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Study & Learning Handouts

5 Day Study Plan

With a Five Day Study Plan, you set yourself up for success by starting early and pacing out your study sessions in a way that maximizes your learning potential so you can ace your exams.

We’ve all heard of college students pulling infamous “all-night” study sessions before exams. And you might have excelled in high school just by cramming in a study session the night before an exam. In college, however, you need to alter your approach. College exams will likely require you to recall and think critically about more material than you can study in one all-night session. On top of that, researchers have found that students learn more effectively by spreading out short study sessions over multiple days or even weeks than in one or two lengthy sessions. The baseline recommendation for college test-preparation is that you adopt at least a Five Day Study Plan.

 

How to Create a 5-Day Study Plan

 
Step 1: Space out your exam preparation over a period of at least 5 days, devoting 2-2/12 hours each day to studying.

Step 2: Divide your material into 4 or more sections or chunks. Each chunk of information will be either prepared or reviewed in a two-hour study session.

Step 3: In each study session, prepare and cover a new section of material, then review what you studied the previous day.

Step 4: Use active strategies to prepare and review study materials.

Step 5: Self-test. Attempting to recall information from memory is scientifically proven to aid learning better than repeated review.

        

Examples of Ways to Prepare and Review

Each preparation strategy (left column) has a corresponding review strategy (right column).
 
Preparation Strategies Review Strategies
Develop study sheets Recite study sheets
Develop concept maps Replicate concept maps from memory
Make word cards Recite word cards
Make question cards Recite question cards
Make formula cards Practice writing formulas
Make problem cards Work problems
Make self-tests Take self-tests
Do study guides Practice study guide info out loud
Re-mark text material Take notes on the re-marked text
Make a list of 20 topics that might be on the exam Recite the list of 20 possible exam topics
Do problems Do “missed” problems
Make an outline Recite notes from recall cues
Summarize material Recite summary out loud
Make charts of related material Re-create chart from memory
List steps in a process Recite steps from memory
Predict essay questions Answer essay questions
Answer questions at the end of the chapter Practice reciting main points
Prepare material for study group Explain material to study group
 

The 5-Day Study Plan Table

Choose one of the strategies from the table above, or your own, and use them in the “Action” columns below.
 
Day Action Material Approximate Time Needed
Tuesday Prepare Oldest/hardest chunk of material 2 hours
Wednesday Prepare
Review
2nd oldest chunk of material
1st chunk of material
2 hours
30 minutes
Thursday Prepare
Review
Review
3rd chunk of material
2nd chunk of material
1st chunk of material
1.5 hours
30 minutes
20 minutes
Friday Prepare
Review
Review
Review
4th chunk of material
3rd chunk of material
2nd chunk of material
1st chunk of material
1 hour
30 minutes
20 minutes
10 minutes
Saturday None - Relax!    
Sunday Review
Review
Review
Review
Self-test
4th chunk of material
3rd chunk of material
2nd chunk of material
1st chunk of material
All material
30 minutes
20 minutes
10 minutes
10 minutes
1 hour
    Total time 11 hours
Monday TEST!    
 

Example 5-Day Study Plan

Sample 5-day study plan for an Animal Science course:
 
 
Day Action ANSC Material Approximate Time Needed
Saturday Prepare Make question cards over History of the Horse 2 hours
Sunday Prepare
 
Review
Make question cards over Breeds of Horses
Review History of the Horse
2 hours
30 minutes
Monday Prepare
 
Review
Review
Make question cards over Methods of ID
Review Breeds of Horses
Review History of the Horse
1.5 hours
30 minutes
20 minutes
Tuesday Prepare
 
Review
Review
Review
Make question cards over Anatomy, Conform, and Gaits
Review Methods of ID
Review Breeds of Horses
Review History of the Horse
1 hour
30 minutes
20 minutes
10 minutes
Wednesday Review
Review
Review
Review

Self-test
Review Anatomy, Conform, and Gaits
Review Methods of ID
Review Breeds of Horses
Review History of the Horse
Self-test all material
30 minutes
20 minutes
10 minutes
10 minutes
1 hour
    Total time 11 hours
Thursday TEST!    
 
 


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University.