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I need to study for a competitive exam which is held in November. It consists of two subjects :



The problem is these subjects in-turn contain a lot of things themselves, namely grammer, data, vocabulary, etc. I need to solve and study these exercises within these 2 months.

I need to finish my syllabus by july, so that I can start taking Mocks by August.

The problem is I can't decide whether to make a schedule, timetable or just add these exercises in a TODO list, but since there a LOT of exercises I am not exactly sure. Any help is highly appreciated.

If a schedule is needed whether to make a daily schedule or a weekly one?And how will I document what I am supposed to do.


There is nothing else that I am required to do except studying these two subjects.

I need to study from a lot of books about 5 for maths and about 7-8 for english.

English in turn consists of grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and reasoning.

There are somethings I am required to do daily like comprehension, vocab lists and data exercises, this then leaves out basic maths and grammar.

I can study for hours together, that not a problem, the problem is I am not able to organize.

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3 Answers

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I would recommend this: Stop worrying so much about your list. I had two classes this past spring, and I simply copied the syllabus to my calendar. I knew that between Day X and Day Y, I needed to write a 6 page paper and code a program. Each of these 'tasks' was set up as an "all day event" for the entire week. This was ONLY to get it on my list as a reminder. I knew that the paper would be easy; I had most of it in my head, so I opted to spend the majority of my time on the program. I never knew from one day to the next if a.) a project at work would keep me late, b.) if a leaky faucet needed to be fixed when I got home, or c.) if I needed to go grocery shopping because we ran out of something unexpectedly. Had I planned that Monday I would write two pages of my paper, and had to stay at work late, I would have freaked out that my paper wasn't going to get done. However, by keeping these tasks open-ended and fluid, I could adjust on the fly to account for other responsibilities that came up without getting frustrated. If you need mopre discipline than that, and need the list to motivate you, I'd recommend setting up "blocks" of time to do things. I'm going to study English for three hours today. It doesn't matter when, it doesn't matter how far you get...what matters is that it's a three hour block of time. Each day, review the prior day's progress and re-write your to-do list. If you're not as far along as you'd like, change it to FOUR hours today.

The point is that if you are obsessing this much about the list and what's on it and how it's formatted, you're not going to get ANYTHING accomplished. You need to just get started with the tasks and readust as you see how it's going for you. Eventually you'll find the best type of list and schedule that works for your working or learning style--and that's a system that we each need to find for ourselves. I can give you as many suggestions on org systems, but the reality is that the best one is the one that works FOR YOU. Try a bunch, see what techniques work. Mix and match. But don't get hung up on WHICH one you're using or if your list is in the right format or in pen vs. pencil, paper vs. online.

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I guess you're right, I am obsessing to much on making lists, instead of executing them.The thing is, there is so much to do, I am afraid at the end of two months I might forget something that was supposed to be done, that's why i wanted to be organized. –  art Jun 8 '12 at 15:10
Put it on a list so you DON'T forget it, but don't worry so much about whether you've allocated enough hours, or if it's in a calendar or a list or a schedule. As others have said, having a big picture goal (e.g., the list of English chapters due by such-and-such date) will be what keeps you on track. You can set small individual goals...like WHICH chapter to read/study/test AS NEEDED as you progress. –  dwwilson66 Jun 8 '12 at 15:16
Thank you very much!!! –  art Jun 8 '12 at 15:37
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I think you'll find that it's hard for others to know what will work best for you. No organizational system is effective unless it keeps you using it - you can write the world's most elegant, elaborate schedule, and if you never look at it again once it's made, you won't get far. I'm going to tell you what I think is a good system - if there's anything in the suggestions below that you don't like, don't use it, and if there's anything you can improve upon, do it!

I think I would prepare for something like this by creating a to do list and a long-term skeleton schedule. What I mean by the latter is a schedule which says very basic things like "by the end of this week, master topics X, Y, and Z" or "this week is for Maths, next week is for English," and so on. Look at the whole time frame you've got to work with and break it up into pieces that correspond with more abstract pieces of your subject matter (a subject name, as opposed to specific exercises or page numbers).

