Studying and Time Management

At Rice, you have unlimited potential to achieve academic success. Learning and implementing strategic study skills will help you effectively act on that potential, by managing your time and study habits on a consistent basis. Figure out what works for you, and stick to it. Consider some of the following tips as you make your study plan: 

Time Management Tips

  • Prioritize – decide what’s important for you to get done, and how soon. Break up things that aren’t as urgent into smaller chunks of time, and stretch them out, so that you don’t find yourself frantically cramming to get the entire project done in one night.
  • Learn to say “no” to things – it’s tempting, and so easy, to agree to help out and do everything everyone asks you – especially if you genuinely want to! However, this is oftentimes detrimental to your ability to prepare adequately for your academics, as well as take care of yourself. If you’re afraid that committing to one more activity may jeopardize your academics or overcommit you, be honest. Tell the person you would really love to help out, but you’re afraid that you don’t have the time. If there’s someone else you could recommend for the role, suggest that person.
  • Use a calendar to make a plan – and post it in a very visible place 
  • Break things up into manageable chunks 
  • Don’t cram – though cramming may seem like the stereotypical academic experience at college, it’s not necessarily effective or even healthy.
  • Get enough sleep – studies consistently show that getting eight hours of sleep is crucial to performing optimally. Reduce or eliminate sources of stimulation before you go to sleep, such as caffeine, exercise, and being on your computer. 
  • Take effective notes  

Study Tips

  • Prioritize – Decide what assignments or projects are most important to have completed now, and which can be completed at a later date. Of the most important assignments, prioritize based on urgency as well as time it will take you to complete it.
  • Set your own deadlines – make your assignments and projects “due” before the actual deadline, and strive to get them done by then. That way you have a little more time to revise and finish them if you do run late.
  • Make a calendar – that outlines your study plan for the week or month, and put it in a prominent place in your room, where you can glance at it often
  • Break assignments and projects up into manageable chunks 
  • Make it your own – interpret and re-imagine what you’re learning into a format that you easily understand, whether that means making it more visual (flow charts, color coding, etc), or kinesthetic, or saying it in your own way – without changing its core meaning.
  • Try to teach it to someone else – try to explain an important concept to someone else, or even yourself.
  • Review the material – including reviewing the returned assignments and making review materials for yourself if that would better engage you in a productive, active review process make
  • Engage with the material – synthesize your understanding of the material by interacting with it. There are many ways to meaningfully engage with the material, whether through discussion, diagramming, or marking up your assignments. Check out the works cited or research online to find out more about any particular strand of the topic that you’re interested in. Think of ways that the material is applicable outside of class.
  • Recognize patterns and find relationships. 
  • Go to the TA sessions – the TAs are there to help, and they’ll probably have review sessions outside of class. Don’t be afraid to attend and ask questions, that’s what they’re there for.
  • Review the honor code in the class’s syllabus – this is essential not only to make sure you’re within the guidelines of the professor’s expectations, but to make sure you’re not neglecting the use of any resources either. If you’re unsure about whether or not something violates the honor code, check with the professor before you do it.