Planning and Scheduling

Now that I’ve had a little time to recuperate from the BS blitz, I’ve decided to share some additional details of my planning and studying methods. This is stuff that I find interesting, and I hope it’s helpful for other people as well.

The “Schedule” Spreadsheet

In Google Drive – where I keep all of my planning and studying material – I have a spreadsheet document called “Schedule”.

This spreadsheet has several tabs, including the following:

  • WGU Plan – this contains a table of classes in my degree program
  • MBA Timeline – this is basically a burn down chart of the classes I have to pass in order to complete the program
  • <Class> Plan – This sheet outlines the CUs in a given class, as well as data from the coaching report of my first PA
  • <Other> – In addition to those tabs, I also have other tabs that are dedicated to my certification plan and the different certifications I’m interested in pursuing.

The “WGU Plan” Tab

Here’s what my WGU Plan tab looks like:

  • The Ass. heading refers to the assessment type – either Objective Assessment (o) or Performance Assessment (p)
  • The Week # and Start dates were inputted before I started the program. It represented my goals. However, as I went along, I updated those values with the true-to-life values. I have to be honest though, at about the Global Business point (week 12) I stopped updating with real values. As a result, every thing after that is not as accurate as it could be.
    • As you can see, I’m still working out the estimates for the MBA program

The “MBA Timeline” Tab

Here’s what the MBA Timeline Tab looks like:

As you can see, this is basically a burn-down chart that attempts to estimate how long (in weeks) I think each course will take. As it stands (I don’t even have access to the classes yet), this is a really rough estimate. I’m not quite confident enough in these estimates to include them in the WGU:MBA-IT table above. However, if I were being honest, I’d have to admit that they will probably make it into the table in their current format. If I need to adjust later on, I will.

The “<Class> Plan” Tab

<Class> is just a placeholder of course. This tab name gets reset and updated for each class. So for the first class, the tab will be called “IT Project Management Plan” or, more likely: “IT PM Plan” for short.

Here’s what it looks like in it’s empty state:

This tab is really important to me when I’m working through a course. In the first table, Task represents any task I intend on doing (such as reading a chapter, listening to a cohort, taking a Pre Assessment, etc), and Date of course represents the date when I plan on completing that task.

The second table is where magic happens. This includes the data received from the the coaching report of my first (and subsequent) Pre Assessments. The Topic is the Competency Unit; the Ch is the chapter(s) from the text that corresponds to that CU; the Study column is either left blank or has an X which indicates that I need to schedule time to review that CU; the Competency column shows my estimate of my competency in the CU (I’ve included some dummy values just for demonstration); the Importance column shows the percentage of questions that a CU occupied on the Pre Assessment.

When I fill out the data in the second table, I can then sort it by Competency and Importance to gauge what I need to study. For example, if I scored a 3 on a CU that’s only worth 10%, I may forego studying that CU. Instead I would study the CU for which I only scored a 4, and it’s worth 22%. That process of determining what I will prioritize is really important to me, and – in many ways – it is responsible for me making it through the BS program so efficiently.

Certifications

Although this isn’t directly related to WGU, I think maybe this is useful as well. I have a tab for each certification that I’m pursuing. Here’s the tab for the PSM I which I passed a few weeks back:

This is kind of a unique case because I used multiple references and I used them sequentially (which I don’t do often; most of the time I study multiple sources in tandem with one another). Even so, it’s contains the basics what one of my certification tabs looks like.

The table is pretty straight forward. It displays the topic of study, the the day (this column exists because I always want to know how many days it’s going to take me to study for an exam) and the date. When I study from a book, there’s often a Length column as well that displays how many pages I expect to read in a given day (my rule of thumb is 10-15 pages a day). If it’s a Udemy course, I may include the length of time that each video takes.

Conclusion

These tools and ideas are pretty simple, but they’ve made a big difference for me. Being able to plan and track my progress is always exciting and rewarding, and I hope that you will find this information useful as well.

Download

If you’re interested in using this setup for yourself, I’ve included template to get you started. You can download it here: https://www.chadl.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Schedule_Template.xlsx

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