Planning your studies

Have you lost track and perspective?

  • How do I handle the pressure when I am so busy?
  • What are my chances of success?
  • How do I create my own sense of meaning?
  • What is the most efficient way for me to study?

Making time for your studies as well as your personal life places great demands on your planning skills. Good study habits give you competences and help you create an overview, which give you more energy for your studies and your spare time.

On this website, we give you tools, videos and exercises which might inspire you. Take a look. The important thing is that you try different things in order to find the best way for you to study.

"You have to plan your preparation wisely with the object of preserving your own curiosity. Preserving your curiosity means focusing on your own understanding and contemplation instead of focusing on what your professor expects from you",  Mette Vinther Skriver, Head of Studies at Public Health Science.

Make a weekly plan

You can add more structure to your day by making a weekly plan for your semester. The weekly plan should include your lectures, seminars, study group meetings, homework etc. You may also want to add other fixed engagements or routines.

Your plan may be very flexible or have a very fixed structure, depending on what works best for you. You may have to experiment with different ways of planning your day until you find out what works best for you.

You may choose to see your studies as a job and let it take up what corresponds to a working week of approx. 40 hours. You will probably need to put in “overtime” just before assignment deadlines and during exam periods.

You can download a weekly schedule (What is the best way for me to plan my time?) here. For a more long-term overview, you can download calendars of varying lengths at kalendersiden.dk

Get inspiration for structure and planning from other students in the video "study tips for new students". The video is made at Science and Technology, but it can be applied to all degree programmes. The video demonstrates how to use electronic calendars.  

Learn more about weekly plans at the Study Metro: Plan your week

 

 

Prioritisation of tasks

When planning your week and your semester, it’s important to be able to distinguish between what is important and what is less important. It is difficult and requires practice. You can use this guideline to get started:

1.   Create a complete overview of your upcoming tasks in a document.

2.   Divide the tasks into smaller and more manageable blocks: Studies, personal, work... 

3.   Prioritise the tasks so that the less important tasks are separated from the most important tasks. You may want to divide the document into two columns: “today” and “soon”. 

See an example here: 

TodaySoon

Studies:

  • Proofread analysis section
  • Draft front page
  • Read material for course on Wednesday
  • Pick up book from the library  
 

Studies:

  • Submit assignment on 30 March
  • Skim the recommended book
  • Prepare presentation for the study group next week  
 
Personal:
  • Katrine’s birthday at 18:00

 

Personal:

  • Paint the kitchen
  • Buy gift for mum’s birthday  
 

Inspired by: "Studiehåndbogen" by Peter Stray Jørgensen and Lotte Rienecker, 2012

What is the best way for you to learn?

It may be a good idea to reflect on your competences; to put into words what you’re learning and, especially, how you learn. You may want to use a “competence log” where you write down your academic achievements after each semester. The log may help you to clarify your preferred way of working and acquiring new knowledge. This knowledge is good to have, not just during your studies, but on the job market as well.

Click your way through the reflection questions below. Save your answers and revisit them when you start your next semester.

I. Put your competences into words:

  • What knowledge and which tools did you acquire?
  • What are you able to do with your knowledge?
  • Which insights did you gain in relation to your values, i.e. what makes sense and is important to you?

II. Explain your preferred working methods, e.g.:

  • What is your role typically in a group context: Are you the initiator; innovator; the one who controls the process and makes schedules etc.; the one in charge of text production; the one who maintains the social relations?
  • Do you work best when you have plenty of time to do your assignments, or just before the deadline?
  • Do you work best with set assignments and fixed boundaries, or do you prefer that the assignment is loosely defined?
  • Which do you prefer: written or oral exams? Why?
  • Do you prefer to work with others or by yourself?
  • Are you creative and full of ideas?
  • Are you better at asking questions or at finding answers? 

III. Describe your motivation and learning style:

  • What motivated you? What was particularly interesting?
  • What would you like to continue working on?
  • What were you good at?
  • What would you like to become better at?

Source: "Studiehåndbogen" by Peter Stray Jørgensen and Lotte Rienecker, 2012 

 

 

Do you do to much or to little?

Roughly speaking, students tend to be either over-involved or under-involved. Which one are you?

     

OVER-INVOLVEDUNDER-INVOLVED 
  • The degree programme’s requirements take precedence – life is structured according to studies 
  • Everything else takes precedence – studies are structured according to life    
  • Focuses on reading everything and attending all classes       
  • Controlled by interest, studies selectively
  • Broad insight, enjoys spending time with the books
  • Time for other interests, good at prioritising
  • Always mentally carrying books, demands the impossible of themselves 
  • Poorly prepared for exams and classes.

    Risk of “vicious spiral”: the less involved you are, the less relevant it becomes 

Good advice:

Good advice:  
  • Stay committed by prioritising your homework and taking time off 
  • Attend classes; you won’t have to read as much, and it strengthens social interaction 
  • Be realistic 
  • Find a study group 
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