Sunday, September 15, 2013

Study Tips

I don't know about you, but I have a stressful semester going on! I feel like I'm constantly doing homework or am in class or work, I hardly see my husband anymore with how busy I am! So I've done a lot to get myself organized this semester. I've been keeping up perfectly with my homework and readings and even though it's only the fourth week, this is the best college semester I think I've ever had! 

I am not an expert on college study tips, not even close, but these are just things that work for me. The majority of these tips will also apply for any school grade. And before we begin, I apologize for the suckiness of my camera. Sorry!

What I Keep In My Backpack

I have a really awesome Transformers backpack! It looks like this: 

It's about two years old, so I don't think you could find it, but I got it at Walmart. What I like is that it's not ginormous. It just has that front zipper pocket and the main pocket, but it is able to hold all my stuff, including my many textbooks for class. It's important to get a sturdy backpack and make sure it's something you like, like how I like Transformers.

Tip #1: Get a sturdy backpack that won't put too much pressure on your back and shoulders. 

Inside my backpack I have my main binder:

...which I decorated with a sharpie, and if you want to do this, I HIGHLY advise doing it outside or in a well ventilated area, because doing this I got a horrible headache... and got a little high off the fumes. I'll explain what's in my binder later.

I also have my four folders, one for each class:

These are not labeled, but I remember which is which. The one with the circles is for my "World Writers" class, because the world is round. The one with the flowers is for "Human Development" because flowers and humans both grow and develop. The chevron one is for "Elementary Education" because elementary school is fun and exciting and they have slides. The plain boring black one is for "Teaching Writing" because she's an environmentalist and everything is online so she doesn't give us any papers so it's empty except for my class syllabus. I'll explain what's in these later.

I also keep a pencil case in my backpack in the front pocket:

And it's filled with a wide variety of pencils, pens, and highlighters.

Then I have my planner:

I also keep the following in my backpack:

  • My iclicker (for quizzes in my class)
  • My textbooks (on the days I need them)
  • My Kindle Fire (for emergencies when I need the internet)
  • My wallet (for money emergencies and because my student ID is in there, and I need that a lot)
  • Hand lotion (because it gets deathly cold and dry here in the winter)
  • Hand sanitizer (because some students are gross)
  • Lady products (because I'm a lady)
  • Post-it Notes (for quick notes and marking pages in my books)
  • Chapstick (for emergencies)
  • Mints (to freshen my breath and because I'm addicted)
Occasionally I'll throw my camera in there and I put my phone in there during class, but this is everything I keep in my backpack. 

Tip #2: Be prepared. Don't overfill your backpack, but make sure you have all the necessary items you need for class. 

My Planner

I absolutely love my planner!! I've been using the same type of planner for a few years now and it's spectacular. I wish I could tell you what brand it is, but I honestly don't know, I did get it at Walmart though. This planner gives me a monthly view:

As well as a weekly view:

It give my times so I can see exactly when I'm free and when I'm not. I love this and it works really well for me. I have a planner on my Kindle Fire, but I like this better, it's just much easier and reliable, however, this planner doesn't really fit in my purse, so I also update my app because my Kindle fits perfectly in my purse. I realize not all people want to write out their schedules, so apps are better for them. Just use what works best and easiest for you. 

Let's zoom in a bit on a day in my planner:

So if you look at my FCHD class, there's a little dot before it, this means it's at 8:30, not 8:00. I also make notes for important things, like when I have a quiz in class. If there is something important I need to do before class, I put a star next to it, to remind me to look at the syllabus. Everything else its planned time-wise. The first week of classes, I put the location of the class, but I have that memorized so I don't have to write it out anymore. 

Tip #3: Having a good planner is important for college students! You have to know your schedule as well as any changes that may occur. 

In My Binder

I just use one binder for school. My husband uses one for each class, it just depends on the person. The inside of my binder looks like this:

This picture sucks, but you get the idea. So the front pocket is just for school information, the paper in there right now is my receipt from paying for school (I paid them enough money to go to Disneyland for a week, even after my Pell Grant). The front page is my favorite! 

