Time Management Study Skills & Time Management

Time Management

Although there are a number of successful ways students can manage their time we would like to share at least one way of approaching things:

First, we are strongly oppose late night marathon study sessions (cramming) on a routine basis. We believe for most it is much more effective to split up the day whenever possible into two (2 - 2 1/2 hr.) sessions, ideally one during the day between classes when possible and the other after dinner in the evening. This will vary from day to day, sometimes needing more or less time but in general it works pretty well with minor adjustments. Sometimes it is difficult to get a 2 - 2 1/2 hour block during the daytime because of classes but with some fine tuning and adjustments it will usually work out.

Something students should avoid is going to class all day, participating in an extracurricular activity, going to dinner, hanging out with friends until about 10 pm and then sitting down to do homework for four hours, at a time when there are usually few help sources available. For most people this will cause burnout and there really is no time to relax before going to sleep each evening. There is also plenty of time to do work on the weekends; we have found that late Saturday and Sunday mornings seem to be a good time for homework as well as Sunday nights.

Secondly, it is important to find a place that's conducive for you to study. The important word there is you. Some people might need total silence when they study; while others prefer music playing for example. Some people feel their room is the best place while others think the Library or the Student Union is where they get their best studying done. The bottom line is to find out what works for you and follow it. Do not worry about how other students do their studying. We have provided a list of study tips that may help you.

Top Ten Study Tips

Thirdly, it is important to develop a chronological list of what is due and when it is due for all classes combined either on a piece of paper, in a daily planner, or electronically. People often have a tendency to write down assignments on the back of envelopes or little scraps of paper without any order. If all assignments are written in one place in chronological order, students get to see their overall assignment picture and they always know what is due next. Why is this important? If you always know what is due next and you do assignments chronologically you will not fall behind in your work and you will have a clear picture at all times of where you stand vis-à-vis your assignments. We wish we could tell you that you can always add things on the bottom of your list but the fact of the matter is sometimes you'll get assignments that don't fall to the bottom of the list chronologically and you have to make adjustments and fit them in their appropriate place on the schedule. This is not always easy but eventually, if you are organized, you make these sometimes difficult adjustments.

The following chart gives you a good understanding of how much time you need to plan for school each semester. The general rule of thumb is that for every credit hour you take, you need to plan to spend two hours of studying outside of class time.


Credit Hours Taken

Hours Spent in Class

Hours Spent Studying

Hours Spent for School

















SOURCE: Pima Community College

Again, there are any number of variations regarding how students manage their time. The aforementioned is one that we know has worked here at Rensselaer for many of our students. Other help services or individuals might give you other ideas but the important thing is to develop a routine that works for you and to stick with it. Just as an athlete has a game plan in preparation for the game, so should a student have a game plan to approach his/her studies. If we can help anyone work out a plan that works for them or if you would like additional detail about the information we have provided please contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

"develop a routine that works for you and stick with it"

When planning out your weekly time requirements, it's a good idea to include all of your time commitments, such as for sleeping, athletic practices, working, and eating. Start off with 168 hours in a week and deduct the total time required for each commitment. This will give you a general idea of how much time is left for for everything else (hanging out with friends, watching television, partying). An example is shown at the right.


168 hours

total time in one week

-48 hours

16 credit hours (classes and studying)


120 hours


-56 hours

sleep (8 hours per night)


64 hours


-10.5 hours

eating (1/2 hour per meal)


53.5 hours


-12 hours

athletic practice (2 hours per day)


41.5 hours

remain for other activities

SOURCE: Pima Community College

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