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Athabasca University

Creating a Semester Study Schedule

By Julia McDonald

As an AU student, the one-month calendar is an important tool to help bring structure to your studies. You need to see the big picture in order to get your course completed on time. As soon as you get your course package, you should develop a semester schedule.

Steps for developing a semester study schedule:

  1. Go to the Study Schedule located in your student manual. Many are based on a twenty week period which gives you some flexibility in case something interrupts your studies. It allows you to finish the course content a couple of weeks prior to writing your final exam. Students receiving student loans need to adjust the schedule to complete the course in four months.
  2. Print or copy several blank monthly calendars. This could be four to six months or less, depending on when you want to finish your course. There is a free mobile app that can help you plan your studies with a built in calendar and study timer, as well as provide quick access to services, resources, events and deadlines, as well as an active campus chat community. Download the free AU Students' Mobile App online.
  3. Using the suggested study schedule in your student manual, fill in important dates/deadlines such as:
    • what needs to be completed at the end of each week. You then work backwards to fill-in what needs to be complete each day.
    • due dates for your projects, essays, and readings
    • for each stage of your projects, essays and papers; for example, you have a paper due on May 1, set a deadline of April 24 for completing the rough draft.
    • any online or phone quizzes, when you would like to write your midterm and final exams.
    • try to finish all coursework two weeks prior to writing your final exam. This creates some flex time in case you need to finish up any assignments, readings, etc., plus it gives you plenty of time to study for the exam.
    • when to submit your Examination Request Form. For example, you need to allow a minimum of 20 days before the requested examination write date if you have a pre- approved invigilator within North America. Please see calendar for more information.
    • days for tutor hours, university closures, deadlines for registering for courses (eg. March 10 for April 1 start sate) and extensions (e.g. apply one month prior to course end-date).
    • family or work commitments that you may need to schedule around.
    • anything else you feel is important.
  4. Writing in all these deadlines on your calendars will help you keep your studies on track and not fall behind. You should purchase course extensions, only when you really, really need them. It can get expensive! Here is a sample monthly planner for English 155.

  5. Post your semester schedule where you can see it.

Updated November 30 2016 by Student & Academic Services

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