Managing Your Class Schedule

I know, this is the middle of the term now, but it is still applicable.

Have you ever had this happen? You start the term, get your books, go to the first class, the teacher goes through the syllabus with you. There are a couple of tests, maybe a few papers or a project or two. You think, “No problem, I can get these done!” But then one week passes, then the next, and the next . . . Oh no! The midterm is coming up and you haven’t studied anything! Argh! You have a paper due in two days! How will you ever get ready for the final when you are ten chapters behind in the reading, and the final is next week?!

Yeah, I think we have all been there. I know I have. However, it does not have to be this way. Let me share some things that helped me get through college.

First, ideally the first day of class, certainly no latter than the end of the first week, get a day planner – a planner that is big enough that you can get as detailed as needed for each day. This may be online if there is an online calender you like or in your phone, though that may get tedious unless your phone syncs with your computer.

Second, get out your first syllabus. Go through and find every quiz, project, and test, in short, everything major you are expected to do for that class that term. Write them down in the appropriate day in the planner.

Note: You may want to do this twice if you are doing this on paper – once on the day, once on the month sheet. You need to be able to keep a large perspective too.

Third, go through and do the same thing for all the reading assignments, quizes, one page summaries, in short all the little assignments.

Fourth, go through and highlight. As a minimum, highlight everything you put down in the second step. You may want to color code items.

Fifth, go back to step two and start on the next syllabus until you have gone through the syllabi for all your classes.

Sixth, each day when you start your study time, look at your calender. Look at the day view. The week view. What is coming up today? Tomorrow? The next day? Look at the month view. What large tests, papers, or projects are coming up?

Seven, based on what is on your calender, decide what needs to be done today. What is the reading assignment? Is there a quiz at the end of the week? Have you started your five page paper that is due in two weeks? If not, what do you need to do to turn it in on time, and on what day? Make a list. Do the items on your list. As you do each item, cross it off from your list.

A few final thoughts for managing your class schedule. First, plan time to study. Ideally, it will be the same block of time every day, but if not make sure you reserve for yourself that time to study.

Second, when teachers give you a reading schedule, usually what is on a certain day is what will be talked about in class that day. If at all possible, do your reading before class. You will get so much more. You will know better what questions you need to ask, and as you listen to the teacher they will help you realize what part of what you have read to focus on for your tests and papers.

Third, always attend class. I realize that is not always possible. Life does happen. But the best way to keep up with your class is to attend it, and the fastest way to get behind is to not show up. If you truly cannot come to class for whatever reason, call or email your teacher as soon as you know you cannot make it to class. In fact, if you know you have something coming up like a doctors appointment during class, tell your teacher before hand and get all the material you will miss. If not, get into your teacher as soon as you can afterward and get all the material and assignments you missed.

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