You want to limit breaks as much as possible, they're just wasted time. Especially 1 hour breaks, you will get nothing done during them. If breaks are unavoidable try to make them a meaningful length of time. And if you have a long day of classes you will want at least one break for lunch and to relax a little bit.
Otherwise it's personal. If you are a morning person you wouldn't mind 8am classes, but I am not and try to avoid them whenever possible. I also try to make Mondays and Fridays easier, just the way I like it. I was in engineering so did not have much flexibility in choosing my schedule, as I have to take the courses they tell me and there's usually only one day or time.
Best guideline I can offer you is this: know yourself. Are you a morning person or are your more of a night owl? Plan your classes around the time of the day when you function the best. Don't make it easy for yourself to skip classes, especially classes where participation and attendance count. The same applies to the age-old question of whether it's better to have your classes evenly spread out over a week or crammed together in three or four weekdays. Both have their pros and cons, but ultimately, you need to take into account how you work best in order to make an informed decision about your timetable.
After my first year, I've realized that morning classes are awful (I am not a morning person) and I would rather have two days off and three days of class after class after class, because I don't work well if I just have an hour or three between or after classes.
I seem to be the minority here, but I like having long breaks in between classes because it kind of forces me to do work while I'm out of rez (but one hour breaks are not very useful because I can't really get into study mode). If I have a bunch of classes in a row and then nothing for the rest of the day, then I'm just burnt out and can't focus on anything or I don't want to do any work. And I'm really unproductive after dinner, so I have to get my work done during the day.
Try to have classes that start around the same time everyday. This year, my days started at 8.30, 9.30, 10.30, 11.30, 12.30 and 1.30. Because it was so irregular, my sleep schedule got screwed up because I didn't have a typical time to wake up everyday. Thus I ended up skipping morning classes. My friend always had 9:30 or 10:30 starts, and it was no problem for her since she got into a rhythm with her sleep.
I wouldn't advise having mad blocks of lecture together. I'd stick a break or lab/tutorial/seminar in between them just to give your brain a bit of a break.
I also like 3-4 hour breaks, because I'd end up going to the library and get more stuff done there than having all my classes bunched together and then end up going home and loafting.
I had 3 and 5 hour breaks before a night class this past semester. Fortunately (well not really) I had my final design project in the same semester, so easily filled that time up. Otherwise it would've been a good time for me to work out. Point is, like myself and others have said, only you know your out of school schedule and your study/sleep patterns, we can only give some advice.
Personally, I prefer classes close together. Small breaks are TIME WASTERS. Especially 1 hour breaks (useless!!) I hated having 1-3 hour breaks because I would walk back to residence and back again (I was going back and forth 4+ times a day. This is because I don't like being in the library and prefer to nap or do work in residence. Plan your classes so you minimize your walking! Don't do early classes unless you are REALLY a morning person. You may think you're fine with mornings now, but in universities mornings are unbearable. Then again, some people can't do evenings (I don't personally like evenings or mornings). Ideal schedule for me: classes in the middle of the day, blocked together, for 4 days. FRIDAYS OFF!
My ideal schedule would be 10-12 class, 12-1 break (for lunch/coffee, chatting with friends), 1-3 class Monday-Thursday, Friday off. A one-hour break IS a time waster, but whatever... I wouldn't be able to pay attention after sitting through two hours straight of class, so a time waster (or mind refresher, whichever you prefer) is necessary.
@freebird wrote I seem to be the minority here, but I like having long breaks in between classes because it kind of forces me to do work while I'm out of rez (but one hour breaks are not very useful because I can't really get into study mode). If I have a bunch of classes in a row and then nothing for the rest of the day, then I'm just burnt out and can't focus on anything or I don't want to do any work. And I'm really unproductive after dinner, so I have to get my work done during the day.
If I got to pick, I'd like to start off the day at 10am. Not too early not too late. 1.5 hr lunch break - 1 hr sometimes aint enough. I dont mind having night classes, it just sucks when all your classes end at ~530 everyday cause many clubs here start their meetings at around 5-6. And I dont want more than 3 classes in a row.
I dont mind large gaps (2+ hrs) because they do help. A lot of the time I admit is spent on just procrastinating with friends, but it helps me regenerate mentally. Ive experienced having 3,4, and even 5 classes in a row. It really kills your brain =___=
I thought I'd be safe taking one, because I'm a MAJOR morning person, but as it turned out, I ended up being that kid who stayed up until 430 in the morning studying every day (because my productive hours are prom 6am-10am and from 1030pm onwards, and I ended up falling asleep in my 830 lecture almost every day, got a horrific mark on the midterm due to my complete lack of notes to study from, and then when I started going to the 930 section instead (so that I'd actually be awake), my mark in that class shot up like 25%.
Trust me, 830 class just isn't a good idea. Even for morning people.
8am classes are not totally unbarable. I don't consider myself much of a morning person, but I had 8am and 9am everyday in first semester and I didn't find it too bad. I didn't sleep much, but I was quite productive. Coffee is your friend.
With my schedule, I try to fit all of my classes between 8am-5pm, preferably finishing as early as possible. I hated night classes, and I like to be available at night incase anything is going on. Most university students are not morning people, so i try to take classes that have me finishing at 2-3 in the afternoon, making myself very available for the rest of the day. I book my classes during "business hours", because school is my full-time job.
I quite enjoyed 1 hour breaks between classes. I really like to read the newspaper and keep up to date with current events, and this was always a great time to do that. In the morning for example, I would go to the cafeteria and get breakfast and just relax before my next class. Same in the afternoon. It was a good time to check my email, socialize with friends etc. Just don't have like four 1 hour breaks in a day and you'll be fine.
Like someone mentioned above, sleep patterns are very important. Try to make your classes start at the same time every day, and only have a maximum of one day to sleep in. It will make your mornings much easier. Eating breakfast as well will give you energy and help you stay awake.
Thank you so much for your reply!:cyclops:
It's really cool to hear different opinions, and how we get to make our schedule to our own liking.
short and sweet summary:
- limit breaks and avoid gaps
-dont include walking time (are you sure?!?!!)
-classes start around the same time helps sleeping sked.
-dont stack lectures
-4 hr + breaks = :D
-fridays = chill day/sleep in day
- no classes earlier than 8am
- fit all classes between 8am - 5pm
It's really scary though, the freedom, i guess.
and university websites are so hard to navigate!!
@ktel wrote ^ Haha I usually use class time to read the paper...
I don't have the balls to do that. Folding up the newspaper to expose only the crossword and then attempting to complete the crossword is as far as I go.
@skywalker wrote - no classes earlier than 8am
I haven't heard of any universities that have classes starting earlier than 8AM, so you don't need to worry there. I think most university students would agree that you should avoid classes that start earlier than 10AM.
As a student with a 1 and a half hour commute every day, I usually end up waking up around 5:30 every day and going to bed early. Since I am stuck at school from 8:30 until 4:30 (due to the train schedule) I try to make my classes as close together as possible. This year, I made my schedule so that I only have school two days a week. And yes, I took classes that I wanted to take. It takes some work, but it is definitely possible. And it is amazing, because it means I have less breaks between classes (short break suckkkkkkk) and am home 5 days of the week!!!!! So take some time, write down all the times and course codes for every class you are interested in, and then just cross-reference and make it fit! Good luck!