I got it in the student center, But here's a link to the PDF. It's basically a calendar of the semester. If you look on the left side it labels the weeks of the semester, it continues onto the back. It only goes Monday through Friday but it goes from the first week of school to finals week. All you do is add in the dates then write out all the major assignments for the semester. I highlighted the assignments with a different color for each class (you can see the "key" on the bottom of the page) this helps organize me even more so I know exactly what is due for each class and when.

Tip #4: Write out the dates of all major assignments and tests on a calendar at the beginning of the semester. (I highly advise printing THIS out.)

If you look back to the first picture of the inside of my binder, I have tabs along the right side. They are tabs to each of my classes and under each one is sheets of lined paper. I keep all printed papers for class in the folders, this makes everything seem more organized to me. 

The first piece of paper under the tabs looks something like this:

I'm a visual kind of person, so it does wonders for me to have a checklist of exactly what is due. I have one for each of my classes so I can say "what's coming up in my ENGL 4330 class" and turn to the tab and it's there. I only update it about a week at a time, because things change and I try to keep it all in order. 

Sometimes, like for this class, I take notes on what is important to do for the assignments, you can see it by the indented sections. I make sure to mark the date it's due at the end of the line and I cross out the box when I'm finished. 

Tip #5: Make a checklist of all assignments and due dates, one checklist for each class.

This is probably my favorite tip, because this does wonders for me. Before I started doing this I would always miss assignments or forget when things are due, sure I could look at the syllabus, but this is a much more condensed version and it works incredibly for me! It's the greatest tip I can offer. 

Reading Textbooks

As an English major, the majority of my textbooks, aren't actual textbooks, they are novels or poetry or plays. But this semester my FCHD class gives me a real textbook, so I know what you're all going through. 

Tip #6: Do the reading. 

Honestly, so many people don't do this, and it's one of the best ways to do well in school. Now I understand running out of time, I do that all the time! So if you can't read the whole chapter, be sure to skim through it, highlight vocabulary words, and look for any chapter reviews or summaries at either the end of the book or chapter. For me, I also have Sparknotes and other websites with summaries. Do not rely only on Sparknotes! You have to do some of the reading yourself to really understand what's going on. 

Tip #7: Write, highlight, and make notes in your book. 

Tip #8: Buy your textbooks.

I know books are expensive. Chris and I spent almost $500 on our books, but buying your books is a huge help! If I read a textbook chapter, I don't remember anything I just read unless I make notes and highlight in the book. If you really don't want to buy the book, put post-it notes on the pages and take notes there, it works wonders. I did that for a math class and it helped me a lot (because I'm horrible at math)

Doing the Homework

Tip #9: Do your homework.

This one may seem like, "well duh!" but sometimes we neglect an assignment, thinking it'll be fine to skip just one assignment, but don't. In college especially, you need every point you can get, never skip out on an assignment because it's not a lot of points. Treat every assignment like your grade depends on it

Tip #10: Don't procrastinate.

This is super hard for me, but by making a checklist, it's easier to see what's due and easier to get your assignments done ahead of time. I know about procrastinating, I do it all the time and lose sleep because of it, but just try your hardest to not procrastinate. Put away your cell phone, don't turn on that TV, just focus on your homework and get it done first. 

Tip #11: When writing an essay, write, then rewrite.

Whenever I have an essay, I write it out as fast as I can, write it all down except the conclusion, then take a break. Go away, watching a movie, do other homework, distract yourself from the essay. After maybe an hour, go back to your essay and read through it. Read it out loud to check for clarity. Then it's so much easier to make edits and figure out a conclusion! Seriously, rewrite your essays and I promise you they will be so much better. 

As an English major, I have some tips for writing a well organized essay, if you would like to hear those tips, please leave a comment below. I'd love to help you out with essays! 

While In Class

Tip #12: Keep the cell phone away!!

In class I keep my phone in my backpack on silent. I never ever look at my phone during class. It is so incredibly important to pay attention while in class!! 

Tip #13: Take notes in class, on the powerpoint and on what the teacher or students say.

