Guide to Awesome Test Prep: Create a Study Schedule

Creating a study schedule will help you keep your prep on track and make sure you cover everything you need to know for the big test!
Crystal Nikish's avatar by Crystal Nikish, PrepMe Student Advisor. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in English and a minor in Education Theory and Policy. Her favorite food is chocolate.

Now that you've discovered your strengths and weaknesses, it's time to put that information to good use and create a study schedule. It's important to plan for your study time in the same way that you would put soccer practices or school council meetings on your calendar. That way, you can schedule other fun stuff around your study session so that you don't feel like you're missing anything. Here's how to get started:


Of course the first thing you need to know is when you're going to take the test. The ideal study plan is around 4 months long, but if your test date is sooner than that, you'll have to find more time in your weekly schedule to fit it in. Work backwards from your test date and plan on studying between 3-5 days per week, depending on how much time you've got left.

Tip: Register early to make sure you get the testing date and location that works best for you.



Take a look at your calendar and figure out how much time per week you can devote to test prep. Don't forget about homework and extracurricular activities, and don't plan on studying for more than 1-2 hours per night. All-day cram sessions on the weekends won't help you retain information.

Tip: Getting plenty of sleep and eating healthy will help you focus on studying and on test day.



When you write your study plan, it's important to be specific. Break up your study sessions by topic to add variety and keep yourself from getting bored. For example, if you have 2 hours to study, spend 30 minutes on vocab, 45 minutes on Geometry, 30 minutes on grammar review, and don't forget to schedule a 15 minute break in the middle. Also, make sure to schedule time for full-length practice tests every so often.

Tip: If your study session gets cut short, remake the next week to include all of what you missed.



Your study schedule is only going to be as good as how much you stick to it, so recruit a few friends or family members to be your test prep enforcers. If they see you slacking off, give them permission to harass you about it. Just remember: bombing the test is way worse than actually studying for it.

Tip: Try to reward yourself after a particularly good study session. Ice cream? Yes, please.


When creating your study schedule, don't forget to base it around your strengths and weaknesses. PrepMe does this for you by incorporating your test date and constantly adapts according to which subjects you get better at over time and what you need to review again before moving on. It will even reorganize your personalized schedule if you miss a study session or two. Try it out for 5 full days to see what your personalized schedule looks like. Then once you create your study schedule, you'll be ready to move on to Step 5: Practice on Paper (and Online!)

filed under Test Prep, Guide to Awesome Test Prep
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