Self Study--Techniques, Pros and Cons

Self Study--Techniques, Pros and Cons

Part I - The Mental Preparation

Self-study is not as easy and enjoyable as it sounds.  Undoubtedly, it's a step towards your independence, it's a step towards responsibility as well.  If you aren't bound to a teacher or institution, you are bound to be your own teacher here.  You will be the one solely responsible if you fail.  There can be no 'our teacher didn't explain this' or 'my school doesn't hire good teachers' thing.  It's all upon your own shoulders.  Before starting, you need to mentally prepare yourself for what's coming ahead.  You can't simply just start and hope that it'll lead you somewhere.

Mental Preparation:   

Your Reasons

 Ask yourself the following questions:
Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve? Is it important for you? How much?
Is it because you need to study some extra stuff in addition to what you are being taught in class? Is it because you need to cover up your pending lessons?
Or you need to get into your dream university?
Or perhaps you have to win the scholarship to support your student finance.
Whatever is your purpose, you have made an excellent decision.  But what you need right now and in future to always remember your reason to do it.  If you feel like it, jot it down and stick to the wall in front of you to make you motivated every day.  Because you do must not forget to keep on reminding yourself everyday that why are you doing this? Why are you alone sitting on your study table while others out there are having fun?


Self-control is the most essential characteristic of your personality you’ll have to labor on while studying on your own.  You don’t have to let the urge to check your Facebook or Instagram every other second, win over you.  Deactivate your social media, or if it’s too much, just turn off your wifi while you are working.  Stay away from the things that attract you.  You can’t just hear the notification sound and check your phone to peep what’s going on.  You need to be focused in your life and goals.
The more you are into sacrificing for your dream, the more likely is your dream to become a reality.  Just focus on your goals and keep going!


Schedule your life

You don’t only have to schedule your study time but you have to schedule your whole routine. Scheduling your life gives you an overview of how you are spending your life currently, how you will be doing in the near future and how much you have achieved in the past with your prior routine.
Scheduling your life motivates you to have a purpose in your life!
Assign each task of your day a particular time and do everything at the right time. In this way, you can avoid your routine or your life from becoming a mess which most people end up after having some stressed-out time.

  •    Write down all your routine

 Only mental plan and schedule is not going to work. The level of motivation after making a written schedule is worth every other type of plan. Divide your day into separate parts for all the things you do each day. For best productivity, calculate how many hours of the day you are going to spend on each task. Then, blend your tasks together, for instance, one hour of studying then something else and then another hour of studying. This way, not only that you are not going to get fed up of doing one thing constantly, but also you will be looking forward to complete your task and start the next.

  •       Make long-term goals

First consider how many subjects you ought to study every day, or how many tasks you are supposed to complete within a particular period of time.  Then, according to the time period available to you, make a written plan.
You will have to make an overall rough schedule for your course so you know when do you finish your course, when do you start doing past papers, when do you start revisions etc. Next comes your weekly or monthly schedule. I'd recommend weekly, because this will be short and easy to follow and you can make changes for the next week to come. For weekly schedules, do like 3 chapters for biology, 3 chapters for physics, one chapter of revision for each etc.

  •  Schedule your daily study time

According to your routine, make a well-organized daily study schedule which you can easily follow without being stressed out.  Allocate each task of your day a time and do that task at that time no matter what! Make rules and never break them, e.g.: You can’t study Chemistry at the time of your Biology period. Write down your schedule and stick on the wall or door so that you deliberately or even accidentally look at it many times a day.

  •      Make daily goals

Make a planner of your study, write down the tasks you have to do on each single day. If possible do it the night before you complete the tasks. For instance, tonight you set your goals for tomorrow (for example, I'll study this whole chapter for biology, do past papers for this topic etc) The nightly schedule thing helps a lot, as throughout the night, your mind gets prepared and the next day you wake up, you know what you have to do throughout the day. Then assign time for each of your subjects. Like 45 minutes for Biology then a break of 15 minutes then 45 minutes for Chemistry and so on. I would say you stick to your time, because this happened with me, I would go on a break and then not come back for like 2 hours, then see that I have ruined my whole schedule. You can even use stopwatch to stick to the times assigned for each task. But if you lag behind in your daily schedule, you can cover it up the next day, so you don't lag behind in your weekly one.

  •    Add cover-up days in your schedule

Not every plan works. You won’t just be able to follow your timetables like a robot. There are going to be days when you will miss one subject for one reason or another. Or maybe you don’t understand a concept so it takes longer time to cover than expected. At such times, cover-up days come handy. Make one day off in all your weekly schedules, not so you can have fun on those days. You can have fun of course, if you have everything covered up already but at these days, you can just do all your due works without stressing about lagging behind in your timetables.

  • Select and arrange a study area
No don't think that you can grab your book and sit down anywhere in the home and you'll be able to study effectively and complete your task.  This may work at some occasions but now always.  To be punctual and regular, it is very much important that you select an area where you can sit comfortably, silently and peacefully without any disturbing noise.  Select an area and gather all your study materials there and arrange them conveniently and in order.  This is important to stay motivated for long time.

  •     Make your sitting position comfortable

Make your position very comfortable where your back is neither too much bending nor laying down wholly. Perfect position will make you sit for longer and only if you sit for a longer time, you’ll be able to complete your particular goals and be productive.

  • Stick your timetable on the wall or door 
There is no use of writing down your schedule and tucking the page inside some notebook. To force your mind to follow it, keep it at a place where your eyes will automatically catch its glimpse. This will remind you of the importance of your time repeatedly.

  •      Be punctual and regular

The very thought of studying at home or say self-studying is very comforting just because you will not be bound to any teacher or any instructor anymore.
But remember! You are up to a more difficult task. It is more difficult to keep control of yourself than when someone else bounds you to do so. Be regular like you are bound to be regular at the place of formal education.

  •         Do not start immediately

Emotional start-ups are not going to work here. Before starting your new routine, give yourself time to be prepared fully and ‘strongly’. Take 2-3 days to practice your routine and to check whether you can easily follow your plan or not.

  •       Check the validity of your planned schedule

 What I mean by this is that give yourself some days before actually starting your plan, to find out whether your plan is realistic or not. You may have made a schedule that is too stuffed up and you can hardly follow it any single day. This is not going to work! If you can’t follow your schedule, change it! And make a new one which is a bit relaxed and more productive.


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