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In order to succeed in college, students need to organize their studying process. Since only a fraction of individuals is able to stay organized in the long run without guidance, a written plan is recommended to maximize the efficiency and keep track of the progress. However, the process of creating the plan is challenging and requires a set of skills that are necessary for successful learning.
The ability to allocate resources according to the known strengths and weaknesses is one of the most important college success skills for study plan creation. Previous high school experience may offer valuable insight, but at least some of the decisions need to be made based on the analysis of proficiency and expected outcomes. Students need to realistically assess their abilities and determine the most challenging disciplines. With this knowledge on hand, they can proceed to draft the annual plan that would include the courses and major events such as exams and tests. Importantly, the ability to prioritize tasks will also help to revise the plan later when the students detect inconsistencies or their skills will improve, resulting in better performance in certain fields (Milone, n.d.).
Another important college success skill that ensures an appropriate study plan is the ability to allocate time wisely. It is less important for long-term planning but is crucial for short-range schedules (Academic Skills Center, 2016). Once the annual plan is ready, students need to create a short-term plan (weekly or bi-weekly schedule is the most appropriate duration) (Year, n.d.). This version would include specific details on classes, individual study, and recreational activities such as lunch and rest time. The latter is especially important since students who forget to rest usually exhibit a decline in performance (Student Health Clinic, 2015). Finally, a routine daily schedule should be drafted that would describe an average day of study. This will allow detecting inconsistencies and can be used as a template. Each evening the students may adjust it to the specific details of the following day, which would only take five to ten minutes but may save hours.
It is reasonable to expect inconsistencies and gaps in the initial plan. To address them, it is necessary to review the plan and adjust it accordingly. However, it may be challenging to identify the cause of underperformance without critically assessing the problem. In some instances, the schedule can be adjusted after the failure to meet the project’s deadline. In other cases, it may be unwise to change it unless the reason behind the shortcoming is understood. For instance, inefficient teamwork may be the cause of the failure, in which case an extended time will not solve the problem (Rayhanul Islam, 2015).
Planning minimizes the chances of unpredictable events, but it would e unreasonable to expect their complete absence. A study plan must allow for adjustments on the go. The best way to do it is to log the previous experience and come up with a backup plan for the expected ones. In addition, a deviation from the schedule is acceptable if it promises a better outcome. To make it possible, the daily and weekly schedules need to include small gaps of unallocated time to increase their flexibility.
In conclusion, the creation of a consistent study plan requires more than the ability to write down disciplines and dates. It may appear a futile effort considering all the possible inconsistencies and unforeseen events. Nevertheless, when approached with the described skills in mind, carefully constructed, and improved throughout the year, the plan is expected to increase the success of the studying and reduce the stress associated with a shortage of time and unequal load distribution.
Academic Skills Center. (2016). Managing your time. Web.
Milone, M. (n.d.). How to prioritize your college assignments. Web.
Rayhanul Islam, S. M. (2015). What are the importance and benefits of “critical thinking skills”?. Web.
Student Health Clinic. (2015). The effects of rest on college students: Are you getting enough sleep?. Web.
Year, F. (n.d.). Weekly study schedule. Web.