Fear of failure takes center stage as a leading cause of procrastination. As the school year begins and late weeknights slip away, the overwhelming shadows of exams and endless classwork tear their roots into every aspect of life once again. But what if they don’t have to? What if you had the ability to plant those roots into a carefully crafted jug to be tended to only during specific times? Think of all of the stress that would melt away!

The key to academic success, to building the jug, finds its center in preparedness, both physically and mentally. The ability to plan ahead and control each root of the semester will give you an opportunity to easily harness your potential. School doesn’t have to become overwhelming; the jug, built with physical class organization and mental outlines of personal time, ensures you remain in control of your success.

Materials

school yearAside from pens, pencils, erasers, and so on, collecting specific materials and establishing a productive system to
organize papers and class work means avoiding an overwhelming semester.

The first step is to figure out exactly what your teacher requires from you for the semester. Do you need a zipper
binder or folders? Should the binder rings be 1” or 2”? In most cases, the teacher devotes the first day to clearly explain his or her expectations for you. Treat this information like a Holy Grail. If your teacher gives no specifications, prioritize organizing your materials based on what works best for your learning style. The point is to make sure that class work, homework, notes, exams, and so on have a distinct “home” to go to at the end of the day. This will give you quick and easy access to your study materials and assignments.

A great example for visual learners is keeping class papers behind separate binder tabs based on categories: handouts, homework, and class notes represent three distinct sections. Others work best with all of their work in chronological order; this works great when preparing for a big exam. For this method, it is especially important to have a separate folder for complete and incomplete assignments. 

Planner

Once all class materials and assignments have a home, your next priority is to find a way to keep track of study time, exams, and due dates. Not only does this help with punctuality, but it also offers a bird’s’ eye view of your entire semester. After all, the best way to climb a mountain is one step at a time.

A planner condenses a semester into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks. Typically, successful students need two types of planners: 

The calendar comes in handy when viewing the semester’s mountains, i.e. exams and due dates.

The to-do list contains every single, small step that will bring you to the top of each mountain (more info on to-do lists below).

To-Do Lists

Many to-dos in school have obvious due dates. Other to-dos, such as an exam study timeline, are less specific. Oftentimes, study schedules revolve around your specific learning style and areas of weakness.  Each piece of material in an exam acts as a group of to-dos, each of which will be scheduled over a period of time before the exam date. For example, an exam over chapter one in a textbook may be written in your planner as follows:

to do list1. Read chapter

2. Outline chapter

3. List definitions

4. Highlight important information

5. Make flashcards

6. Review flashcards every morning until day of exam.

Then, each of these to-dos would be transferred onto your calendar to be completed on specific days before the exam date. The same idea works for many other aspects of coursework, such as papers to be written, semester projects, and any recurring homework.

Time spent in preparation prevents any need to cram the night before an exam or an assignment. It’s never too early to start studying, and organized studying will improve your grade through preparedness and self-confidence. Planning in this way also gives time to clarify any questions with your teacher and tutor to guarantee exam success. Establishing a schedule of small, easy to obtain, study goals ahead of time will give you a way to soar to the top of each semester’s mountain.

happy student

These two central factors have the ability to organize an entire semester during week number one. A strong support system that includes a professional tutor persists as an important catalyst to combat semester burnout. A professional tutor possesses a vast amount of experience in academic scheduling and motivation. They provide assistance in keeping up with class materials and planning, and they fully invest themselves in aiding your path to academic success.

Remember, fear of failure is simply an illusion that is shattered with small steps, purposeful planning, and utilization of resources. This semester is under your control.