Good organization is among the key factors in any business, academic success included. Failing to get organised leads to lower grades, exam failures, frustration and stress, which consequently cause low self-esteem. Students who have mastered the basics of good organisation and planning manage their assignments in time, get more things done, perform better in general and thus have more free time to spend doing things they love.
However, organization is not something we’re born with—it is a trait that is learned. This means that it’s important to learn, develop and practice good organisational skills and habits from an early age and carry them throughout educational and professional life, and success will be practically guaranteed.
These are some of the tips and tricks that can help you improve your organisation and achieve better results.
Designate a study space and time
It’s important to have a designated study spot and time slot for studying as it will keep you concentrated and focused. It will also reinforce good planning and time management skills. The study area should be clutter-free, devoid of distractions, and fully stocked with the required materials so you have everything you need at hand in order to stay efficient and on task.
Creating a routine will help you stay consistent both on a daily and weekly basis. Checklists are a great tool that is easily read and referred to. Make daily and weekly to-do lists that will cover your homework, assignments, and tests that need to be completed. You can write down your weekly schedule on a whiteboard or paper that you can pin up on your task board, then establish a time frame designated for your homework. Having a precise schedule like this can help you stay focused and you will get enough time to feed the squirrels in your backyard.
Bear in mind that your routine should not be too rigid – leave room for tweaks if a last-minute task comes up. Don’t stress about it – it’s perfectly fine to update your schedule according to changes then plan ahead and adapt.
Use study notes
Taking notes during classes will keep you engaged in the lectures, it will help you select important information for the upcoming exam and shorten the study time as you’ve already retained a great part of the subject matter while you were writing it down. Also, rereading your notes is much easier than going through the entire textbook. However, notes are usable only if you have a method of recording them, such as a Cornell method where you write down key points and questions without all the examples and then summarize them all in the end, and a mind map method where you draw diagrams with bubbles or boxes that you label with key points and connect to similar ideas.
You can also rely on UTS resources and use the notes other students, both current and ex, have compiled on your subject of interest. It’s of great help when you can study from a variety of sources as it exposes you to a different type of information, keeps your mind engaged and more focused.
Nowadays, there’s a vast array of school supplies designed to keep your study materials in order. They keep all the necessary class and assignment materials in one place so nothing gets misplaced or lost. For instance, you can use a planner or an agenda to write down your schedule and assignments, a folder to compile all the papers for a certain class in one place and choose a different file for each course, a pencil pouch for all your writing utensils and a multi-pocket backpack where each pocket contains specific items so you can easily find them.
Break down the study material
Another great technique to help you study more efficiently is breaking down the material into smaller, more manageable chunks. This takes the pressure off as you can focus on each part separately without thinking how much is left to be covered.
For instance, if you have an essay due soon, you can break it up by picking the topic first, then reading at least three articles on the topic. Then, you start with a thesis statement, then you add your first, second and third main point, and after that, you proofread it, format it and finally, turn it in.
Find a study group
When you have a complex or even confusing subject matter to go over for a big test, it can be helpful to study with a group of people who are preparing the same material. You can exchange ideas, explain difficult parts and reteach material, quiz each other, and make sure that everyone is keeping up. After all, when you teach someone else you are learning yourself.
Finally, don’t forget you’re in school to learn, so don’t hesitate to ask questions like what are the alternatives to retain a wall or some curious scientific question and seek explanations. Asking for additional information and help, be it from a teacher, a tutor or your friends, will guarantee you cover every point and leave no stone unturned!
By learning and adopting good organizational skills, you’ll be able to develop a system that can help you perform better academically. Once you feel how things go more easily when you are well prepared, you’ll be encouraged to keep going and it will result in a more successful, stress-free academic experience.