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How to Make a Study Timetable

Three Parts:Setting Up Your TimetableFilling in Your TimetableUsing the Timetable

A study timetable is a handy, inexpensive tool that can help you get control over your study time. It will give you perspective on what you need to accomplish and the time you have to do it in. If you want to get organized and feel motivated to get your work done to the best of your potential, try putting together a personalized study timetable.

Part 1
Setting Up Your Timetable

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    Make a list of your responsibilities. You need to think about and write down all of your responsibilities so that they can properly be factored into the list. By thinking about all of this in advance, before filling in your timetable, you’ll make the actual creation of your timetable go more smoothly. [1]
    • You should consider all of your classes, your job, your chores, sports and exercise, and anything else you do on a regular basis during the times you might be studying.
    • Don’t forget people’s birthdays and major holidays.
    • You’re probably not going to think of everything up front, but that’s okay—you can add it in later.
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    Collect all class/assignment information. This will probably mean getting all of your syllabus together and any assignment sheets for papers or projects, and maybe looking online if there’s a place for your classes there (like Blackboard or another course management system).[2]
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    Consider optimal times of day for studying. Spend some time thinking about when you do—or would do—your best studying. Are you morning person or a night person? Thinking about this now will help you do your best to schedule important study time during your peak study hours. [3]
    • When completing this step, try not to think about your other responsibilities (like your job, etc.); just note your best times as if you had nothing else on your plate.
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    Decide on a format. You can make your timetable on a piece of paper or in digital format, such as a spreadsheet or an app on your phone.
    • Spreadsheet programs, like Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers, offer obvious solutions. Also, many word processing programs have templates for what you’re trying to achieve.[4]
    • You might choose an online solution. One well-reviewed program that has an app and web interface is My Study Life.
    • Even if you are online or on your phone frequently, a physical paper timetable might still be best for you. This could be the case if you’re not allowed to be on devices while in class.
    • Both paper and digital study timetables have their advantages. A digital timetable might be easier to setup and make big revisions to, while you can make a lot of little changes to a print timetable that you keep with you. A print version might also be easier (or at least more fun) to color and personalize.
    • You may also choose to combine paper and digital: use your computer to print out a grid that you’ve already added days and times to, then print out as many as you like (depending on the number of weeks you’re planning for) and fill it in by hand.
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    Draw the grid. Any timetable should be a chart consisting of the variables “date” and “time,” with days of the week along the top and times down the side.
    • If you’re making a timetable by hand on paper, you’ll need to create the grid yourself. You can use regular notebook paper or blank paper. Draw your lines with a ruler for a clean look.
    • The biggest downside to the paper-and-pencil method is probably how hard it is to make changes later. Even if you use pencil for everything, it could be a real challenge to adjust the number of rows or columns. Also, if you need multiple pages, like one for each month, you would have to do all of this every time.

Part 2
Filling in Your Timetable

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    Choose a single or custom timetable. You can make a single timetable that will stay the same each week. Or, you can build a custom one for each week, that changes depending on the specifics of that week. You would build all of your custom timetables at the same time.
    • For a custom weekly timetable, start in reverse. Start with big assignments or final exams and work backwards. Your study schedule will need to change depending on what big assignments are coming up.[5]
    • Don’t forget to fill in everything you brainstormed earlier in the process. You should do this before you put in study times. This includes all regular commitments like a sport practice. You need to do this first so you know where you can put your study times.
    • If you’re making a custom weekly timetable, don’t forget to include exceptions like birthdays and holidays.
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    Block your study times. Aim for blocks of study time that are fairly long, such as 2–4 hours at a time. This will help you get into the groove of studying and help you to be more productive with your time.[6]
    • Just because you don’t have a large chunk of time doesn’t mean you can’t schedule a study period, however. If you feel it will be beneficial to schedule in 45 minutes here or an hour there, by all means, do so.
    • You’re going to want to schedule more time for more difficult classes.[7]
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    Schedule time for breaks. Break are essential to your success. You’re not a robot, so you can’t work non-stop for hours on end. You’ll do better overall if you give yourself regular breaks from the work.[8]
    • Many experts recommend that you work for 45 minutes every hour, and then break for 15 minutes. Everyone is different, though, so experiment to find what works best for you.[9]
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    Be as specific as possible. Remember how you gathered all your of assignments and syllabi? Now is the time to put them to use. You can schedule blocks of time for particular classes and also write in assignments and give yourself chunks of time to work on those.
    • Things will change over time, of course, and something you planned for two months ago may not apply anymore. But don’t let that stop you. Look at this as a helpful guide, something to keep you on track and something that will help you break large assignments into small pieces.
    • If you always have a certain amount of homework for a class every week, that would be great to add to your timetable. For example, if you always have 20 math problems to do each week, you can break this up in your timetable.
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    Schedule multiple subjects during each session. Working on different subjects during a single session will keep you from getting completely burned out by one subject and having no energy to do anything else.[10]
    • Of course, this can change come exam time when you need to devote all your energy to a single subject!
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    Make your timetable look nice. Color coding classes and responsibilities will help make your timetable easier to use and easier on the eyes. You might be looking at this timetable a lot—make it your own!
    • You might want to use colored pencils if it’s on paper. Or you could highlight things on the computer and print in color. If you’re using an online-only app, the timetable will already be color-coded, though you may be able to customize it to some extent.

Part 3
Using the Timetable

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    Keep to it. It might take some time for you to really get used to using your timetable but keep at it. Once it’s a part of your routine, it’s going to be a big help
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    Don’t stress about it. Don’t feel like you have to follow the timetable down to the exact minute. It’s a little system to help you do better in school. Base your time on it, but don’t get stressed about not following it perfectly.
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    Revise it. See what works and what doesn’t, and if something isn’t working, fix it! You already put effort into making the timetable—there’s no reason to scrap it when a few simple revisions could make it work well for you. Always stick to your timetable.


  • If starting in reverse and making a custom timetable that changes weekly seems like too much for you right now, you can still make a standard study timetable fairly easily. Even if it’s the same from week to week there are a ton of benefits to having a timetable.
  • Try running an images search online or use Flickr or Pinterest to find examples or templates of timetables that you can use for free.

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Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills