Step 1: Getting Organized


Advance Planning

With so many assignments due at different times, planning is necessary to keep track of them. One method recommended by Duke University's Academic Resource Center is to record the due dates for all academic activities -- such as exams, quizzes and term papers -- onto a semester calendar and break them down into monthly, weekly and daily planners. This organizational tactic promotes an awareness of the big picture and what's needed to accomplish each task.


Note Taking

Good note-taking skills reinforce the lectures in which an instructor introduces the core concepts of his class and previews material likely to appear on exams. Instead of taking down every word, students should focus on the main ideas and themes, according to advice posted by Princeton University. In this approach, known as the Cornell Method, students use consistent abbreviations, and leave enough room to jot down questions. All notes should be reviewed within 24 hours, which increases the likelihood of retaining the material.


Setting Priorities

College life is notorious for its many distractions, so it's important to set priorities. One way to rank activities by their respective urgency and importance, according to a time management handout prepared by Vance-Granville Community College. At a glance, you can see which activities require immediate attention, and which ones can wait. Once you've made up your mind, you can enter those decisions into your weekly calendar, as well.


Other Considerations

Students often underestimate how long it takes to get tasks done. That's why allowing empty blocks of time for academic and personal needs is important, according to Duke University's time management guidelines. Trying to regiment schedules too closely increases the likelihood of procrastination, or other bad habits. More importantly, you need time to relax and re-focus, which can make you more likely to follow a schedule.