The semester is starting to pick up and with it the assignments are starting to pile up as well. At times, just looking at the stack of papers and notes in front of you is enough to make you want to hibernate until the summer rolls around. With so many topics covered within each class, it’s hard to stay organized which, in turn, makes studying and reviewing the subject matter even harder. The key idea here is that organizing your materials should be a continuous process and not a one-time thing. Incorporate staying organized into your everyday routine and you’ll be good to go all semester long! Different methods work for different people, but we’re bringing you a few tips to get you started!
Get a Planner…and Use It: Even those of us with the best memories can’t keep track of every assignment or important date that professors put out there. Get a planner (available at your conveniently located campus bookstore) and make a point to write down every current and upcoming assignment your professor mentions. In addition to this, include any meetings or other important events. I always found it helpful to also include a post-it of To-Do items for the current day as well. Make it a habit to check your agenda every morning and evening and you’ll be less likely to forget an assignment – promise!
Prioritize: Every student operates differently. For me, I can focus on a big project much better if I have already completed all of my other smaller assignments. Some students would rather get the big one out of the way first, however. Find out which you prefer and work accordingly. Next time you have several assignments due at once, list out which you intend to complete first and give yourself a deadline. Work towards it and move onto the next assignment.
Categorize, Label, and Color Code: Before you claim that I am being overly meticulous, I’ll have you know that this method has never failed me! How many times have you rushed off to class only to realize that you grabbed the wrong notebook? Keep all of your books and their corresponding notebooks together and avoid this mistake. Label or color code them to match and you’ll grow accustomed to grouping them together automatically.
The same goes for what you have inside your notebooks. Give every set of notes a date and title and you’ll save a lot of time scouring through the pages looking for a minute detail. Binder dividers are another great way to categorize your notes and make locating a specific topic easy.
Study on a Schedule: My main advice here is to start studying ahead of time and space out your sessions. This is much better for retention and lets you avoid cramming. However….I understand that sometimes this might not happen (but try your best!) so at least make a point to study on a schedule. Outline all of the topics you want to cover and star any that you’ve had trouble with so you know to focus on those. Work your way through everything until you’re set for your exam!
Organize your Computer: Nowadays, so many things are completed using the computer that it’s important to organize this too! Create separate folders for each course and then appropriate sub folders for any assignment or group of assignments. Back up all of your important documents on a flash drive to avoid the risk of losing anything. Keep your email inbox organized by using folders as well!
We hope we’ve helped you start off the semester in an organized manner. Have any questions or suggestions? We love reading your comments, so post them below!