Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Are You Academically Organized?*

*This article was published in the August 29, 2012 edition of The Press.  

   “We have a test today?” Most of us have had the experience of completely forgetting something very important. Unfortunately, for some students the experience is chronic – with every exam and assignment coming as a surprise. This is not a matter of intelligence, but rather a knack for planning ahead.
     The basic skill needed for academic success is organization. Advanced knowledge of where and when your class meets, which weekly assignments are due, and when exams are scheduled is essential. Using an academic organizer app on your smartphone or laptop , or a traditional weekly planner book can be the difference between passing and failing. Here are a few tips for staying in-control of your academic responsibilities.
  1. Enter all exam dates into your planner as soon as they are announced. Your teacher will give you all of your test dates in advance. Enter these dates into your planner as soon as they are provided.
  2. Enter all homework assignments into your planner. It is easy to forget daily assignments, which can seriously affect your grade. Get in the habit of entering homework into your planner as soon as it is announced.
  3. Schedule chapter reading. Reading small sections of the chapter on a daily basis can be more effective than cramming the night before an exam. Plan to read a few pages each day, and by the end of the week you will have read the entire chapter.
  4. Stick to your schedule. Every evening you should look over your schedule for the upcoming day. Make sure that you have met all of your responsibilities.
  5. Schedule fun time. Just as it is important to stick to your academic schedule, it is equally important to stick to your “fun” schedule. Allow yourself at least one day per week without schoolwork.
     Remember, a little preparation can go a long way and keeping an academic planner is the first step toward becoming an excellent student.