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Time Saving Semester

As the fall semester comes to a close, you might expect to feel relieved. However, for many students, the end of the term is typically the most challenging portion of the semester.

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Organize Materials


By the end of the semester, you have likely accumulated a mountain of important, and several less important, documents from each of your classes. This includes class syllabi, notes, handouts, and graded coursework like assignments and tests. Sort through all of your course materials and organize them neatly, in binders, on your computer, or in folders.

As you are arranging your materials, set aside any items that you will need in order to study for your final exams or write your final papers. Though organizing class documents does involve an initial time investment, doing so makes it easier for you to access key items during the hectic end-of-semester period later.

Most of my notes and classwork are online. I have these sorted through various folders and notebooks in Microsoft OneNote!

Stay Focused


Devoting several hours to writing a paper or studying for final exams can be tedious. Eliminate distractions by closing your email and turning off social media notifications on your laptop or computer. Silence your cell phone, and avoid the television and other possible sources of distraction while you are working.

However, for certain students, simply turning off distractions doesn't work. If you find that you cannot resist the urge to check and refresh that Instagram feed every five minutes, you may wish to download an app like SelfControl, which blocks you from accessing certain (distracting) websites for a set amount of time that you choose.

I like to use Pocket Points. This app allows me to earn points while my phone is locked. I can then apply the points and get things like free food at various restaurants in the area!

Take Breaks

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Ask any professional athlete whether or not they take breaks – if they are talented at what they do, they will tell you “yes.” Think of yourself as an athlete; just as it is not healthy to constantly train your body without rest, it is equally unhealthy to study incessantly without pausing here and there.

Plan short breaks throughout your study or schoolwork sessions to allow your mind and body to rest. When you are finished, reward yourself with a night off from studying. Instead, spend time relaxing or hanging out with friends. And, most importantly, set aside enough time for a proper amount of sleep each night. Without regular rest, you are more likely to become frustrated and to wilt during future study and work sessions, which is a major waste of time.

I like to set goals and reward myself for completing a certain amount of tasks!



Multitasking can be the ultimate time saver. While on the treadmill or elliptical at the gym, study for your finals by reviewing your class notes. While walking your dog or taking the campus shuttle to class, review your courses by listening to recorded class lectures or professors’ podcasts. Ensure that the other (non-academic) task you are doing simultaneously does not distract you from your academic task, which would defeat the purpose of multitasking in the first place!

Study Smart


The students who do best on their final exams are not necessarily the ones who study the longest, they are the students who study intelligently, with their personal learning styles in mind. Closely evaluate your review techniques.

If you need help improving your study habits, try reading your textbooks more actively, taking more detailed and organized notes, and/or joining a review group. At the end of the semester, those with the best study habits will not only save time, they will score better on their final exams and assignments.

For my more difficult classes, I set up a Google Doc and have people from my class contribute their notes to it as well. This not only allows for me to not have to do all the work, but I can get multiple perspectives on what we're studying!

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