Pathway 1: I’d like some strategies for studying while working

Use small blocks of time productively

Through using smaller blocks of time you can cover material in chunks (more on the next page) and not have to worry about the larger whole. A mistake that many people make is that they try to cram information into their minds in one large session. This isn’t a successful strategy for most students.

Look for smaller blocks of time to study. If you are a public transit user, you can likely spend 20 minutes on your bus ride to read or review for your upcoming class or exam. You could even listen to an audio recording of your notes. In the evening, instead of watching three episodes of your favourite TV show, you could watch one and spend the remaining time preparing for your studies. Going out to eat often? Consider making something simple at home that you could put in the oven to cook without needing tending to; that time could be used doing some work for class and still leave you time for other activities once dinner is done.

Making time for your studies can be overwhelming. The following video introduces you to ways to use smaller blocks of time to get your tasks done, while not using up numerous hours at once.

Click on the video to learn more as you continue down this pathway. Answer the questions (by clicking on the icons that appear) to further your learning.  When you are finished, click the next section arrow to move ahead.

Video Transcript:  Using Small Blocks of Time Productively

One trick to balancing work and study is taking advantage of small blocks of time to get things done.

In this video, you will consider the small blocks of time in your schedule, and identify strategies to increase your productivity during these moments in your day.

Often, we think we need to have a lot of time available for study, or we think that we can only study at home or in the library.  By adjusting your thinking, you’ll be able to open up additional productive learning time.

  • Do you commute by transit? Though it wouldn’t be ideal to try to master detailed or complicated reading material on the bus, perhaps you can do some initial scanning or skimming while in transit, to prepare yourself for class or deeper reading later.
  • Consider creating flash cards for material that you need to learn. You can take a set of flash cards with you and work whenever a few minutes become available.  If you use one of the many flash card or self-testing apps available on your phone, you’ll be able to easily pull out your phone and make use of those small blocks of time.
  • Self-testing is one of the most effective ways to learn. Create a list of study questions for your course. Pull out the list when you have time available, and review a few questions.  Keep track of those you answer correctly, and those you need to study more.
  • Does your course include access to online videos that explain and review key concepts? Watch a video or two to review, or to improve your understanding of a key course idea.
  • Some courses also include access to online self-study questions. Try answering a few review questions in your spare moments. These online quizzes usually provide immediate feedback on what you understand, and what you should study further.
  • Do you like to learn by listening? Make an audio recording of the important points you want to remember, and listen while you commute or exercise. Maybe audio books are for you – are any of your course materials available in this format?




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Use small blocks of time productively by Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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