Use A Weekly Planner
Staying on top of your personal schedule is hard enough in college without the level of organization a weekly planner can offer you throughout the grueling fall and winter semesters. Weekly planners, as opposed to daily or monthly ones, allow you an overview of your week ahead and keep you aware of any upcoming due dates without bombarding you with the stress of assignments in the distant future. Investing in a good planner that has enough space to plan out your week with a monthly calendar available for important dates is a simple and compact way to keep track of your tests or essays when your schedule starts to become overwhelming.
2) Back Up Your Documents Often
Anyone who has had their computer crash the week before exams has learned the hard way how important it is to back up your files and documents as often as possible. It might escape your mind once you’re in the swing of studying, but the only sure way of preserving all the notes you’ve taken throughout the last couple of months is by regularly storing them on a USB, an external hard drive, or a virtual data room. USBs and external hard drives are the most common, however can be easy to forget when you’re constantly on the go, which is why a VDR is a better alternative. It stores all your documents online easily and securely so that you can access them from wherever, whenever, and know that they’ll be there in case of a computer malfunction.
3) Find An Ideal Spot To Study
When it comes time for exams it’s important to find a comfortable, yet motivating space to study so that you can truly absorb everything you’ve learned the last few months. If you work primarily from your computer, then make sure your study area has a socket close by for last minute charging. If you are more of a note taker by hand, then find a big surface where you can spread out all your books and papers with ease. Make your study area a space that you would want to spend a few hours at, whether that means a nice window view, easy access to a washroom, or a coffee shop in close proximity.
4) Carry A Snack
Many college students will have to endure a day with back-to-back classes without much time in between for a proper lunch break. When those days come, don’t forget to pack yourself easy snacks to fuel yourself in between classes. Many of us can forget to eat enough throughout the day, especially when rushing from one side of campus to the other to make a class on time. Rather than one big lunch that you’ll need a while to eat, opt for a few fruits or nuts that you can enjoy while on the way to a different lecture hall or in the 10 minutes you have in between classes.
5) Ask Questions
It can be quite intimidating when first starting college to learn the ins and outs of the post-secondary school system, which is why it’s so important to ask as many questions as necessary. Unlike high school, you enter college as a responsible adult and are treated as one, so it’s up to you to take control of your schedule, learning the appropriate dates to drop classes without it affecting your GPA, and any understanding other administrative aspects of the next few years. Take the time to visit with your guidance counselors early on so that you are equipped with the knowledge to handle the next few months.
6) Take As Many Notes As Possible
This might be an obvious tip, but not always recognized as important by those who work well under pressure. Some students may opt to show up for class and just listen while others would rather record the lecture and listen back at a later time, but when it comes to studying for an exam, it’s much easier if you’ve written down all relevant information and organized it in the moment. No one wants to listen back to hours’ worth of lectures for specific information that might or might not be relevant to the exam. Take as many notes as possible in the moment and save yourself the struggle in the long run.
7) Don’t Forget Your Physical Fitness
When you’re swamped with essays and tests all in the same few weeks, the last thing on your mind might be putting aside some time to work out. However, stepping back from the stress-inducing work and going for a quick run will alleviate some of that anxiety and have you feeling better and your mind a bit clearer for when it comes time to hit the books again. Your mind won’t work as well if you’re neglecting your body, so schedule your workouts in advance and give yourself a reason to step away from your work and rest your mind for a bit.
8) Get Enough Sleep
Everyone will have to pull an all-nighter at some point just to get that assignment done last minute, but neglecting your sleep can be more detrimental than useful in your performance. Your mind needs time to recuperate after a long week of school and sleep is the only time it can truly do that. While it might seem like those few extra hours are helping you bump up your grade with that last minute essay, your mind could be too tired to give you the best performance it can. Schedule your hours and know when to shut off for the night so that you can feel fresh and rested to take on the day ahead.
9) Let Yourself Unwind
While college involves a lot of studying, it is also important to know when to let yourself unwind and have some fun. With a full-time student schedule and even a part-time job you can get burnt out very quickly and negatively impact your studies in the process. Take some time off and see the friends or family you may have been neglecting—a social life is just as important in maintaining a structured and well-rounded lifestyle, especially when in school.