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TOEFL Tip #108: Scheduling Your Self-Study Time

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on July 1, 2011

We recently wrote about the importance of good study skills for success on the TOEFL exam. In that article, we explained that the self-discipline and focus that you bring to your self-study and homework will prepare you for test day, when you cannot spend 10 minutes searching for a pen that works, and another 5 minutes getting a snack, and so on. Good study habits train your mind to be ready to work at the appropriate time, without a long warm-up period.

The key to effective self-study is making a plan and following it. Whether you write the times on a printed calendar that you keep on your desk or in your backpack, or you use an online tool such as Google Calendar, you need to block out times just for TOEFL study. Think of these study times as commitments that are just as important as work or a Strictly English tutoring session.

We are all used to having classes, tutoring appointments, work meetings, and so on, in our calendars. However, students often forget to schedule homework time, thinking, “I’ll do it tonight,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Too many students have the best intentions to study, and really want to do well on the TOEFL exam. But even Strictly English’s most dedicated students often come to their tutoring sessions saying they’ve not had time to finish (or even start!) their homework. Unfortunately, it is too easy for other things get in the way of studying – students are too tired at the end of the day, or make plans with friends or family that take longer than expected. We go to bed without studying for the TOEFL that day, perhaps for several days in a row.

The answer to this time crunch is to schedule 30 minutes a day into your calendar. If you get invited to do something during that already-scheduled study time, you have two options – either say no, you can’t because you need to study for TOEFL at that time of day, or say yes only if you can immediately move that study time to another 30 minute block in your calendar on the same day. Studying every day for 30 minutes is better than studying once a week for 3 hours.

Scheduling your study sessions not only sets aside the time you need, but also trains your mind to remember that TOEFL studying is a commitment, and only through such a commitment will you be able to get the score you need.


Categories: TOEFL Preparation

1 comment so far. Leave a comment.

  1. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » What Study Time is

    wrote on July 19, 2011 at 6:20 am

    [...] posts (here and here), we have focused on having strong study skills as a foundation for success on the TOEFL exam. [...]

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