Struggling to be consistent and organised? You're not alone, it is one of the most common student struggles! This step-by-step guide will explain how to create a study rhythm so you can beat your study goals!
We know how hard it can be to stay productive throughout the week. To help you stay focused, we’re gonna share with you an easy method to establish your own study rhythm in a couple of steps.
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A study rhythm is a regular study routine that you can get into the habit of following. It’s sort of like finding your steady-state while running or maintaining a healthy sleep pattern.
We recommend planning a weekly rhythm where you assign yourself a couple of tasks to do on each specific day of the week, and then rinse and repeat for the following weeks.
This way you will have some variation in your workdays, so your study rhythm won’t feel monotonous, but still is predictable enough for you to remember.
Basically, having a consistent rhythm will make studying feel easier and more natural over time. You will know exactly what you need to do and when you need to study.
Often, we find ourselves overwhelmed by a massive list of things to do without a clear idea of how we can work towards completion. A study rhythm will help prevent such tasks from piling up and give you an obvious goal and sense of direction for every day of the week.
I thought you’d never ask! We’ll show you to make your own, step-by-step.
How to create a weekly study rhythm, step-by-step:
Sounds too easy? Read on and give it a try.
Jot down all your regular weekly commitments apart from studying on your own. This way you will be able to easily see when and how much time you have to work with. Don’t feel pressured to quit extracurricular activities and hobbies in order to pursue academic success.
It’s important to stay in touch with the people around you and the things you love because this will ultimately boost your productivity and motivate you to engage in your study rhythm.
However, if you feel like you are being spread thin and find yourself dreading your social or extracurricular activities that you previously enjoyed, that probably means that you need to take a step back with some of your commitments.
At the end of the day, it’s about you feeling comfortable and confident with yourself!
Here’s how you can tabulate your weekly commitments: (Top tip: include travel time unless you can fly)
|Commitments||School: 9am – 3 pm
Cadets: 3pm – 5:30pm
|School: 9am – 3pm
Swimming: 4pm – 5:30pm
|School: 9am – 3pm||School: 9am – 3pm
Football: 4pm – 5pm
|School: 9am – 3pm
Family dinner: 5pm – 7pm
|Volunteering: 9am – 12pm
Matrix Maths: 4:40pm – 7:40pm
|Free time||All day!||6:30pm – 10pm||6pm – 10pm||4pm – 10pm||5:30pm – 10pm||8pm – 10pm||1pm – 4pm|
A good way to figure out how to prioritise your subjects would be to honestly reflect on how you feel about your understanding of each subject and your past assessment results.
You can find a more in-depth explanation about that, here.
Once you identify your subject strengths and weaknesses, consider your upcoming exams and assignment deadlines. So, if you have a Maths assignment due in two weeks, this would also be a priority.
From here, you can estimate how many days a week you will need to stay on top of each subject. Make your studying more purposeful and efficient by also identifying what actionable tasks you can do to prepare for your upcoming assessments.
Here’s an example of how you might organise your thought process:
|Subject||Confidence rating (1-5)||Upcoming assessment(s)||No. of days needed in a week||Actionable tasks|
|English Advanced||3||Module A timed essay
|Maths Extension 1||4||Fractal assignment
|Maths Extension 2||2||Proof exam
|Chemistry||4||Depth study report
|Future theory exams||1||
|Future theory exams||1||
Okay, now that you’ve identified what needs to be done and how long it will take, it’s just a matter of deciding when you will have the time to do it. If you don’t have many regular commitments, the amount of free time you have every day would be pretty similar all across, and in that case, you can look at other factors.
For instance, you might not want to do any more Maths study on that Thursday where you have 4 periods of Maths at school, or you might feel more creative for English after your Saturday morning run. Whatever works for you, works for us.
This is how Matrix student, Eric Papadopoulos, planned his weekly rhythm:
As the wise Mr Papadopoulos puts it:
Your weekly rhythm is your best friend. It will motivate you, it will never judge you, it will become part of your family!
You can learn more about Eric and his study hacks here.
You’ve set yourself up for productivity, so trust yourself to follow your weekly rhythm through.
Some days might feel harder than others, but remember that by even starting your weekly rhythm, you’ve already done yourself a huge favour the rest is onwards and upwards from here.
If you need advice on how to prioritise and manage your tasks on a day-to-day basis when extra schoolwork comes in, you might this article helpful.
It sounds simple enough, but it’s fair to say that most of us would jump at any opportunity to avoid revising that Maths topic that washed over you in class or writing that essay you have been dreading.
Like a trusty Matrix pen once quoted: “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.”
So, work on the things you don’t feel confident about and don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help. If you are a Matrix student, book a workshop or fill up the discussion board with your questions! Your teachers can’t sit your assessments for you, but they would love to help in any other way.
Life is too short to not spend it with your family and friends! A rule of thumb is to leave a half-day on the weekend for ‘me’ time and account for one or two social outings when planning your weekly rhythm.
So, it’s a friend’s birthday on Saturday and your study rhythm is telling you that you can’t go. It’s a pity that the barbeque wasn’t on Sunday because that would have slotted perfectly into your half-day off.
Here’s some reassurance: life changes and that’s okay. You won’t ruin the rhythm you’ve worked so hard to set up by going out on the wrong day. As long as you can make a realistic compromise, keep rolling and don’t hold back!
Ongoing reflection and honest conversations with yourself will help you establish a sustainable study routine. Resilience is something you will progressively develop over your lifetime, so consider this as just another test and learning experience.
Please be realistic and leave time for things like meals and showers. Especially showers. If you find yourself drifting off in the middle of class, that’s probably also a sign that you aren’t sleeping enough for your rhythm to be effective. Don’t burn yourself out and listen to your body!
If you find yourself avoiding your weekly rhythm by justifying yourself with a very unconvincing string of excuses, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Especially at the beginning, it may feel unnecessarily tedious to follow your weekly plan, however, be assured that with time, your study rhythm will become natural and offer a sense of consistency and stability when working towards your long term study goals.