1. Plan a balanced schedule including fixed and flexible time requirements for all your activities.
First, write in obligated times such as those for classes, work, or practice; remember to give yourself time off for relaxation (Friday/Saturday evenings). Then, pencil in flexible time requirements for sleep, personal affairs, and recreation. Finally, fill in the hours you intend to commit to study.
2. Plan at least two hours of study time for each hour you spend in class.
This means if you are taking 15 credits, you will need a minimum of 30 study hours to keep up in all of your courses, with some overtime needed for extra-demanding projects.
3. Study your most difficult (or boring) subjects first.
Most of us tend to put off what we dislike, yet the courses we find most difficult often require the most intellectual energy. Save the work you enjoy more for later as a reward for doing the hard stuff first.
4. Schedule study time in two-hour blocks.
Study marathons are counterproductive. Three 2-hour sessions are more effective than one 6-hour session. Take a planned break every hour, switch subjects when you sense your concentration decreasing, and avoid studying similar subjects back to back.
5. Be aware of your best time of day.
Research has shown that humans are generally more alert and effective when the sun is up. If this is true for you, schedule study time for your most difficult subjects during daylight hours.
6. Commit yourself to specific times for studying specific subjects.
Avoid generalizations; your study schedule should be like your class schedule -- know when you will study chemistry, study history, etc. This routine saves time and mental energy by helping you get down to business more quickly.
7. Use a regular study area.
Your body knows where you are, and when you use the same place to study day after day, your body becomes trained. When you sit down at that particular place, you will be automatically anticipating study.
8. Trade time -- don't steal it!
When unexpected events arise that take up time, decide immediately where you can make up the study time missed. Saturday and Sunday offer "buffer times" you can use for extra-demanding study projects.
9. Use "wait time."
Time between classes is often wasted. Use it to review notes from the class you just left and to do a preview for the one that is upcoming.
10. Plan a time for brief weekly review of what happened in all your coursework that week.
This cumulative review will pay off when you must prepare for exams.