Tutoring and Testing: Creating a study plan and sticking to it

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Jessica is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at NSU. She works as an academic success coach at the Tutoring and Testing Center.

One of the things that I have noticed during my time as an Academic Success Coach within the Tutoring and Testing Center is that a lot of students who are learning how to study adaptively in higher education say something along the lines of “I wish that I had a mandatory study hall,” or “I know what I need to do to get good grades, I’m just too lazy to actually do it.”

A lot of students find themselves creating all sorts of goals and plans for studying, but end up “unable” to follow through for a variety of reasons, the main reason being that they feel they have no one to whom they need to be accountable. However, we are accountable to ourselves, because we are the ones trying to graduate. I have noticed that students who tend to follow through on their study plans successfully typically have the following skills and attributes. So, if you are one of the students who finds yourself in this situation, consider implementing them in your own study plan.

Establish a routine

Dedicate a specific time of the week that you have designated for studying. For example, on Wednesdays from 3 – 6 p.m., you might decide to utilize a study room in the library and finish all of your homework for the week. And then actually do it. The most successful students are the ones who don’t waver from the plans they set for themselves. They make it part of their schedule, and they don’t let anything outside of emergencies interfere with that time.

Enlist back-up

Students who have a hard time motivating themselves to stick to their goals often find success if they have a friend, family member, sports coach, professor, etc. there to back them up. I have personally seen success in students who want someone to call them out for skipping their study time, for hanging out with friends instead of doing their assignment or for generally not following through on their own goals. A back-up should be someone you trust to know your goals, but also someone who can delicately, yet effectively, remind the you of the goals you have yet to meet.

Explore your resources

This is such a huge factor in successfully sticking to your study plans/goals. Students who know what they want, and know how to make it happen, are typically more successful in academia. In that way, you might not know exactly what the final destination is, but as long as you can find the motivation within yourself, you can, at the very least, figure out who to talk to that can give you a starting point to answering any pending questions. Depending on the issue that you’re running into, NSU has resources to help like the Office of Career Development or academic advising.

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