Paulette Chaffee Outlines How Students Can Schedule Study Time for Maximum Effectiveness

Poor study habits can develop quickly and follow a student through their educational career from grade school to higher-level education. Such habits can lead to procrastination, cramming for exams last minute, and even a lack of motivation to learn. Educator Paulette Chaffee has some tips for students looking to shake negative study habits. Below, she shares six strategies for students to study effectively and increase test performance. 

1. Test Different Study Times and Environments

When starting the journey to overcome poor study habits, the first step is to analyze current study habits and learning styles. This process allows students to reflect on learning methods that do not work and identify the practices that lead to productivity. As a result, students can determine what they struggle with first to find better solutions from the start. 

Next, students should look at their current schedule and start to block out a realistic amount of time to allocate toward studying. Identifying the most effective time to study can be a trial-and-error process. Depending on what works best for each person, students might be able to focus best in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night. The environment a student chooses to study in can also maximize effectiveness depending on how it contributes to productivity levels. After finding the right time of day and study space, students can proactively plan a study routine aligned with their mental and environmental sweet spot. 

2. Start Scheduling Study Time from Syllabus 

Students can get a head start and stay on top of managing effective study hours from day one of school with the help of a class syllabus. A class syllabus typically provides an overview of what students will be studying for the class and when. A critical piece to properly managing study time is pacing out study hours to distribute work evenly each semester or for however long a class is scheduled. Rather than cramming a semester’s worth of studying into two weeks, effective studying comes when study time is two to three hours per week per class.

3. Commit to a Study Schedule

Once a student has planned out a study schedule, a challenging yet vital commitment that a student must make is to stick to the schedule. Consistency is critical when forming new and beneficial study habits; falling out of rhythm can set students back. 

4. Develop a Habit for Reviewing Notes Right After Class

An excellent time for students to review and study notes taken in class is shortly after class has concluded. Students can save time and study with the best mental efficiency when reviewing notes an hour after class to memorize main ideas and understand concepts. The brain will most likely need more time to retain the same amount of information a few days later. 

5. Try Various Study Methods

There are multiple ways to study notes before an exam, and finding which process is most proactive when retaining information involves a little exploration. Students can start with basic review strategies such as rewriting notes. Organizing notes into a question-and-answer form or using flash cards to test oneself are also great approaches to studying. 

6. Revisit Study Schedule Weekly 

Though planning helps students stay on track, life is still unpredictable. Unexpected events can disrupt routines and schedules, so students practicing time management for studying should revisit their calendar weekly. With time management, staying organized is critical. Students should be sure to assess and prioritize scheduling to maintain good study habits and study at the most beneficial time for them.  

About Paulette Chaffee

Paulette Chaffee is an educator, children’s advocate, grants facilitator, lawyer, and member of various non-profit boards. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands in Communicative Disorders and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential. She is currently the Ambassador for Orange County 4th District and a board member of All the Arts for All the Kids.