1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Studying too much or too little?

  1. Jan 1, 2016 #1
    I'm trying to implement a study plan for the upcoming school term. Currently I have study time, for three classes (totaling 12 credit hrs), slotted from Tuesday through Friday for three hours of studying each day. Alternating between classes each day (i.e. on Tuesday this class and on Wednesday another class). With Friday being an exception, because of my class schedule. Where I study for each class in three hour periods, with one to two hour gaps in-between. Currently leaving Mondays and weekends study free.

    Understanding material isn't something I have problems with. I have test anxiety, which makes my test scores very inconsistent. I'm generally confident going into the tests, but once the anxiety kicks in I'll start second guessing just about every answers. I'm currently debating whether or not to add physics as a second major or leaving it as one of my minors. If I do decide to major in physics then I'd want to progress on to a Masters and possible a PhD.

    Does anyone have any tips to help better manage this? Am I overcompensating with my current study plan or should I add something on one of the free days?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Based on what you've said, it sounds perhaps like you need to dedicate some time to dealing more specifically with test taking skills.
  4. Jan 2, 2016 #3


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    How much time you're studying is less important than how you're studying. What does studying involve for you?
  5. Jan 2, 2016 #4
    It depends on the class, but generally I go over my notes, old exams, and read through the textbook (if the course uses one) in classes that relate to science. Classes related to math I pull problems from old quizzes and exams, as well as class problems and the textbook. Generally for these classes what you learn at the beginning will link with others throughout the course. So I make sure my understanding of the basics stays in a relatively good spot. For humanities and fine arts I basically sponge my notes and the textbook, I try not to pull as much from old exams because what's learned in the beginning of these is usually left behind. Plus I usually don't have problems picking it back up when I need it.
  6. Jan 2, 2016 #5


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    As for your science/math classes, the majority of your study time should be spent solving problem sets. It sounds a lot like you're re-reading old material and notes, at least in the science classes. Read the relevant text section one time, then work through the problem sets. After which, you can go back and give the section a careful re-reading. Any excess time you have should then be redirected back at the problem sets.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  7. Jan 2, 2016 #6
    You build a much better understanding from problem sets than reading and taking notes. A method that I've found to be efficient is to answer as many problems as I can, and then in my own words write out my notes on the subject. Focus on tricky or difficult problems if you can, rather than doing a large number of easy ones.
  8. Jan 2, 2016 #7
    Thanks for the tips. My previous method (the one before what I explained) was beginning to seem like it wasn't going to be enough moving forward. It wasn't as concrete and pretty unorganized in terms of what course I studied for. I'll definitely implement what has been said into my new plan and work on my test taking skills in the process.
  9. Jan 17, 2016 #8
    So what was your final study plan zAbso, I'm planning on doing a double major in CS and Physics too so I'm very interested on how you are balancing everything!
  10. Jan 18, 2016 #9
    What's posted in the OP is what I'm currently going with for now. I'm working on implementing the tips I've received, but I'm sure I'll figure something out along the way. I still haven't been able to put the plan to use since we've been on break. Are you currently in high school or enrolled at a university/college?
  11. Jan 18, 2016 #10
    I'm in my senior year of high school. I don't really have a set study plan but I was thinking I would need one when I go to college.
  12. Jan 18, 2016 #11
    It's always good to have one. I'm a sophomore, I was able to make it through my freshman year without a good plan but as things progressed I noticed how scattered I was. CS and Physics is a lot of trial and error, depending on your background, while you learn and figure things out so don't be afraid to fail or get something wrong.
  13. Jan 18, 2016 #12
    How is the course load? Will you have to do an extra year or anything like that? I was looking at the recommended course schedules for both Physics and CS for the college I'm going to but I couldn't figure out if it was manageble :(
  14. Jan 18, 2016 #13
    Currently for CS, lecture is three days a week, there is a chapters worth of work to do in the span of about two weeks (which is pretty light). On top of that we have two programs to code each week. Also a mandatory weekly lab outside of class. Math courses are generally four days a week with no mandatory course work. Professors will assign problems from the section that they recommend you do, but it's up to you to do them for personal growth. As for physics, which is also three days a week, most of the people I've spoken with say it's a lot of self study. I'm sure it's like math courses, meaning you'll be doing the assigned problems for personal benefit.

    Exams in CS are a mix of terms, finding the error(s) in a string of code, and hand writing code to preform the task asked in the question. In my Cal 1 class we had a quiz every Thursday and six exams (not including the final). Most of the questions came from the recommended section work.

    It's not all to bad as long as you can manage your time and don't let yourself fall behind. Other classes that you'll be taking can sometimes feel like they're getting in the way of classes you need/want to put more work and effort into, but don't neglect them. Just move somethings around or make a study period longer or shorter to fit in whatever else you need. Make sure you take advantage of your professors office hours as well as tutoring that's offered if you need help or just need to review.

    I will have to do an extra year because of the time that certain courses are offered. I don't really mind because it gives me some time to take a few extra CS and physics courses.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook