Study Central: Studying in the second half of the semester


Melissa Schmitz, Asst. Opinion Editor

So spring break is over. Bummer. Now it’s time to get back to work! Read on to learn how to take advantage of the time left in the semester.

You have several weeks left in the semester, so use them wisely! Don’t decide to start studying for that final the last week of class, start much sooner! You already have your syllabus schedule, so start there. Get our your planner, calendar, app, or whatever it is you use to plan. First, mark down all the important dates you have on your syllabus, such as tests or when assignments are due. Next, you should have an idea of when each chapter is covered, so you can start planning that. Is the extent of what you need to do for each chapter reading? Then simply split up your reading between the days it will be covered so you’re not trying to cram it in all at once. Do the same for practice problems or any other kind of work. Ask any psychology professor and he/she will tell you that, not only is cramming not the right way to learn the material, but when it comes to the final studying will be much harder to remember everything if you cram. Need more reason to do it now? Just remind yourself that it’s more stressful to do it later.

For this kind of scheduling I usually have a lot to do for each class, so I print out monthly calendars for each one and save the big due dates for my planner. Maybe you’re wondering exactly how you should schedule these things. Instead of going overboard and planning out very specifically what you’ll do every hour for the rest of the semester… Start out really basic. On your monthly calendars set due dates for when you should finish reading  a chapter, doing a problem set, or finishing that one part of your paper. Doing this will give you a lot more flexibility in terms of the specifics later. Let’s say you get a bad cold and are very unproductive for a week. If you already planned out each day very specifically, then it will take a long time to rewrite your plans again. Things come up. That’s life. So start out basic. Then you might consider planning a bit more specifically for the week. For instance, you may plan to get pages 54-64 read one day, 65-75 the next, and so on for the rest of the week. Or that you’ll work on making a study guide on Carboxylic Acids on Monday and Tuesday, then work on a Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution study guide Wednesday through Friday. But you can get even more specific than that! In addition to the rest, I also plan out what I will do for the specific day the night before. First I start with a to-do list, and then I plan out when and for how long I will do each task during the day based upon how long it usually takes me to do the tasks and how productive I am during certain parts of the day.

In addition to just studying for the new material, though,  finals will be here sooner than you think, so do some review, as well! This sort of scheduling I make more general than I do for normal monthly scheduling. On weekends I will choose to tackle a certain topic or chapter for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday in addition to other studying I usually do. While I don’t let this review take over my weekends, I don’t let it overshadow studying for current material, either. Instead of going in chronological order, I figure out which topics I need the most work on and go from there. This is also good if you don’t think you can tackle every single topic; it allows you to pick out which topics you need the most work on so you can improve those first. But try to cover all topics if you can!