Most people say you need 100 hours of studying per hour of exam. So that means 300 hours of studying for P and FM. Crazy eh? (Check out why I actually plan out 400 hours for students I coach in my Study Strategy Program)
I’m sure that fitting in 300+ hours of study time isn’t a simple task. I mean, you do have other things to do, right? For me, not fitting in enough study time was the main contributor to my many failed exam attempts. Wish I could have had someone like myself to tell myself this stuff way back then!
Anyway, although it may seem like fitting 300+ hours into your study schedule is next to impossible, I assure you it isn’t. There are many things that you are likely doing every day and/or week that you could cut out of your life for 12 weeks or start multi-tasking! Here are just 10 of them. Let me know in the comments if you have any others to add!
#1: Sleep Time
Are you one of those people that gets 7+ hours of sleep per night? If so, this is a great opportunity for you to fit in some extra study time because you truly will probably function just as well on .5 to 1 hour less than you usually get right now, at least for 12 weeks while you’re preparing for an exam. Most people find that they are most efficient and think most clearly in the morning and if you are one of those people, get up a bit early to fit in some extra study time. If you’re a night owl (like I am), stay up a bit later than usual at night to get it in. (Personally, I’d prefer to study from 11pm – 2am everyday if I could – that’s when I’m most productive).
#2: On the Bus
Many students taking preliminary exams (at least the first couple) are still in school so you may get to school and back home again by bus. This is a great time to study. You’ve got nothing else to do and it tends to not be very exciting, so why not fit in some study time. Just 20 minutes there and back adds a whole 40 minutes of studying to your day! That’s efficiency.
#3: Work Break/Class Break
Whether you’re working or still in school, you likely get some break time while you’re there. Take advantage of this time where you don’t have anything else important to do. An electronic manual or seminars can be downloaded to your phone to read while on break or you could print off some practice study questions to do while you’re waiting (make sure to bring a calculator too).
#4: Making Meals
If you’re like me, you spend 30-40 minutes per day making meals. Well that’s perfectly good time where you could be studying! There are lots of websites dedicated to meal prepping these days. They’ll show you easy meals you can prepare in 2 hours on Sunday, for example, and then have them easily accessible throughout the week so that you don’t need to worry about making new meals each day. Typically meal prepping sites are aimed at people in the health and fitness industry but preparing your meals ahead of time can be a great time saver too.
#5: Waiting for Appointments
Have you ever had to wait 20+ minutes in a waiting room just to be asked to step into the next waiting room for another 20+ minutes? If not, you’re lucky because everywhere I go, that seems to be what happens (grrrr vet). Anyway, this is a great time to study. Quiet environment with few distractions and nothing else to do. Go ahead – bring your electronic manual or seminar on your phone and listen/read away!
#6: Video games/TV/Facebook/YouTube
All of these are huge time wasters. Often, we don’t even realize how much time we’re actually spending on these things. I can watch an hour or more of YouTube videos and not even realize the time has gone by. Cut these distractions out of your life for 12 weeks while your studying. You’ll be glad you did because passing your exam will feel so much better!
#7: Got kids?
I know some of you are writing exams while having young kids in the house. I must say, I’ve never done this but I imagine it would make studying 20 THOUSAND times harder than it is without kids. If your budget allows you, get a sitter for 2 to 3 hours for one or two nights a week so that you can get in some solid study time. Better yet, have the sitter get your kids ready and into bed for the night so when you come home you’ll have some more quiet time to study. Or, I’m sure an understanding spouse would gladly agree to let you leave for a few hours to get some studying in.
#8: Driving/Walking/Riding Bike
As a student or someone working, I’m sure you spend a lot of time walking, driving or riding your bike. This is the perfect time to learn! Either download MP3 videos from your online seminar (TIA) or make audio recording yourself that you can listen to while on the go. Time consuming? Yes. But it will also help you learn the material better.
That’s all I could come up with. Do you have any others? Let me know in the comments below!