5 Smart Tips for Starting (and Finishing) the Semester Right

5 Smart Tips for Starting (and Finishing) the Semester Right

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How did you do with your classes last semester? Was it a walk in the park? A tough experience? Or somewhere in between? No matter how you did, you will soon start a new semester, one that can have a profound impact on your studies. Here is how to start off your next semester on the right foot and to keep your pedal to the metal for the next four months.

1. Control your time. You will have approximately 16 weeks of classes, including your mid-term exams and finals. That’s a limited amount of time to take in everything you need to learn, to write and review your notes, for researching your projects and in completing your assignments.

Use a planner or an app to help you keep track of your time. As soon as you learn about an assignment, take note of the due date and work your way back from there. For instance, if you have a term paper that is due one week before the semester ends, begin your research immediately. Set in place intermittent deadlines, including the completion of your research, the development of your first draft and for typing your final copy.

2. Get help sooner, rather than later. You may have one class that will give you fits this semester. It is a required class too, one that you must take to graduate. You could fret over that class, but you would be wasting needless energy. Moreover, it could affect your other classes.

For an especially difficult class, look for the various “helps” available to you throughout the semester. Make an appointment with your professor to discuss your concerns. Avail yourself of tutoring and group study. Do not put off an unpleasant task as the problem will only exacerbate.

3. Find your favorite study place. It is doubtful that your dorm room, student center or other public place is conducive to studying. Distractions abound and can adversely affect the way you learn. Clearly, the college library is one of the best places to study.

If your library has private study rooms, then regularly sign up to occupy a room for at least one hour. Some libraries permit group study in these rooms too. If no study rooms are available, find a quiet place as far away from the reference and check out desks as possible. A chair near a stack of medieval tomes will see little traffic.

4. Take the best notes. Much of what you learn will be based on what you hear in the classroom. Certainly, your textbooks will also play an important role in helping you absorb material, but it is what your professor says that counts the most. Therefore, take excellent notes.

You cannot copy everything word for word unless you record the lectures. Some professors do not allow recordings, thus you will need to listen carefully and jot down the salient points. Not only should you take notes, but you should review them as soon as the class is over. Rewrite same for clarity and brevity.

5. Put some balance in your schedule. Is your schedule filled to the brim? There is a reason why most colleges limit students to no more than 18 credits in a semester. College administrators know that a hefty schedule can be too much for people to handle, even high-performing students.

Most full-time college students carry a load of 15 or 16 credits. That is still a lot and it should be countered with co-curricular engagement to bring harmony into your schedule. Club involvement, a sporting activity or a light-duty work schedule can help you realize that there is life beyond the books without affecting your grades. Strike the right balance and your college experience will be enhanced.

Semester Considerations

Without becoming deeply analytical, evaluate your progress throughout the semester. Monitor your grades, make changes as necessary, yet find some time for fun. Maybe this year you will participate in spring break or plan a summer abroad at a destination you have always wanted to visit.

See Also7 Smart Tips for College Juniors

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Categories: Education Tips