5 Study Tips to Set Yourself Up for Success this New School Term

A new school term brings new challenges as well as numerous opportunities to better yourself and make progress. At West Coast University, we want to help you start your classes on the right foot. Set yourself up for success with these five study tips! 

  1. Use your calendar or planner daily.
    Calendars and planners are one of the most underrated organization tools. They provide you a handy visual representation of your week, so you can identify busy days at a glance.

    Every day write any new assignments, quizzes, or projects that were announced. If you see many items clustered together, give yourself time to tackle everything by beginning assignments earlier than normal. This helps you spread your workload over several days and make busy periods more manageable.

    Additionally, planners and calendars can help you juggle your school, work, and personal lives. Here are some useful items you can keep track of:

    - Class times
    - Due dates for projects and assignments
    - Exam dates (find these ahead of time on your syllabus)
    - Study groups and meetings
    - Extracurricular activities (such as student organization meetings)
    - Work schedule
    - Personal commitments (weddings, travel plans, etc.)

    If you don’t like carrying around a physical planner, try a digital tool instead. There’s a variety of apps that provide you with powerful planning tools right on your phone.

  2. Write everything down (or type it out).
    Did the professor provide guidance for an upcoming assignment? Write it down. Did your study group go over upcoming due dates? Write them down. Did your professor mention the chapters covered in the next exam? Also, write it down.

    Now that you have a planner or calendar, make the most of it by noting any due dates. This helps free up space in your mind. Stop worrying about remembering what is due and instead focus your energy on understanding the material and assignments.

    Having a written to-do list (whether it’s on your planner or on your phone) will also help you prioritize better and spread your workload over the week.

  3. Find the routine that works for you.
    Too often, we think of routines as something boring. But your daily routine doesn’t have to be boring at all. A good routine helps you be productive when you need it, which means more free time afterwards. A routine can provide you with a better balance between responsibilities and relaxation, helping ensure you are investing your time wisely.

    So, how do you come up with a good routine? The first step is to look at your daily schedule in your planner or calendar. Make sure your class times are written down. Create time blocks for other essential activities such as study time, exercise, class reading, and meal prepping.

    Waking up and going to bed around the same time every day can also help you establish a steady, efficient routine.

  4. Help yourself stay focused.
    Having the television on in the background sounds like no big deal, until you end up accidentally watching 30 minutes of Friends reruns during study time. Set yourself up for success by limiting distractions in your study space. This includes turning off the television and leaving your phone in a different room.

    If you can’t leave your phone in a different room — perhaps you’re expecting a text or need to be available if someone calls — consider temporarily blocking social media apps. You can get a variety of tools for both iPhone and Android phones that help you do this.

  5. Create SMART goals.
    SMART goals are a planning tool that helps you learn how to set attainable goals. To create a SMART goal, you need to ensure that your goals are:

    - Specific
    - Measurable
    - Achievable
    - Relevant
    - Time-Bound

    For example, “do better in school” is an admirable goal, but it doesn’t follow the SMART format. Instead try “Obtain at least a B+ in each of my classes by the end of the semester.” This turns your goal into something you can track and strive towards.

    You can set up a page or two on your planner for tracking your progress on your goals.

Use these five study tips to ensure you’re staying on top of your schoolwork and performing your best in all of your classes. 


WCU cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.

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