Wayne State University

Aim Higher

University Advising Center

How to Study Effectively and Have Time for Fun

  • Make a time schedule.
    A schedule lets you pick the best times to study, work, and play. It puts you in charge of your time. Buy or make a weekly planning guide and use it to schedule key events, assignments, and deadlines. Keep it with you and try to stick to it. Soon planning your time will become automatic.
  • Prioritize.
    It can be difficult to remember everything you need to accomplish. Keep a list of things to do and write down all of your tasks, including study and class projects. Beside each task write a letter or number indicating its priority. "A" priorities need immediate attention and are important, "B" priorities are important but not urgent, and "C" priorities aren't important nor urgent and can wait. Work on "A" priorities first, then move to "B".
  • Study each day at the same time and place.
    Consistency forms a habit. In keeping the same time and place for studying, you can eliminate a lot of distractions and lost time. Study in a place where you can stay focused.
  • Plan to study just prior to and immediately after class.
    The best time to retain information is while the notes are fresh in your mind. Try to study prior to a discussion period and right after a lecture. Doing so will help you remember important concepts and organize what you have just learned.
  • Plan study time throughout the day according to your ability to concentrate.
    You have points throughout the day when you are at your peak. Be aware of those times and schedule "A" priorities and difficult tasks or studying during your peak hours. Schedule less demanding tasks during your low energy periods.
  • Set goals for each study period.
    Sit down to study with an agenda of what you want to accomplish. Completing a task will give you momentum to accomplish more.
  • Take advantage of "waiting time" to review.
    Ten minute segments add up and can be helpful. Carry review cards or a book with you to study between classes, while waiting for a appointment or a friend, etc.
  • Don't wait until you are in the mood to study.
    You may never be in the mood and you'll lose precious time while waiting for the mood to strike. Discipline yourself to stick to your study schedule; it will keep you from having to cram during exam time.
  • Plan time for fun.
    Schedule time each day or week to do things that recharge your creative batteries or help put your life in prespective. You can decrease stress and achieve a nice balance between work and play when you've planned enough time for both.