No to Low Stress College Study Strategy
I started using this study method my 2nd month of college, when I realized that it was better for study-life balance and my emotional wellbeing. It makes me feel productive and alert all day, and gives me plenty of free time to pursue hobbies, clubs, and personal interests. It sounds kind of hardcore at first, but it’s seriously wonderful if you give it a try! Here’s the game plan:
- After the first few days of the semester, I sit down with all of the syllabi from all of my classes and write down every single assignment for the rest of the semester into my planner. Include exams, readings, lab report due dates, worksheets, essays, etc. Everything.
- Every weekend, I set aside however much time I need to knock out every single assignment for the upcoming week that is possible to do in advance. I do my textbook readings, textbook practice problems, my humanities readings, short essays or write-ups to accompany those humanities readings, etc.
- Even though I’m doing more work, I generally spend the same amount of time in the library as my friends who only do their work for Monday over the weekend. This is because if you don’t commit to doing a large number of assignments, you tend to spend a lot more time on minor assignments than is truly necessary - do I really need to spend 3 hours on this 1-page essay for my English class if it’s only graded on a 10 point scale? Couldn’t I finish this in 1 hour and then devote more time to the rest of the readings I need to do for that class this week?
- I still have enough time to sleep in, have long lunch breaks, go the gym, go to parties in the evening, etc.
- You can do this, no matter your workload. I am a pre-med science major taking 20 credits (max course load) a semester, with two labs, and I can get it done. My roommate is an English major with heavy novel reading assignments and she can get it done. (Disclaimer: this mostly applies to undergraduates.)
- Research papers and midterm exam studying generally get their own day separate from homework assignments. I like writing essays in 1 or 2 sittings, but if you like to spread it out just break up the essay into manageable pieces and do it over multiple weekends, or do the pieces between classes (see next bullet point).
- After blasting through most of my assignments over the weekend, during the week I generally only have to do busy-work that is assigned at the end of classes and continue studying for midterms that week. I easily finish these assignments in the breaks between classes during the day.
- With this strategy, I always complete all of my homework well before dinnertime, and often have days when I don’t have any assignments to do. I use this free time for club meetings, hanging out with friends, going to the gym, marathoning Netflix, pursuing hobbies, working a job, whatever.
- I also use this extra time to be able to study for exams much more effectively - when you don’t have busywork assignments floating in the back of your mind, it is much easier to focus. You will study more productively and effectively, and with much less stress. Exams are worth way more of your grade than the homework assignments you blast through each weekend, so it’s best to be able to focus exclusively on them Monday - Friday.
- The best part about this strategy is that your workload is heavy on Sunday and sometimes Saturday, but you get to relax Monday - Friday. You basically have a 5 day weekend every week, assuming you enjoy going to class.
If anyone also uses this method, I’d love to hear from you or hear your variants/study suggestions! If anyone tries out this method for 1 or 2 weeks and finds that it works for them, I’d love to hear about it! If you try it and hate it with a fiery burning passion and loathe me for even suggesting it, I’d love to hear about it!
I believe in you!<3 No matter what study method you choose to use, just do your best and exceed your own expectations.