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How to create a study plan?

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Identify your own learning style

In order for you to understand, how to study fast and effectively you'll need to understand yourself first. The first step in creating a personalized study plan is to identify your own learning style. Since the most effective study schedule is always personalized, you need to realize what activities will work best for you.

Visual learning style

Visual learners are those people who remember information best when they can see it. They take lots of notes, their decisions are made by writing lists because they need to see the situation as a whole. Their best learning materials are chalkboard, pictures, graphs, maps. They remember things by colors, contrast or spacial differences. Visual learners are usually organized, and thus they understand how to balance their life altogether.

As a visual learner your best methods are:

  • Drawing symbols or pictures
  • Incorporating white spaces in your notes
  • Seeing the overview of the lectures
  • Using flashcards, highlighters, to-do lists
  • Studying in longer time blocks

Auditory learning style

Auditory or aural learners need to hear the explanations, terms, texts in order to memorize and understand them. They usually find taking notes useless, so they rather pay attention to the lecture instead. These are those "know all the lyrics" guys in a group and they tend to have good speaking and acting skills, meaning they are highly sociable people.

Aural learning methods:

  • recording lessons and listening to them
  • Memorizing by speaking out loud
  • Asking questions
  • Avoiding auditory distractions
  • Watching videos

Cogito in the future will also focus on providing a personalized experience for aural learners. With the built-in, picture-search algorithm, and easy sorting, you'll easily find visual cues, flashcards, and highlights from the topics you're looking for.

Kinesthetic learning style

These students enjoy practical learning (building things, experiments, case studies). They remember things best when they actually completed them before. They are good at sports, and they have a hard time sitting in one place for a longer time.

Learning methods:

  • Using flashcards
  • Studying in short time blocks
  • Using examples
  • Studying with others

The built-in scheduling and the community-based approach of Cogito might be able to help you sort out your more hectic learning styles as well in the long run, so don't hesitate to check out our previous article about: how to structure your curriculum.

Reading/writing learning style

These are the people who enjoy reading in any shape or form. They rather read out loud texts in class, than listen to someone reading. They work best in silence or alone, and they take lots of notes. Their research is usually based on books, dictionaries, google searches and articles.

Learning methods:

  • Writing down the notes with your own words
  • Rewriting notes
  • Bullet point lists
  • Turning diagrams and charts into words

Setting up your goals

Before creating your study plan think about what do you want to accomplish with it. Are you taking a test? Do you need to finish a project? Do you want to become fluent in a certain language?

When it comes to studying strategy, you need multiple goals, depending on what do you want to achieve. First, you'll set up your long term ones. These will guide you through your entire process of development. You need to set up a long term goal in order to realize what your smaller objectives are, steps that will lead you to success.

A goal is smart if it's SMART! When setting up any goal, there are 5 characteristics to keep in mind.

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Attainable

R - Relevant

T - Timely

Applying all the 5 steps to every objective of yours is the best start for having results that can help you in future development.

Your target should be realistic and healthy. Always think about your work-life-health balance when setting up goals. Some of you may be working, living away from home during your studies, and being successful at the university while having other commitments, is possible with realistic planning. Always make time to take care of your mental and physical health, eat and sleep regularly because it may affect your performance.

Create your usual schedule, plan study time and build habits

When you start creating a study strategy, write down everything you have in mind, even the smallest details. This is how you'll realize how much time you actually have for studying. Setting your goals in a timely way in the previous step will be a huge help in creating the actual learning schedule. After planning your average week/month, start to plan your study sessions. Planning studying should also be detailed. Layout your small objectives that need to be achieved each day, the materials you need and even your breaks between sessions.

Being organized will surely help you stay motivated and focus on what is important. Another secret of successful people is that they build habits in their lives. Introducing routine in your life will reduce stress, anxiety and will free your mind while making easier for you to start your daily activities.

In order to keep track of your plan, activities, materials we recommend using learning apps. There are a lot of different apps created to suit different types of students. Besides the planning part of these apps, lots of apps have possibilities for personal information management, or even collaborative document management systems. These will be valuable when you have group assessments, or anytime you need help from your colleagues or even teachers.

Keep track of your process and analyze

The process of creating the best study schedule for yourself is often difficult. In time you'll come to know what's best for you, what's your learning style, how can you study more effectively. When you earned a major goal of yours, stop for a moment and analyze. What was better than expected, what was harder? What did take more time than calculated, and what was irrelevant to do? Always look at the results of your earned goals and try to use your successful and failed outcomes as lessons to become better.

Every study plan is different based on your personality and lifestyle. It is essential in the process of creating a learning strategy to be realistic and honest with yourself and to stick to your plan.

The team of Cogito is developing an all-collaborative community-based note sharing platform, where university students together can create reliable databases for their exams. By everyone sharing their amount of knowledge, the requirements can be cleared up and the frustration of getting the best, up-to-date materials is diminished. Follow our blog every week, and don't forget to like our Facebook page too.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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