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Building an Effective Study Schedule

When classes end and final exam season rolls around, the last thing you want to worry about is spending time getting organized. Create your study schedule now to set yourself up for success so that you can start studying early and stay on top of everything you need to do to prepare. Follow this step-by-step guide to help you curate a customized schedule.

Please note: Everyone's study schedule will look differently based on personal preferences and commitments, as well as the time of year. Create one that works best for you and your needs as a student!

If you'd like one-on-one support to help you create an effective study schedule, book an Exam Preparation appointment on

Steps for Building an Effective Study Schedule

Step 1: Start with the non-negotiables. 

To get started, block out the approximate time for each of your exams, including travel and de-compress time before and after. If you haven’t already, confirm your exam dates, start times, and locations on the Final Exam Schedule and consult your course outlines to determine the length of your exam. 

We recommend blocking off time in your calendar with the assumption that you will use your full exam time. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a break afterwards if you can, whether it’s to watch a quick episode before you get right back into studying or taking the rest of the night off. 

Next, don’t forget to block off time for any other scheduled commitments you may have. If you have shifts at work, extra-curricular activities that are still going on, or are headed home for a family gathering, make sure you block these times off in your schedule! 

Step 2: Add your study blocks. 

Now that you know your non-negotiables, it’s time to start blocking off time to actually study. It’s important to make sure you have enough time blocked off to adequately study for each of your exams. To do this, we recommend creating specific goals for each study session you create (i.e., what exam are you studying for and what material is your focus?). Make sure you include time to both study and review information.

The time that you spend studying for each exam will greatly depend on your knowledge on, and confidence in, the topics covered. Check out these must-know study tips to make the most of your study time. 

It’s important to create a schedule that incorporates retrieval practice (i.e., testing yourself without study aids and figuring out what you don’t know), interleaving (i.e., studying material in different orders than you learned them), and spaced practice (i.e., starting early and spreading out the study sessions spent on each course and topic).  

Another important consideration is whether you prefer longer study sessions with fewer longer breaks or shorter study sessions with more frequent quick breaks. This is a personal choice, so choose the breakdown that helps you feel most productive and focused!

Step 3: Include some “you” time. 

Once your schedule is packed with everything school-related, it’s time to add in some downtime. Take time to consider open spaces in your schedule where you can include time to go for a walk, stop by the grocery store, call home, catch up with a friend, etc. Sometimes it can even be helpful to schedule your meals, so you don’t forget to eat when things get busy.

Don’t forget to include: 

  • Morning routine time to prepare for the day and night-time routine to wrap-up your day and reflect on your progress. 
  • At least three breaks of your choosing. 
  • Meals and snacks (food is fuel!). 
  • Consistent times to wake up and go to bed each day. 

Remember: Once you've finished your full schedule, the white space in your calendar can be used for additional breaks or time to catch-up if some tasks take longer than anticipated. Don’t feel pressured to fill up every minute of your day! 

You can also fit in smaller breaks throughout your study sessions. We recommend using the Power Hour to help stay focused!

Daily Routines Inspiration

Getting into a consistent routine is important and can lead to higher levels of motivation. This is because humans are creatures of habit, and the more we do things at the same time every day, the more it becomes a habit! Check out some of these daily routines and try creating your own when making your study schedule.

Looking for Additional Support?

Visit the Student Success Portal to register for a Exam Preparation workshop or book an Exam Preparation appointment with a Learning Consultant or Peer Academic Coach.