Back To School Tips Master Post!
I had a few people asking me to do a back to school tips/ how to do well in school post so here it is. I’m a sophomore in college and an honors student so I plan on sharing the things that have helped me succeed. Even though these tips are things I use now in college, most of them I also used in high school so it can be applied there as well.
Organization The most beneficial thing you can do is stay organized.
- Get a planner.- I bought mine this year at Walgreens for around $7 but it has a plastic cover so all paper ones are even cheaper. A planner is good for keeping track of when everything is due. When I get my syllabi for my classes I go through them and write down the due dates of homework, essays, tests, etc, on the day they are due. You can color code your classes or just write the class next to the assignment. This way you can look at a whole week and see everything you have due for all of your classes in one place. It’s also easier to add in things or make changes if your professor decides to due so.
- Use a white board- I know white boards can be expensive, so if you can’t afford one, expo markers will write on laminated paper which you can get for around $4 on Amazon. I use this to keep on my wall and write the next really important date for each class. So I have all my classes listed on the board and let’s say my next big date in Psych is a test. I’d write that date on the board, then after the test, I’d erase it and write the next important date. These dates should be in your planner as well but it’s nice to have them right in front of you at all times so you don’t turn to the next week in your planner and realize you have a test on Monday.
- Buy durable folders- If you’re going to be using your folders all year make sure they’ll last all year. You want to lose any of your assignments. I get plastic folders at Office Depot for $0.39 a piece. I chose a color for each class and write the class at the top in sharpie and I’m good to go!
- Notebooks too!- You’re going to be taking a lot of notes so make sure to keep a notebook for each class as well. Mine were $3 each at Office Depot but they have a plastic cover so if you need to save some money get the paper covers because you most likely wont reuse a notebook.
- Get a pack of loose leaf paper- Sometimes you have to turn things in and if you’re like me then you hate tearing it out of your notebook. But if you don’t have a problem with that then don’t worry about it!
- Use some sort of bag/backpack- This will help you not lose anything plus you can put water, snacks, etc in it as well!
Study Tips Tests are often the biggest portion of your grade so knowing the best ways to study will help you out the most.
- Figure out what type of learner you are- This can greatly improve your study skills. There are visual learners; these people learn best with charts, graphs, and anything that show a visual relationship between information. So if you’re this type of person, to help study you could make charts, graphs, tables, draws arrows between points of information, or watch videos. Anything to help you see it. There are also auditory learners; these people learn best when hearing the information. So the best way for these people to study is to recite information out loud, or if your course has an audio book to listen to it. You could also have a friend read information to you and you say it as well. Some people are reading/writing learners; they do best when reading the text and writing down important points/taking notes. This is the type of learner I am so to help me study, I write out my own flashcards, I copy power points into my notes, and as I read my chapters I write the important information. Something else that is good for these kind of learners is to make little quizzes for yourself. There are also kinesthetic learners; they learn best with more hands on activities. This can be hard to do especially with some subjects. If you can physically do what you’re studying then do it. If not, make a game out of it. For example, ask yourself questions and if you get it right take a shot at a basketball hoop or a soccer goal (if you don’t have these things use a paper ball and your trashcan or anything you can substitute. Figuring out which learner you are will greatly improve how you study.
- Don’t wait until right before a test- Cramming your brain with all the information a few days before a test will not help you remember and only stress you out. This is called Massed Practice and is proven to be a waste of time and information is not retained well. Study a little everyday or every other day. This is called the Spacing Effect and is proven to improve retention and recall of information. So it is best to do short sessions of study over a long period of time rather than a long session all at once.
- Find a good place to study- If you like quiet places and your house/dorm is too loud go to a library or outside if it’ s a nice day. If you like a lot of background noise play some music or go to a coffee shop.
Overall Tips These tips are still really important but I don’t have enough that fit together to make another header.
- Work on what’s due first- Some people think it’s always best to work on the important things first but that’s not always the case. If your essay is due in two weeks and you have an assignment due in a few days then finish the assignment first. You’ll still have plenty of time for your essay. I suggest doing all your work but if something happens to where you just can’t then yes do the more important thing because it’ll be a bigger part of your grade.
- Writing Centers- A lot of colleges/universities have writing centers. If you’re not the best at writing or just need some help you can make an appointment at the writing center where someone highly qualified in writing will read your paper/essay and help you with grammar, punctuation, idea flow, overall organization etc. I highly suggest checking to see if your school has one of these.
- Check your email/Blackboard/whatever your professor uses- This is where they may add extra assignments/ cancel class and not mention it in class. It’s always important to check.
- Try to relax- I know it can be hard, especially for students with depression, anxiety, and other mental/physical illnesses but it’s important to always take a moment and calm down. Take breaks from your work and do something you enjoy for at least a few minutes everyday. If you need a nap, take a nap. just set an alarm to pick back up on your work later.
- Don’t worry about being perfect- This is still something I’m working on myself but getting better at. Last semester I got a B for the first time since my sophomore year of high school and it bothered me to no end. But, I told myself I did my best, and as a person with bad social anxiety I’m okay with my B in public speaking. So for anyone else who feels like they have to keep their 4.0 all 4 years, don’ t panic if you don’t. There’s nothing wrong with not being perfect, almost no one graduates college with a 4.0. Always do your best, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I cannot stress this enough.
- Take classes you enjoy- Hopefully you’re in a major that you enjoy so you wont hate your classes too much but it’s still important to try to take a fun class every once in awhile. If you like art, take an art class. Then, you’re still doing work but also doing something you like.
- Get a tutor- If you’re not doing as well in a class as you would like, don’t be afraid to get a tutor. Most universities offer tutors who are students that would love to help you and wont be judgmental at all. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra help and tutors are often people who have already passed the class with an A so they’ll be very good resources.
- Take care of yourself- Overall, make sure you’re eating well and drinking water throughout the day. Sometimes it’s impossible, but try to get enough sleep. If you go out to party watch out for yourself and others. Practice self care and if things get too stressful and you need help don’t be afraid to ask.
I know this post is very long, but I wanted to share everything I could for anyone who wanted help. If I think of anything else I’ll definitely add it later. I hope everyone has a great semester and school year! Good luck to everyone!