creating a study plan on a laptop

Crafting a study plan that aligns with your goals and lifestyle requires careful consideration and planning. But once you have it, it’s going to be a huge help. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Self-assessment: Understand your strengths, weaknesses and also learning style. Are you a visual learner who benefits from diagrams and charts, or do you thrive on auditory cues? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you study better in shorter or longer blocks of time? Are weekdays or weekends more suitable? Tailor your study plan to leverage your strengths and also address areas of improvement – like allocating extra time to subjects you know need more of your attention.
  2. Set realistic goals: Sure, aim high, but also be realistic about what you can achieve within a given timeframe. Break down long-term goals into smaller, actionable steps that you can accomplish on a daily or weekly basis.
  3. Use time management techniques: If it helps, experiment with different time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique (breaking work into intervals, typically 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks) or time blocking (which involves allocating specific blocks of time for different tasks or activities throughout your day) to optimise your productivity.
  4. Incorporate variety: Monotony breeds boredom. Inject variety into your study sessions by alternating between different subjects or study methods. You don’t want to get into a study rut, as Charles Sturt education student Charlotte Groves found:

I would sometimes sit for a couple of hours studying, but not really achieving anything or meeting goals. I started calling these ‘study ruts’, where you sit and sit, but don’t do anything very productive. To break these, I’d go and do something (anything) else for an hour, then come back refreshed and ready to go.

[Psst: Need something to help you get started? Check out our study plan template.]

6 study methods to try

Girl studying next to window

Mixing up the ways you study can really help you take things in – and stop you getting bored. Here are a few techniques you could add to your study plan.

Active recall: Quiz yourself on key concepts without looking at your notes. This helps reinforce fact retrieval and strengthens understanding.

Mind mapping: Create visual diagrams to organise and connect ideas. Mind maps are particularly useful for visual learners.

Group study sessions: Collaborate with your classmates to discuss and review course material. Explaining concepts to others – and hearing others’ take on them – can deepen your understanding.

Flashcards: Use flashcards to memorise definitions, formulas, concepts or vocabulary terms. Keep them in your bag and do a quick review session when you have a spare 10 minutes.

The Feynman Technique: Teach a concept as if you were explaining it to someone who knows nothing about the topic. This method helps identify gaps in your understanding.

Visual aids: Create charts, diagrams or illustrations to visualise complex information. Visual aids can make abstract concepts easier to understand.

Want a few extra study tips?

Well, here are four, just for you!

  1. Create a conducive study environment: Minimise distractions and create a space that fosters concentration and productivity. And mix it up if that suits: think the library or outdoors on a sunny day.
  2. Utilise resources effectively: Make use of textbooks, online resources and also study groups to supplement your learning and gain new insights. Your subject’s online forum may just yield some study ideas you hadn’t thought of.
  3. Take a class: We’ve got a range of academic skills workshops that can help you brush up on your study techniques.
  4. Seek assistance: Don’t hesitate to reach out to professors or tutors if you encounter difficulties or need clarification on concepts. They’re here to help.

And don’t forget, your classmates are always there to lend a hand, as business student Michelle Smith found:

When I felt that my study–life balance was getting out of hand, the student Facebook groups really helped. I could reach out to get advice and support to help me through.”

So, what is a study plan? It’s what you make it

Crafting an effective study plan is not just about managing your time; it’s also about being in control of your academic aspirations. Moreover, its about making sure you maintain your balance, so you get the most out of uni – academically, socially and personally.

Check out all the ways we can help you make the most of your time at Charles Sturt.