Waiting until the last minute to cram for a test or to write an essay isn’t just going to make your life more stressful. It’s also less likely to produce the results you want.
Studies have shown that the most effective way to retain new material is with spaced repetition. This means engaging with the concepts consistently over a longer span of time.
If you want to cut down on the all-nighters, try these six easy tips to create a homework and studying schedule that actually works.
1. Review Your Homework in Advance
First, set some time aside at the beginning of your semester or school term to look over your assignments. Make sure you understand:
- What each one entails
- How much time each task will take
- Its due date
Then, check to see if you need any additional resources. For example, you may need a library book to complete an assignment. Nothing will throw off your schedule more than sitting down at your desk only to find out that you don’t have what you need to do the work. Reviewing your assignments before they’re due will help with efficiency once you start working.
2. Make Your Schedule as Specific as Possible
Once you have a list of everything you need to do, turn it into a daily or weekly schedule. Decide which tasks you want to do first and when. Then, you can write it in a planner or use an Excel template to create a printable homework chart.
Avoid generalized terms like “study Spanish for two hours.” Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to fill the time with the easiest task that falls into that category.
Instead, list specific items like, “write book report” or “study flash cards.” This way, you know exactly what you need to do and are less likely to put it off.
3. Find Your Preferred Study Routine
Sometimes you have to do homework when you’re tired or aren’t feeling well, but that doesn’t mean you should totally ignore what your body’s telling you.
According to the latest research, multiple 40-minute study sessions can be more productive than three-hour chunks. Experiment with studying at different times of day and for varying lengths of time.
Take notes about which sessions were productive and which ones weren’t to help you figure out your ideal study routine.
4. Download a Studying App
There’s no denying that phones can be distracting while studying. But if you use them wisely they can be a lot of help.
Use flashcard apps to create your own flashcards and gamify your study experience. These apps help you study in small bits throughout the day plus you won’t have to carry physical flashcards around with you.
There are other apps to help you learn a language, practice math, or take better notes. You can also use a homework scheduling app and color-code your assignments by subject.
5. Create a Productive Workspace
Using the same workspace every day can help you stick to your homework schedule. Avoid distracting places like the living room or kitchen, and try not to work on your bed or in front of the TV. Even small things, like making sure your laptop is charged or putting on your favorite study playlist, can make a big difference in your productivity.
Ideally, you should set aside a desk in a quiet room that’s comfortable enough to sit at for a few hours at a time. The more you use it for studying, the more you’ll associate it with productivity and be in the right headspace to get work done.
For some tips on how to get started, check out our guide on how to create the perfect homework environment.
6. Ask for Help if You Need it
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Even if you have a good grasp on the material, sometimes studying alone can be isolating.
From joining an online study group to hiring a professional tutor for your SATs, there are plenty of ways to get outside support. You can ask a friend or parent to check in on your progress or proofread your assignments before you submit them.
Whether you’re in middle school, high school, or college, homework never really goes away. But you can make it more manageable with these six helpful homework and studying schedule tips.