Getting Work Done In College: Time Management

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You’ll hear it a million times in college: studying good, procrastinating bad. No one is going to tell you to study all day and plan every hour of your day, so these are just a few tips to manage your time and keep stressful, sleepless nights to a minimum.  

How to Study in College and What Resources You Should Use

  • It’s obvious, but the best way to do well on an upcoming test is to go to class. Your class notes might all be posted online or you might be learning straight out of the textbook, but going to class forces you to go over the content periodically without cramming. It might be nice to fall back on these resources when you’re sick or having a bad day, but most people end up waiting until the last second to study, cramming, and then doing poorly overall if they only rely on online notes.
  • Go over your notes before a test or quiz. College is more straightforward than high school. You usually don’t have a bunch of different worksheets and resources you need to look at – it’s all in your notes and some of it might be in your textbook and homework. Just read them and make sure you’re comfortable with each topic and you’ll be set.
  • Go to study sessions hosted by TA’s or group study sessions hosted by students to clarify anything you have issues with and to discuss it with others. Sometimes the best way to study is to try to explain it to somebody else. Study sessions may be announced during class, in class group chats, or through online announcements. 
  • Go to your professor’s or your TA’s office hours if you need to clarify anything in your notes that you didn’t understand or you think you might have heard wrong.
  • Make sure you’re attending class during the week prior to a test. Professors may review the content and might even describe the exact structure and topics that are going to be tested. Science, engineering, and mathematics professors are notorious for putting practice problems from class, homework, or quizzes on tests.
  • YouTube, Khan Academy, or other online resources: There are plenty of websites with written or video-style lectures to help you learn or review content. If you didn’t quite understand the way your professor described something, hearing it from another voice and another point of view can help.

Daily Schedule and Planning

  • Calendars and Planners: Even if you’re not the type of person to use a calendar or planner, you should try it at least once during college. College is a crazy, busy time in your life and it can make you feel like you’re always forgetting something. A planner isn’t required, but it can help you keep yourself straight.
  • Schedule: In addition to your class schedule, it can help you to have a schedule for the rest of the day. Obviously, this is only for some people. It would drive some people crazy to follow a schedule every day, but for others it can be very helpful to plan out their day and figure out in advance when they can get their homework done and when they can relax.
  • Keeping a Good Balance: You might have preconceived notions about what college is. Some people think that being a college student is a life of partying and social experiences. Some people think that being a college student is a life of studying all day and working hard. In reality, college is whatever you want it to be. If you want to study all day, maintain a 4.0 GPA, and keep to yourself, then you can. But, for most people, college ends up being a balance between personal responsibilities, classwork, and social experiences. The trick is to maintain a good schedule, whether it’s written down or in your head, so you have time for all of the things in your life and you can succeed in all of them.
  • Make a Study Plan: It’s hard to maintain a good balance in your college life if you don’t prepare for big deadlines, tests, and quizzes. Whenever your professor notifies you of an important date, write it down and figure out when you’re going to work on it. It helps to break it up into multiple work/study sessions so tasks like projects and studying for a final become much more manageable. 

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