It is probably the worst and most challenging of all the components of education, the part that requires enthusiasm, discipline and organisation skills. Yet so many people whether they may second level, third level or mature students, can find it very difficult to study and when they do study, most do not do it properly, or as the title says they don’t study effectively and efficiently.

Dedicated, focused study is required for most people who want to be the best they can be and achieve the highest points /marks / grades possible. Whether you study throughout the academic year, during non-academic periods or are one of those people who tries to cram it all in before the examinations begin, a study plan is recommended, indeed vital. It will get focused, get you organised and get you what you want.

Design and develop a study plan around your actual school days / class times by drawing a table on an A4 page (landscape). Divide the table into seven rows and start with one narrow column on the left. Write the seven days of the week in this column. Now start with Monday am and write on top of the second column a 45 minute start and finish time period e.g. 7.30-8.15 and then insert an ‘X’ where this time and Monday meet on the table. This becomes your first study time period. All our study periods are 45 minutes duration after which we take a 15 minute break. If you wish to do a second study period on Monday am, write in 8.30-915 and insert another ‘X’ where this time period and Monday meet on the table.

After school, food and some rest, we need to study for the ‘pm’. First of all, you have to work around any extra-curricular activities or activities that you do after school across the seven days. Put these into your plan first by inserting the start time and finish time (these times are the times you leave your home and return again). With these inserted, start Monday’s study plan, 45 minute study periods and 15 minute breaks. What time of the night should you stop studying? Well, doing 3-5 45 minute periods with 15 minute breaks adds up to 3-5 hours per evening.

Once Monday’s available time for study is planned and put into your table, move on to Tuesday, then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday inserting ‘X’s that designate study. You will be surprised how this plan will become a very important document and how you will do your best to adhere to it. Make the plan workable and fair without putting overdue pressure on you. It has to eventually lead to you actually enjoying study. Plan to study and study to the plan.

Saturday and Sunday should not go by without some study being carried out as well. Consider 2-3 45 minute sessions each of the days. It is best to do this during the morning. You will feel the better for it, knowing that you have used some of your morning to benefit you academically.

You should now have a table in front of you with days of the week on the left hand column and time periods on the top row with ‘X’s everywhere. You now put this onto a WORD document, print it and put it over your study desk.

Between 15-20 hours study per week is now achievable, with most of this time used for homework until you have covered all the curriculum, when you will then transition into study.

Remember, this study plan is not forever, it is only for a few months over a few years and then you are done…!