When it comes to study strategies, there is no “one size fits all.” You have to figure out what works best for you. That being said, there are certain steps that all good study strategies require. The seven-day study plan is a tool that will help you think through these steps and map out your study strategies.
Step 1: Planning out the dates and times of your study sessions.
The general rule of thumb is to start studying seven days before the test and study for no more than 2 hours per day, for a total of 14 hours. You don’t have to follow that exactly; the main point is to start early and spread out your studying.
Step 2: Planning out the location of your study sessions.
Make sure that you’re studying in places where you can really be focused and efficient. Your studying won’t be effective unless you’re doing it in a productive environment. Some research suggests that it may be helpful to utilize a few different study locations so that you do not become dependent on recalling information in a specific location.
Step 3: Mapping out the topics to cover.
This sounds obvious, but you should always know exactly what material you’ll need to know and at what level of critical thinking you will need to know it. You don’t want to be surprised by something you see on a test.
Step 4: Gathering the materials that you’re going to use.
Think beyond just rereading your notes or reviewing lecture slides. Study guides, previous homework assignments, and practice tests are all examples of materials that can help you study more effectively.
Step 5: Preparing activities to test yourself as you go.
It’s important to have a way of measuring the effectiveness of your study sessions so that you have time to make adjustments to your strategies if you need to. Test your understanding and application of content in various practice scenarios and make connections between your content.
Step 6: Keeping track of your confidence level.
The whole point of studying is to increase your confidence with the material going into your test, so if your studying doesn’t help your confidence, you should adjust your strategies. You should also adjust your strategies if your studying tends to make you overly confident. It’s never a good idea to underestimate a test.
Remember these steps for planning out your studying, and you’ll be on your way to figuring out which study strategies work best for you.