Ivy Prep’s first blog post is all about time: why it matters and how to manage it. Managing your time well means you will be properly prepared for exams, less overwhelmed by the intense exam schedule, and less distracted by the warm weather. The trick is to maximize your limited time and focus your studying efforts.


By now, you’ve (hopefully!) been told what to study, but you may not know how to study. To be productive in any activity, you first need to learn how to manage your time. Your project management skills (executive functions) are still developing at this stage in life (the myelin, or white matter, that helps the frontal lobe send messages on the HOV lane is still growing way into our 20s), so understanding how long studying will actually take is key to not running out of time or getting overwhelmed by what it takes to be well-prepared for final exams.

If you determine how long it will take to complete each task, then you can organize your studying into accurate, and very manageable, sessions. Through this method, you will have more than enough time to thoroughly review and study the material.


A. Break down your studying into specific chunks—subjects, sections within subjects, tests you’ve taken throughout the year, projects you’ve completed, reports/papers you’ve written, and so forth.

B. Estimate the time you think it will take to review each of these chunks. For each chunk, multiply your estimated time by 1.5. For example, if you think reviewing a certain section in a textbook will take 20 minutes, then write down 30 minutes: 20 mins x 1.5 = 30 mins.

C. Make a list of all of these chunks (subjects, sections, etc.) and their estimated times so that you have them together in one place. When you break down your studying like that, it’s not as bad as you may have initially thought.

D. Time yourself and record how long the task actually takes. Some of the activities may take longer or shorter than you anticipated; you can adjust the anticipated times for the other tasks accordingly.

Now you know to take the pressure off by leaving yourself extra time for your next go round. Notice anything? Very often the tasks we most put off doing are the ones that are the quickest to do.

It works, but only if you actually do it! Try it and let us know what you think.

And, don’t forget to promise yourself a treat for powering through the tasks you are most tempted to avoid.

Next blog preview: In our next post, we will share specific study strategies for optimizing your time.

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