What you can do right now to win in the classroom
The new year gives us the opportunity to set goals and develop new habits. Why not apply this thinking to your classes? If you’ve ever struggled to stay on top of your coursework, you might benefit from utilizing different strategies for organization and time management. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorites—try these approaches this term and see for yourself what a difference they can make!
Use a planner
Using a planner, whether it be a digital (we like Google Calendar) or paper one, can help you keep track of your assignments. At the beginning of the term, block out your classes on it, as well as any other commitments. Thoroughly look over your class syllabi and schedules and write down when assignments are due in your planner. Then, schedule in blocks of study time!
Be careful not to overschedule, however. Leave some blank space for when unexpected things come up (emergencies, spontaneous activities, breaks, errands, etc.).
“Chunking” assignments involves breaking them down into manageable steps. Doing so not only provides you with a game plan for how you’re going to complete the assignment, it also prevents you from leaving it to the last minute.
- Chronologically list the tasks you need to do in order to finish the assignment. For example, a research paper might include: understanding the assignment, picking your topic, researching, writing a first draft, scheduling an appointment with the SLC or your instructor, and revising.
- Assign deadline dates for each task, starting with the final deadline and working backwards. Keep in mind that certain tasks take longer than you think, so give yourself plenty of time for each one.
After chunking the assignment, plug the tasks into your planner. Now you’ll know exactly what you need to work on and when!
Create a to-do-list(s)
For those who don’t like the idea of using a planner, having short-term and long-term to-do-lists can be a great alternative. Or even better, use to-do-lists in conjunction with a planner. At the beginning of the term, write down your big assignments (midterms, research papers, etc.) and their due dates in a long-term to-do list. At the beginning of each week, write down your smaller assignments, chunking tasks, etc. and their due dates in order of priority. When you’ve completed an assignment or task, you can cross it off or delete it from your list!
Use whatever format works for you, such as a physical notebook, a Google Doc, or the Notes/Reminders apps on your phone.
Make an appointment with the SLC
Did you know that the SLC can help you plan out your term? We can work with you on filling your planner, chunking assignments, creating to-do-lists and more. It can be useful to have someone else guide you through these organization and time management processes and help keep you accountable!
The Student Learning Center (SLC) welcomes students from all programs both on-campus and online who strive to do better in the classroom while perfecting their craft. You can click here to learn more about this excellent resource!