Once you've come up with a way to break out the total study period into pieces, you can start your study time each day with a good sense of what you want to have done by the end of your study. Armed with that sense, you can easily create a task list based on your resources. You sit down at your desk, and your skeleton schedule says "Study English Grammar today" so you make a list that says:

  • Read English Grammar chapter 3
  • Do exercises 5-13 in Learning English chapter 7, p. 154
  • Write an essay and e-mail it to English Professor friend

Then you can go through those one by one.

Obviously I'm just using random examples here. The important thing, from my perspective, is two parts:

  1. Know the larger sense of what you're trying to accomplish

    1. Timeframe (In this case, June-July)
    2. Major items (in this case, Maths and English)
  2. Know specific plans for the time you've set aside to work

    1. Individual activities
    2. Approximate time required
    3. Priorities (the order you do things matters!)

I hope this helps! Don't hesitate to comment if you have questions or think this could be improved.

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The thing is, won't i need to divide all those exercises beforehand into days, I mean if my todo list say: Do English grammar exercise tomorrow, and in the end I don't have enought time left to do all of them, then? –  art Jun 8 '12 at 14:44
Then you amend your schedule. Don't be too hard on yourself about the lists. It's not carved in stone for you. If you need more time, you sit back, say, "Wow...this is a TWO day project", adjust your list, and suddenly you have more time. Life happens. Things that you can never plan for on a list will pop up. The trick is use the list and a GUIDE without obsessing about finishing things. If you make a list that you can't stick with because it's too ambitious and CAN'T BE CHANGED, you'll quickly get frustrated and stop using it. Let it be fluid...don't worry so much. –  dwwilson66 Jun 8 '12 at 14:54
@KartikAnand - that's a valid concern, but I would suggest you relax your expectations a bit. Scheduling is a worthwhile way of developing a better understanding of how much time you expect to need, but if you treat your schedule like it's set in stone, you risk doing more harm than good. You obviously don't know exactly how long every thing will take. The best you can do is try to estimate times that give you freedom to adjust. Expect to need 30 minutes for something? Plan in 45. Adjust when you need to adjust, and don't insist that it be perfect before you start. –  asfallows Jun 8 '12 at 17:00
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I personally think that first of all it is very important to work intelligently not work hard. On the daily basis productivity in your case is very important rather then studying for 10 hours straight which you must keep your eyes on.

I think that it is very important to make a schedule in your case and stick to it for two months. Make a schedule for a week in advance where you want to be at the end of the week regarding your topics in both the subjects. I would say it must be documented what you are going to do next for the day because you don't want to be overwhelmed.

if you have a 10 hour study period then this is how you can organize

Mon 8 hours Maths, 2 hours English basically review of previous day studied. 15 min gap after 2 hours (go for a walk is very much advisable here, i think more time will not be useful, you can take 2 or 3 hours after your study)

Tues 8 hours English , 2 hours Maths review of previous day studied. and so on

you can also go for a full stretch of 13 14 hours 1 or 2 days and rest of the days you can take it easy. well it's all depend upon you . Remember slow and steady win the race

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But should it be a timetable sort of thing or a todo list? –  art Jun 8 '12 at 13:04
i think best would be to buy a manual diary with timing in it as well and document your topics there. –  maz3tt Jun 8 '12 at 13:08
I am working on a notebook, but the problem is should I be making weekly schedules( Planning each day in advance), or adding todo list items in a list daily? –  art Jun 8 '12 at 13:09
@KartikAnand: IMO it really helps to break down the work into chunks for every week first, and then to further divide it into portions for every day. This way you will know that 1. you have enough time to do your work and 2. how much time you can spend for leisure e.g. on the weekend. If according to your plan 6h a day is enough then you don't have to stress out and pull all-nighters (assuming that you stick to your plan and your plan is reasonable). –  0x6d64 Jun 8 '12 at 13:16
@0x6d64 I am ready to stick to my plan, just hoping the plan is perfect. Stress is not a problem because I've holidays and there's only study that I need to do, and nothing else –  art Jun 8 '12 at 13:19
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