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2.1 Organising your study time

One of the most difficult aspects of being a student is fitting in your studying with everything else in your life. Finding enough time can be a challenge – it often means giving up activities you currently enjoy or perhaps negotiating with your family and friends to pass on some of the daily chores to allow you some time to yourself.

It’s worth having a think about where you study best too. Many distance-learning students find it useful to identify a corner somewhere as a regular study area.

Where and when do you study best?
Figure 3 Where and when do you study best?

Activity 1 Reflecting on and planning your study time

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes for this activity.

Think about your experience of studying the first week of this course. Did it take you as long as you had planned? Are there things you would do differently?

Decide how you are going to make use of the time you have available to study the rest of the course. Write your plan in your learning journal. Don’t worry, you can change it later – the important thing is to start with a plan.


Are you studying at a regular time each day? Or maybe in one go at the weekend? Most of us work better at certain times of day, so have a think about whether you have chosen the best times for you.

If you study a longer course, this will be especially important. So maybe try different patterns to see what is the most effective, and fits reasonably comfortably with the rest of your life.

Effective use of your time underpins all your work in this, and any other, course. Your note taking may be fantastic, but you have to have the time to do it. If you have developed good time-management skills in other areas of your life, you will probably be able to transfer them to studying, as one student, Shehnaz, stated:

Well, when I was a child-minder, I used to have to work with the children – I had to plan my own activities with them. Now that’s come into my work as well and, because I had to plan activities for the children with a time limit, that’s helped me in my courses, setting aside time to actually complete my assignments.

As Shehnaz discovered, ‘being organised’ is what is known as a transferable skill – that is, one that can be used in a wide range of situations. You are going to come across quite a few of these on this course, so look out for them.