Organizing for Academic Success

The start of a new school year is filled with excitement and anticipation. Here are some tips to help you get through the school year successfully.

1. Outlining:

Our staff likes to use a truncated version of the Cornell method of note taking.

It is simple. Before we begin we’ll need a few things:

  • Red pen
  • Blue pen
  • Black pen
  • Purple pen
  • Green pen
  • Notebook

We use the black pen to write the chapter title or subtitle. The blue pen is used to write down your notes from that section. Use the red pen to write anything important (things your teacher has said is important, important concepts, or things you think might be on the exam). Purple pen to write down any terminology you’ll need to know, and the definition of those terms in green.

The goal is to have a document which can be referred to when you are reviewing the material. This sounds like a lot but this method is beneficial for a few reason.

– You are constantly switching pens. This keeps you engaged and thinking about what you are writing.
– It is color coded. Looking at the page you can see exactly where everything is. Your eyes and your mind are engaged when reading the material.

2. Start by Planning to Finish

Avoid thinking in terms of just what you have to do today. It’s important to think about today, but you need to remember that most of the things you will have to accomplish are not just based on what you do today. If you don’t plan things out to its competition, you might find yourself running short on time or just not have the capacity to finish. Always schedule a few days ahead. Use a day planner but plan ahead. Try to plan for the week or further if possible.

3. Learn How to Say No

This is a very important aspect to a successful school year. It’s easy to try to do everything, join every club, and participate in every extracurricular activity. It can be overwhelming. In the end you’ll be burned out and more often than not you will be exhausted. Prioritize, plan, and execute. Say no to things that do not help you stay on track. You’ll be happier.