**Note: this article comes from the writer’s personal experience as a senior in college.
Tests, final exams, quizzes, research papers, essays, time-consuming projects, late night study and cram sessions – when will this madness stop? The college life is certainly no walk in the park. Most students struggle to find time to eat, sleep and breathe, much less hold down a part-time job and a social life outside of textbooks and stuffy classrooms. Fortunately, there are several ways you can manage your study time and have a more relaxed and stress-free social life. Here are a few ideas and suggestions to consider.
1. Purchase a Large Desk Calendar for your Dorm Room Desk
These large print and large square calendars can be found at nearly any Wal-Mart® or office supply store and are a great way to keep track of important due dates and exam schedules. Place the calendar on the surface of your desk, fill in your test schedule and project dates accordingly, and keep your laptop, notebooks and textbooks on top of the calendar. This way, you will constantly be looking down at your calendar while doing homework or typing up a paper or essay. With any luck, you will be constantly reminded of your upcoming exam schedules and project due dates.
As a cautionary note, try to use this calendar only for school and homework-related notes. Avoid scheduling the events of your social life, such as romantic dates, time with friends, etc. alongside your schoolwork due dates. Not only will this overload of scheduling become confusing and overwhelming, you will also run the risk of overlooking an important test or project date.
2. Back-up your Test and Homework Due Dates Electronically
These days the majority of students are utilizing any and every form of technology for class-related purposes. No matter what device you prefer, whether it be laptop, Blackberry, Palm Pilot or even iPod, it is always a great idea to back-up your school calendar and homework and project dates and assignment details electronically. This way, your important information is in two places instead of one. So when you accidentally spill that cup of coffee or that glass of Pepsi on your desk calendar, blurring out your notes, you won’t have to freak out or have a complete mental breakdown. Your schedule will be safe and sound in another location.
3. Schedule your Subject Study Time by Amount of Work Required & Level of Difficulty
This time management tip should be a given. Before you begin studying for several exams, tests or quizzes, take a moment to pause and consider which subject(s) will require the greater amount of time. This subject should be your first priority. If there is a subject you feel confident in, or a test you are not worried about as much due to the simplicity or easiness of the material, save it for last. Tackle the hard stuff first. There’s nothing worse than being overly prepared for an easy exam and then bombing the difficult one due to lack of studying.
This form of study scheduling will also allow you to make more time for social activities. By studying your difficult subjects first, you will have time leftover to hang out with friends or to take your girlfriend or boyfriend out to dinner. After your social time, come back to your dorm room and glance through the material from your easy class. Remember that it’s all about prioritizing.
4. Study on Long Road Trips and Family Vacations
Is your family planning a week long getaway during the semester? Perhaps you will be driving or flying somewhere for Spring Break or the Christmas holidays. If so, remember that downtime in the car or even onboard a plane presents an opportunity for study time. Pack a textbook or two, a notebook and maybe even some note cards in your carry-on bag.
While the thought of studying during a vacation may sicken you, there’s no better way to be productive and simultaneously overcome boredom during travel downtime than by reading and studying class material. This is a great to manage your time by staying ahead of the game and ahead of class material. When you return to the classroom, you will be better prepared for upcoming tests and exams.
So this semester, don’t let your classes overwhelm you. There is no reason you should ever feel as if you do not have enough time to accomplish something for school. Maintain a diligent attitude and schedule your study hours wisely, around your social life and personal time. Make schoolwork a priority by utilizing one or all of the aforementioned tips and suggestions. And, hopefully, your grades will reap the benefits.