1. Long Lines are a Great Place to Study

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Exams can seem intimidating, especially if you wait until the night before to start studying. However, big assignments are much more manageable when you break them down into small sections. If you have an exam coming up, create flashcards via Quizlet that you can study on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store.

It is also worth noting how much studying can be completed during the times of day we spend waiting on something. I went to Disney World when I was taking Hebrew last fall. When I came back, I was actually ahead of syllabus in memorizing vocabulary because I studied my Hebrew vocabulary while waiting in line for rides at Disney World. You might not have a Disney trip planned this semester (although I did just give you a really good reason to plan one), but I am sure there are parts of your day spent waiting for something that you can utilize to study for an upcoming quiz or exam. Ask your kids to quiz you on the way to drop them off to school. Look through your notes while you are waiting for your dentist appointment. 

2. Prioritize your time based on the course requirements in your syllabus.

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In every syllabus, professors list under the course requirements what each assignment is worth toward your total grade. When you receive your syllabus, identify which assignments count the most toward your grade as you will want to spend the majority of your time working on those assignments. Then, set aside smaller portions of time to complete the minor assignments that do not carry as much weight toward your total score.

I once caused myself grief by spending all evening on a discussion post because I wanted to make sure I articulated my point perfectly. That discussion post, however, contributed less than one-percent toward my total grade. My time would have been much better spent if I had just taken one hour to do my discussion post and focused the rest of my time on preparing for the next week’s assignment.

3. Talk to your professor when you have questions.

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Your professor is the person creating the assignments for your course, so when you are confused about something have them clarify. If you have questions about an assignment, your professor should be the first person you go to. Friends and family, though they can be of help, are not the ones teaching your course. Ask your professors, because they are the one assigning your grade.

4. Make friends with your classmates.

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The journey through higher education can be less difficult and much more fun if you have friends making the journey with you. Perhaps you can start a study group that meets every Tuesday at Starbucks. Just make sure you choose study partners that want to do well in the course. It does not do you any good if you go to a study group each week that ends up talking about everything but the class material.

5. Turn in something!

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It pains me when I hear a fellow student say they did not turn in an assignment or when students say they left a question blank on an exam. Submitting something is always better than nothing, and if you do not know the answer to a question on an exam, then guess. You might guess right or at least get partial credit for guessing something close. If anything, your answer may give the professor a laugh which might put them in a good enough mood to give you some extra credit on the exam.