When you’re a full-time student, you get a lot of syllabi. And usually you get them at the beginning of a semester. That’s ideal. If not, it makes it really hard to get work turned in on time.
Unfortunately, a lot of students miss out on the benefits of having a syllabus because they’ve never learned the best ways to use them. Make sure you use these 4 study skills tips this coming semester to make sure you use a syllabus the right way.
1. Use a syllabus to prepare the rest of your life
Syllabi are not meant just to tell you what is going to be due later in the semester. They’re given to you (in part) so that you can know in advance how much of your life will be given to a particular class.
Your whole life isn’t about school. But you need to know how school fits into it. Focus on prepping your whole life for the semester with that syllabus.
2. Use a syllabus to finish projects early
When you have a full semester, it’s really helpful if you get some things finished early. You’ve probably noticed that at the end of the semester, every class piles up. You have 5 research papers due in two weeks, three major exams, and another 6 or 7 books you have to finish reading.
So do you just expect to have a few weeks from “you-know-where” at the end of every semester? Do you plan to just try surviving the semester?
Key to avoiding the finals week from ‘you-know-where’: use your syllabus to plan the semester.
You can., but we don’t recommend it. Instead, find those projects that you can finish early. And finish them early.
It’s pretty simple, really. If you get some things out of the way early in the semester, you can focus more mental energy at those things that can’t be moved (like final exams).
3. Record due dates on your own calendar — don’t leave them on your syllabus
We see this problem a lot. Too many students do a great job of using their syllabi to get books for the semester, to know a little bit about what to expect for the semester, but then leave all of those important dates on their syllabus. They never make it onto a calendar.
Those dates need to make it to your calendar. I promise it will be helpful to have them there where you can see them coming.
If you’re not using a calendar, start. And then put your due dates on it. Try Google Calendar if you’ve never used one and aren’t sure where to start. It’s what I use personally. It will do the trick just fine.
4. Use a syllabus to define your daily task list months in advance
This is probably the area we see the most missed opportunity for students. You don’t have to wait until the morning of a school day to figure out what you’re going to do.
As soon as you have your due dates recorded, you can define a to-do list for each day. This is going to allow you to know a long way in advance what each day will hold. It helps plan the rest of your life. It helps spread out the workload.
And most of all, using a syllabus like this is the most effective way to ease the massive stress load school can be.