Attending college can be a juggling act. You have to ace your subjects, go to your classes, stay on top of your homework and do well on tests, all while trying to earn an income on the side. It is usually too difficult to do everything at once unless you have exceptional time management skills. Here are tips on how to manage your time with a difficult schedule.

Take all your classes at one go

Often, students believe that they are likely to do better with their time if they arrange to have their classes scattered throughout the day, with a free hour between each class every now and then, for time to study. In reality, when you do get time between classes, it is usually too little time for studying and it goes to waste. Rather, you should arrange to have your classes together. This way, you will have larger blocks of time in which to study.

Create a plan

In general, you need about two hours of study time to properly internalize an hour’s worth of lectures. Use a calendar app on your phone to put in all your assignments, quizzes and papers, and build a plan for how much studying and writing you will need to do.

Make sure that you attend every class

In general, it can be harder to study for a subject when you skip a class. Attending every class is a great way to make more efficient use of your time and learn more quickly.

Make up your mind when you study best

When you plan for study time, you need to make sure that you decide on a time of the day that you are at your most alert. Late-night works best for some, and early in the morning for others. Schedule seven or eight hours of solid sleep time for yourself, and study at a time that works best for you. Studying doesn’t go well when you are tired.

Begin keeping a log

Keep track of how long it takes you to do your homework, or prepare for tests. At the beginning of each semester, you should begin a log to record the length of time each assignment takes, and then use it to plan for a time frame to keep in mind as the semester progresses. Logs are also a great way to get a realistic idea of how much work you’re actually putting in.

Make sure that you do all your homework

In college, professors who hand out homework don’t often check to make sure that you’re doing it. This isn’t to be taken to mean that you can be lax about it. When you put in all the preparation that you need, you’ll be ready for your tests when they come. Self-motivation is important in college, even when there is no teacher or parent making you work.

Get used to the amount of time college work takes

Studying isn’t like browsing social media; you don’t get your content in short, entertaining bursts. Instead, you get through it studying for longer periods of time. You need to reprogram your brain to get comfortable with half-hour stretches of intense study. It’s important to learn to focus for extended periods of time.

Don’t repeat yourself

Students often believe that they need to go over their lessons or notes multiple times in order to get it right. Typically, they will read once to get the lay of the land, read another time to internalize the material, and a third time to take notes. There simply isn’t enough time for such repetitive work in college, however. It’s important to make sure that you try do everything no more than once while focusing on getting it right.

Finally, when you face peak study season for a presentation, a midterm or other test, make sure that you streamline your schedule. Learning to say no to some social gatherings during a difficult study season can be hard, but it will benefit you in the long run. You need to focus on your work a few weeks each semester.

In college, there is generally more work to do than there is time in which to do it. It’s important to understand that strictly managing your time is the only way that you’ll ever get it done. In a way, time management is the secret to success in college!

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