Spring Study Guide: 10 Tips To Help Survive the Homestretch of the School Year

Ah, spring. The sun is shining. Birds are singing. Waves are clapping. People are bustling from one place to another. The outdoors are calling your name.


But wait just a second there, mister. Reality check. You have a school year to complete. So before you move on to fun in the sun, focus on the homestretch of your school year. Here are ten tips to help you avoid squandering time and finding yourself spending the summer indoors with a tutor.


1. Plan Ahead

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success,” said Pablo Picasso. Planning ahead cannot be underscored enough.

For example, you would be amazed at how much smoother your week goes if you plan ahead. Many have found it beneficial to take a few minutes on Sunday and plan out the week. Write down what you want to accomplish that week. Then schedule when you want to complete those goals. Also, the night before, write down your to-do items for the next day.

2. Keep Yourself Healthy

Yeah. You’ve heard it before, but we’re going to say it again. You need to keep yourself healthy. If you’re not convinced, just think of what would happen if you finish your school year in an unhealthy manner. You miss classes because you’re sick. You can’t focus on your classwork because you’re sick. You fall behind on assignments because you’re sick. You cause other people to fall behind because you made them sick. Are you seeing a pattern here?

So, keep yourself healthy. Eat breakfast everyday. Eat less food, but more often throughout your day. Keep healthy snacks handy, so you avoid picking up junk food. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Don’t pull an all-nighter. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses (or half a gallon) of water each day. Limit your caffeine intake. Do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes (or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise) each week. Get your daily recommend intake of vitamins. Keep your home, clothing, and person clean. All this and more goes a long way to keep you on track.

3. Go For Perfect Attendance

The first two items in our list naturally fold into this third item. Nothing can replace the face-to-face interaction that goes on within the classroom walls. When you work toward perfect attendance, you will be more likely to keep up on your assignments. The relationships you build with your peers will be a motivating factor in your educational progress. And the goal of perfect attendance will naturally help you in the future when you join the workforce.

4. Maintain A Realistic Schedule

We all wish there were more hours in the day, but it’s just not going to change. So, we need to make the best of the hours we receive. This requires prioritization. When debating an opportunity, ask yourself: Is this a need for today or just a want? Should I do it another day? That said, it’s often recommended that tasks requiring less than a couple minutes of our time should be done right now.

Make sure that your schedule has some breather room, too. Include small breaks. Take advantage of downtime between classes to get a head start on assignments. Do not multitask. If a task is big, break it into bite-size tasks that will be easier to accomplish.

5. Take Good Notes

Taking good notes doesn’t require that your write down everything. Try to be efficient about what you do write down. Consider using abbreviations, a bullet point system, or sketches to enhance what you want to remember.

6. Organize Your Spaces

Do you remember the last time you turned your home upside down to find something? Then you don’t need to be reminded of how important it is to be organized. Take some time to clean and organize your backpack, your room, and your notebooks. Put them in logical order and remove clutter. Be sure to monitor these spaces so that they don’t become a stumbling block once again.

7. Study Distraction-Free

Different things distract different people, but there are some common things we all can do to keep ourselves focused when studying. Pick a place similar to the environment you would take a test in. The local library may be a good spot if they have study rooms isolated from other activities. If your dorm has little distraction, study at your desk and not on your bed to avoid accidental naps. Turn off any music or TVs. Silence your phone, tablet or computer. Don’t check email or text messages until after the study period.

8. Study Effectively

Mind mapping is an excellent tool to help you to engage the entire brain and to see the big picture of what you’re studying. (A quick internet search will present you with some basic tutorials on this method of study.) The basic idea is that you start with a drawing of an image representing the main idea of your topic. Then you draw branches and sub-branches of thought off that central image. Other effective methods of study include checklists and flashcards.

But be sure to take breaks. Once you have completed your study session, revisit the material for 10 minutes within a 24-hour window. This will maximize your ability to recall the information.

9. Get Help

Don’t go at your schooling alone. Your professors and their assistants have office hours for a reason. Take advantage of them.
You can also buddy up with others and hold group study sessions. It will keep you from procrastinating, give you new perspectives on the information, help you to learn faster, allow you to glean new study techniques, and help you fill in missing notes.

10. Reward Yourself

Did you get everything done on your to-do list? Did you meet or beat a looming goal? Be sure to give yourself a meaningful reward for a job well done. This could be a new pair of shoes, a movie, a massage, a canoe trip, a purchase to aid your favorite hobby, and so on. This will go a long way to help you accomplish your next big task and anticipate its reward!


With these ten tips set into practice, you will see the school year finish line quickly come into view. Before you know it, you will be soaking up the sun on a beach with nothing but the sound of waves clapping and birds singing. And not a textbook in sight.


Photo credit: Steven S / CC 2.0

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