At my school we have this website called Canvas (formerly Blackboard) where our teachers can post their powerpoints online for us to print out. If your school has this, I recommend doing this and taking any additional notes on that paper. Otherwise, write out as much as you can, using abbreviations and shorthand. Your peers say some interesting things that are nice to take notes on, but usually stick to what your teacher says. 

Just pay attention in class, I cannot stress this enough! 


Tip #14: Don't leave studying till the night before, plan out your studying for about a week. 

One of the best tips I got is to completely ignore television, phones, and computers and study all you need right before bed. You can learn while you sleep, so when you wake up, you'll remember what you studied the night before much better.


Tip #15: Make friends in class to study with.

If you don't know about something, it's very likely someone else in your class does, and vise-versa. It's a great idea to find a friend to study with and you'll help each other make it through the semester.

Tip #16: Talk to your professor for study and assignment tips, who knows better what you should study than the person who made the test?

I never really talked to my professors until recently, but it's honestly the best tool you can take advantage of as a college student. Have your professors look over an essay before you turn it in, they'll give you tips and help you out before you turn in the final draft. In my experience, they are willing to help out and give you advice. Please take advantage of this! It will help you immensely!

Tip #17: Eat healthy and get a good amount of sleep each night, you'll feel better and therefore do better in school. 

Also, if you're like me, dress nice and do your hair and makeup. If I got to class in sweats and a pony-tail, I don't pay attention as much because I'm too comfy. If I look good, I feel good and I actually do better. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep will also help you to have more energy throughout the day, energy in important for college students with stressful schedules, so never miss out on a good nights sleep or a delicious, healthy meal.

Tip #18: Go to all your classes, never miss a class unless you have a real reason, and if you do miss class, inform your teacher or a friend so you can quickly get caught up again. 

I used to skip classes and guess what happened, I failed those classes. I cannot stress the importance of going to class enough! I failed because I didn't go to class, don't be like me, GO TO CLASS!!!

Tip #19: Stay on top of things, don't start to fall apart halfway through the semester.

It's hard to keep going for the whole semester, but it's absolutely necessary! When we're halfway through I'll post some uplifting things on this blog to help us get reorganized and back into the full swing of school.

Tip #20: Party, have fun, and enjoy college! 

These can be the best years of your life, so don't forget to enjoy every moment and opportunity you're given! I've been giving so many amazing opportunities because of college, I met my husband in college!! College can be amazing, you just have to make it that way. 

I am making a College Q&A post, so if you have any questions about college (regarding applying, financial aid, housing/roommates, etc.) please leave a comment below! I'd love to help out any way I can with my upcoming post so please don't forget to ask questions!!! Thanks for reading! 


  1. I love these tips!! They are so simple but really helpful! Thank you!

    1. You're very welcome! I'm glad I could help!

  2. I used a lot of these around midterms this week, so great to have! thanks!

  3. Thanks so much for the pins I hope it will be very helpful for my stepdaughter who is new to being organized

  4. My son actually dropped ALL his first Quarter classes related to disorganization and being overwhelmed!!! I'm going to share this with him and see if he can get on a much better path!

    1. I've been there! I left college for a year because it was so overwhelming! If he needs someone to talk to just let me know. :) Hope this helps him!

  5. I Would like To Hear More On Your Essay Tips

    1. Okay, I'll work on a post for next semester. Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Hi from Poland :) i love this blog, this tips are really helpfull, thank you very much! :)

    1. Thank you for reading! That's awesome you're from Poland! My maiden name, Ostrowski, makes me slightly from Poland as well! I want to visit there someday to visit my roots. :)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Please share the essay tips, writing is the hardest thing for me. Im going back to school soon and I'm worried about writing essays.

  10. Great tips. Thanks for posting!
    for best dissertation writing services visit:

  11. Hey! I would love some essay writing tips :) esp how to not get burnt out and what to do when faced with writers block

  12. I need essay writing tips please . I take englidh 1301 this semester

  13. I would love to hear from your tips on writing an English paper ;)

  14. Regards. Got a problems with approval essay to college here is nice writing service Don't waste your time! Get constructed essay now!

  15. Writing tips are very essential today, especially for students, have a look at papers writing tips to find something new for yourself.


Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...