How To Create A Study Plan That Works

Posted on April 27, 2017 by DJ Kim

Have you tried and failed a study plan? Every year many students try to become more organised and effective with their studies by creating a rigid study plan.

Here is an example of what a typical study plan looks like.

school diary task list

The main reason why such a study plan doesn’t work is that it is too rigid and does not readily adapt to any changes to your circumstances. For example your mum comes home late and dinner is not ready until 1 hour after your usual time. So what should you do?

I have outlined 3 things that you should do to:

  1. be more organised
  2. be more effective with time management
  3. achieve academic results.


Step 1: Create a Daily To-Do-List using a journal

Creating a to-do-list helps you identify all outstanding school work and tasks.

Student Journal

However, it doesn’t help you prioritise your tasks and complete them in a timely manner.


Step 2: Manage your time more effectively with a Priority Matrix.

Once you have a to-do-list, you must prioritise by deciding which school tasks to do first as you probably won’t have the time to complete them all in a given day.
At Matrix, we encourage students to use the Priority Matrix shown below to define the importance and urgency of each school task.

Priority Matrix

1 = The task is important and urgent and therefore it must be completed now.

2 = The task is important but not urgent and therefore it must be scheduled to be completed soon.

3 = The task is not important but urgent and therefore it can be done later as it has little impact to your academic goals.

4 = The task is not important and not urgent and therefore it can be ignored till its importance and urgency changes. These are considered time wasting activity.

In summary, students should be spending most of their time completing tasks that fall into square (1) and (2).

However, it doesn’t help you address your specific learning needs as it is limited to completing school work only.


Step 3: Establish a Weekly Rhythm to get ahead.

Expecting different results by doing the same thing is illogical. Doing the same things the same way will produce the same results. Doing more of the same things will produce more of the same results.

Once you are on top of your school tasks, then you may want to consider undertaking additional tasks that will specifically address your knowledge or skill gap by introducing them as part of your weekly routine. You may need to receive input from your teacher to determine these actions.

Below are examples of weekly rhythms that I have helped to create.


Example 1: Year 11 student Weekly Rhythm

The additional actions in the weekly rhythm are designed to address the specific learning needs of each subject. Each action item takes approximately 1 hour and are scheduled on top of the school tasks. Note that this student has undertaken to study Mathematics daily in order to target her issue of balancing her speed and accuracy for exam success.


Example 2: Year 12 Student Weekly Rhythm

Note that this student is studying UMAT daily to improve her speed and accuracy in exam.

Y12 Student Weekly Rhythm


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