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The Five Day Plan

Many students approach studying without a plan and are frustrated by the poor results on their tests and projects. Choosing an effective study plan will help you remember what you learned in class so you can be prepared for the test and also remember the content beyond the test. The example given here is for a class of high difficulty, so you would shorten the amount of time spent if your class is easier or lengthen it if the class is harder.

Start Early

More than any other technique, the key to performing well on exams is starting early and using short, frequent study sessions. The human brain learns academic material faster and better on an exam if done in brief blocks of time spread out over longer periods of time, rather than in a few lengthy sessions. For example, you will perform better on an exam if you spend one hour studying each day for 20 days than if you spend 10 hours studying each day for two days before an exam.

On Cramming

Don’t cram. But if you have to cram, try to focus on remembering the information you do know rather than trying to teach yourself new information. You will typically not remember what you tried to learn the night before the exam, anyway, so it is best to make sure you really know some part of the information for the test. If you do have a few days, try to spread the studying out so you are not doing it all in one night.

Plan Ahead

If you plan ahead, many students have found the Five Day Plan gets good results. Here are some keys to the Five Day Plan:

  1. Spread out your learning over a period of 5 days;
  2. Prepare a new chapter or piece of information each day, then review previous material;
  3. Divide material so you can work on it in pieces;
  4. Use active learning strategies (such as mind-mapping or window paning) to study the material; and
  5. Use self-testing techniques to monitor your learning.

Eight to ten hours of studying may be required to get an A or a B on a test. This is just a general guideline. You may need to study more or less depending on the difficulty of the class.

How to Make a Five Day Plan

Break the material into smaller parts. If it can be divided by chapter, use that. If not, make up your own chunks based on the structure of the material. Plan to spend about two hours studying on each of the five days. Work on the material in two ways: prepare and review.

Sample Five Day Plan

Tuesday

  1. Prepare Chapter 5, Section I for 2 hours

Wednesday

  1. Prepare Chapter 5, Section II for 2 hours
  2. Review Chapter 5, Section I for 30 minutes

Thursday

  1. Prepare Chapter 5, Section III for 1.5 hours
  2. Review Chapter 5, Section II for 30 minutes
  3. Review Chapter 5, Section I for 15 minutes

Friday

  1. Prepare Chapter 5, Section IV for 1 hour
  2. Review Chapter 5, Section III for 30 minutes
  3. Review Chapter 5, Section II for 15 minutes
  4. Review Chapter 5, Section I for 10 minutes

Sunday

  1. Review Chapter 5, Section IV for 30 minutes
  2. Review Chapter 5, Section III for 20 minutes
  3. Review Chapter 5, Section II for 10 minutes
  4. Review Chapter 5, Section I for 10 minutes
  5. Self-test for 1 hour

Sample Daily Plan

Friday

Prepare Chapter 5, Section IV (1 hour)
  1. Review notes from reading and reread highlighted sections
  2. Make cards for cash dividends and dividend dates
  3. Make study cards for reasons for issuing stock dividends
  4. Make a definition sheet
  5. Do all the examples and problems assigned
  6. Fill in study guide
Review Chapter 5, Section III (30 minutes)
  1. Go over cards for corporation lists
  2. Self-quiz on definitions
  3. Review all examples and problems assigned
  4. Review study guide
Review Chapter 5, Section II (15 minutes)
  1. Self-quiz on definitions
  2. Answer section review questions from memory
  3. Review study guide
Review Chapter 5, Section I (10 minutes)
  1. Self-quiz on definitions
  2. Review study guide

Examples of Preparation and Review Strategies

Preparation Strategies Review Strategies
Develop study sheets Recite study sheets
Develop concept maps Replicate concept maps
Make word cards Recite word cards
Make question cards Recite question cards
Make formula cards Practice writing formulas
Make problem cards Work problems
Make self-tests Take self-tests
Do study guides Practice study guide info out loud
Re-mark text material Take notes on re-marked text
Make a list of 20 topics that would be on the exam; define the list of 20Recite list of 20
Do problem Do “missed” problems
Outline Recite main points from outline
Summarize material Recite notes from recall cues; recite out loud
Chart related material Re-create chart from memory
List steps in the process Recite steps from memory

Adapted from: Cornell University Center of Learning and Teaching’s The Five Day Study Plan by John Olinda on October 10, 2015

five_day_study_plan.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/30 14:13 by john