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Recommendations on scheduling for learning activities

Time management and planning skills play a key role in the professional practice of an informatics engineer and in any other project-based engineering profession. Graduates in informatics engineering are expected to be proficient at organizing their time and planning the complex tasks that they have to deal with. Informatics sector companies are especially appreciative of job applicants' ability to accurately estimate the workload required to complete a task, as well as to apply the estimate to wider project planning.

To learn time management and planning skills, you can work on planning the learning activities, practical assignments, group work, etc., as part of the subjects of the degree course that you are taking. This will help you to achieve your goal of passing subjects at the intended rate and make the most of your passage through higher education. The ultimate aim of planning is for you to achieve your target outcomes, and, as far as your studies are concerned, this means passing the subjects that you enrolled for with the grade that you set out to achieve.

For a start, you should draft a weekly calendar containing the timetable of the classes that you have enrolled for this term. A timetable contains what are termed tutored learning activities. You can also enter the name of the subjects, the classroom where each lesson is taught (e.g., a lecture in a traditional lecture theatre and practical class in a computer suite) in this weekly calendar. If there are any activities that you do regularly at the same time every week, such as training with your basketball team or English classes, note down these activities in your weekly calendar, too. Apart from these tutored training activities, plan the hours you intend to spend each week on each untutored activity, i.e. home study, library study, meetings with team members for group assignments, etc. If you set aside the same hours on the same day for the same activity, it will be easier to get into a work and study routine, and you will find it easier to achieve your learning goals. You might have time to spare between classes, which you can make use of to plan learning activities that you can carry out at the Facultad de Informática, in the library, in a computer suite or in the reading room.

You should set aside time for leisure and/or family activities. You should also leave some extra time for unexpected events, as it is not usually possible to preplan everything down to the last detail.

Use whatever resources you feel most at home with to annotate your weekly calendar: either paper- or computer-based agenda management tools, like a Google calendar or the Outlook agenda.

It is important for you to have a written timetable that you can consult and use to compare against the time you really spent on each activity. Recording the time you really spend on each activity can help you to plan more accurately for the coming weeks. The goal is to gradually get a more accurate estimate of the time you will spend on each learning activity. This will help you to get to know yourself better and get a better grasp of your abilities, ensuring that you spend more time working on the types of activities or subjects that you find harder. For this reason, there is no "perfect" schedule applicable to any student and any subject. Planning should be done individually and personally, and students should refine their preliminary schedules in the light of the results that they achieve and how the workload of each subject evolves.

Your planning of untutored activities is likely to be more realistic if, instead of just setting aside four hours for studying, for example, you divide up and allocate a set time to each subject depending on its difficulty, as well as detailing what you intend to do in that time (e.g. do algebra exercise on Thursdays if the algebra professor regularly sets an exercise).