How to Get Your Homework Done in College

A Simple Task Can Sometimes Become Quite Complicated

Student studying late in an empty library
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In contrast to, say, the academic requirements of high school, college courses present a much heavier, much more consistent workload. And with everything else that college students have to manage -- jobs, personal life, relationships, physical health, cocurricular obligations -- it can sometimes seem like getting your homework done is Mission:Impossible. At the same time, however, not getting your work done is a recipe for disaster.

So what tips and tricks can you use to get your homework done in college?

Use a Time Management System

Put all major assignments and their due dates in your time management system. A key part of staying on top of your homework is knowing what's coming; no one, after all, wants to realize on Tuesday that they have a major midterm on Thursday. To avoid surprising yourself, make sure all of your major homework assignments and their due dates are documented in your calendar. That way, you won't inadvertently sabotage your own success simply because you've mismanaged your time.

Schedule Homework Time

Schedule a time to do homework each week -- and keep that appointment. Telling yourself all week that you have to "get your homework done" doesn't give you any specifics, leaves you cramming at the last minute, and always leaves you feeling like you should be doing something else (i.e., that homework hanging over your head).

If you schedule time -- appointments with your homework and reading, in a way -- into your calendar, and you make sure you keep those appointments, you'll have a great system going. You'll have the time allocated in your already-too-busy schedule, you'll reduce your stress by knowing when, exactly, your homework will be done, and you'll be better able to enjoy whatever else you have planned since you'll know your homework is already taken care of.

Sneak in Your Homework

Use small increments of time whenever possible. You know that 20-minute bus ride you have to and from campus every day? Well, that's 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week which means that if you did some reading during the ride, you'd get more than 3 hours of homework done during your commute. Those little increments can add up: 30 minutes between classes here, 10 minutes waiting for a friend there. Be smart about sneaking in small bits of homework so that you can conquer the bigger assignments piece by piece.

You Can't Always Get It All Done

Understand that you can't always get all your homework done. One of the biggest skills to learn in college is how to gauge what you can't get done. Because sometimes, there really is only so many hours in a day, and the basic laws of physics means you can't accomplish everything on your to-do list. If you just can't get all your homework done, make some smart decisions about how to choose what to do and what to leave behind. Are you doing great in one of your classes, and skipping the reading one week shouldn't hurt too much? Are you failing another and definitely need to focus your efforts there?

Hit the Reset Button

Don't get caught up in the get-caught-up trap.

 If you fall behind on your homework, it's easy to think -- and hope -- that you'll be able to catch up. So you'll set a plan to catch up, but the more you try to catch up, the more you fall behind. If you're falling behind on your reading and are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to start anew. Figure out what you need to get done for your next assignment or class, and get it done. It's easier to cover the material you missed when you're studying for an exam in the future than it is to fall further and further behind right now.

Use Your Resources

Use class and other resources to help make doing your homework more productive and efficient. You might, for example, think that you don't need to go to class because the professor only covers what's already been addressed in the reading.

Not true! You should always go to class -- for a variety of reasons -- and doing so can make your homework load lighter. You'll better understand the material, be better able to absorb the work you do out of class, be better prepared for upcoming exams (thereby saving you studying time and improving your academic performance), and overall just have a better mastery of the material. Additionally, use your professor's office hours or time in an academic support center to reinforce what you've learned through your homework assignments. Doing homework shouldn't just be a to-do item on your list; it should be an essential part of your college academic experience.

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Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Get Your Homework Done in College." ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2017, thoughtco.com/how-to-get-your-college-homework-done-793256. Lucier, Kelci Lynn. (2017, February 11). How to Get Your Homework Done in College. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-get-your-college-homework-done-793256 Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Get Your Homework Done in College." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-get-your-college-homework-done-793256 (accessed November 18, 2017).