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How to Make a Study Timetable During the Holidays


How to Make a Study Timetable During the Holidays header

It's a busy time of year. Holiday traditions bring along a slew of events, shopping trips and parties. There's no denying how much fun the season can be, but when you're trying to prepare for a big exam, the holidays are the ultimate distraction. Thankfully, there are strategies you can apply to your test preparation goals. A study timetable makes the perfect accompaniment to egg nog, wish lists and a roaring fire!

Create a Routine

You don't think twice about brushing your teeth each morning and night because your routine is locked and loaded. By creating a study routine, you won't agonize about the process of preparing for your certification exam. Try linking your new routine to another habit you already possess. For instance, if you know you'll have free time every morning of winter break, consider taking a practice test each morning with breakfast. It'll be easy to get into the habit if you're already used to sitting down at the table to eat each day!

Balance is the key to managing your goals, commitments and holiday cheer. By creating a holiday study plan, you can find the ratio of work and play that complements your lifestyle. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to a successful new year!

Step One: Set Up Your Timetable

To begin the process, make a detailed list of everything you hope to accomplish before the day of your big test. Go through your textbook, study guides, and any other notes that you hope to use in preparation. Outline everything you want to review - the more details you can list out, the more useful your study timetable will be.

While you're at it, make a list of the appointments, parties, and major holidays you'll be celebrating over the next few weeks. Consider, too, any classes, sporting events or shifts at work that might take up your free time. After all, the goal of creating a holiday study plan is to balance the things you must do with the things you want to do.

Once you have your head around your calendar and your studies, consider what time of day you learn best. Early birds may retain information better over their morning coffee, while night owls may prefer to save their test prep for the late evening. Don't stress too much about other commitments right now. Instead, simply work to understand the best path to success based on your own preferences.

Next, decide on a format for your study timetable. If you learn and plan best using pencil and paper, simply map out a schedule in a notebook or journal. If you're on the go a lot and prefer to access your plans virtually, consider using an electronic spreadsheet you can store in the cloud. Digital timetables can also be printed off and kept within your planner for easy access. Whatever you decide, make sure your grid includes rows for the day, date and time you plan to study.

Step Two: Fill in the Details

To begin, label the date of your big exam on your timetable. It helps to work backwards and give yourself a clear path to the finish line. While you're at it, grab your list of events, appointments and prior commitments. Fill in those times and dates on the timetable, too. Whether you're working on a weekly timetable or a larger, at-a-glance monthly spreadsheet, it helps to know when you're available to study.

Once you've got the non-negotiables filled in, start mapping out a plan for your test prep. Block out study periods in chunks of two to four hours. It takes at least that long to get into the zone and really dig deep into the material. Don't have that kind of time? Hour-long study sessions can be just as productive, but you'll need to schedule them more often. Be sure to factor breaks into your holiday study plan, too. A quick coffee run or walk around the library can do wonders for the mind!

As your fill in the details of your study timetable, try to be as specific as possible. Simply listing out when and where you plan to study isn't enough. Write down the chapters, concepts and resources you hope to cover during each study session. While it may seem overly detailed now, you'll be grateful for clear instructions when it comes time to hit the books.

Step Three: Putting Your Timetable to Work

Keep your study timetable handy throughout the holiday season. Post copies on your refrigerator, set study reminders on your phone, and generally treat your timetable as your guide through the next few weeks. Once you get into the routine of using it each day, it'll become second nature.

While it's good to plan your day around your timetable, remember that it is just a tool to help you accomplish your goals. Planning down to the exact minute can get stressful – should you need to reschedule a study session or end a little early, that's okay! Remember, this is a living document that can be revised, changed, edited and molded to your lifestyle. Nothing is set in stone, except perhaps your test date!

Finding Balance During the Holiday Season

With the right tools, resources and routine, you can have your fruitcake and eat it too! Making a holiday study plan is a great first step towards a successful season. As you roll up your sleeves for a productive few weeks, remember to take plenty of breaks and give yourself the chance to relax. Amidst the frenzy of the celebrating and studying, it's easy to feel overwhelmed! To ensure you're on the right track, try taking a practice test or two - it's the best way to determine how you'd perform if the test were tomorrow.

Exam Edge offers practice tests for a variety of certification exams. If you're looking for a new way to prepare for your upcoming exam, try a free sample practice test on for size. We know you'll love the easy-to-use interface, timed and untimed options, and the ability to practice on the go!