5 tips to maximize studying while minimizing stress

Ty Davis

Fall semester is starting soon, and with it comes a full life schedule. Having sole responsibility for your time and resources can become suddenly overwhelming and can affect schoolwork.

Here are five ways to make the transition into college-level studying easier. 

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stress, finals, textbooks, desk, tests
Balancing school, work and a personal life during college can be a hard task. (Photo illustration by Davis Bonner | Collegian)
  1. Calculate how many points you can lose in a class, but still pass.

Sometimes to get assignments finished, you will need to cut your losses and give up on another. By calculating the total minimum amount of points needed to pass a class, you will be able to take strategic losses that will be better for your grades in the long run. Canvas Instructure makes this easy with the “what if” grade calculator. This tip should be used sparingly in situations where it is crucial to saving your grade.

2. Make a weekly schedule of all your assignments

Approaching work on a day to day to basis can cause things to slip through the cracks. Sitting down on a weekend and making a full schedule of the week will allow you to plan for larger assignments that may need to be worked on for more than one day, and schedule all your other assignments accordingly.

  1. Break down your assignments to the smallest workload you can

People tend to underestimate how much time any assignment is going to take. Long segments of time dedicated to one assignment is not conducive to an environment in which multiple things require your attention and spending too much time on one thing will cause you to neglect other assignments.

The best way to avoid this is to break assignments into small, manageable and exact workloads. For example, if you have an assignment for a class on Thursday, and it’s Monday, break up the assignment into thirds and schedule each third for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This method not only minimizes the workload of any one class but also ensures your energy is used on all of your classes, not just one.

  1. Utilize rest and break times

Unfortunately, we can’t start working on our assignments non-stop until they are done. If that were possible,  humans would be more efficient and life would be easy. We all need breaks, which is why it’s a good idea to set work and rest timers. While you will still see diminishing returns on your energy at the end of the day, taking frequent breaks will revitalize you and make you more efficient when it is time to return to work. 

  1. Plan your essays for simplicity

Treating every essay like a grand masterpiece can bring unnecessary stress, over research, writing at the last minute and generally take on a greater task than you have time for.

Do not worry about how an essay would be read if it were outside of the class, because it won’t be. Keep a tight focus on a simple topic and argument that is still relevant to the assignment. Answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how is better than focusing on digressive topics. 

Collegian reporter Ty Davis can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @tydavisACW.