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How to Prepare For the Start of a New Semester

Whether you’re starting a new semester of high school, university, or just taking some extra classes, preparation is the key to success. If you’ve been focusing on your career or taking some time off, getting back into an academic mindset can be difficult. However, there are many steps you can take to make sure your school year starts off on the right foot.

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Review Last Year’s Curriculum

If you’re starting a new degree or taking a short course, you might not have old material to look at. However, if you’re a returning student, take some time to study your notes. You may also want to look at previous projects and exams and re-evaluate how you did. Doing so will refresh your memory, give you the right perspective, and help you feel confident about heading into the start of a new semester.

Set Goals and Boundaries

Setting goals is the best way to work towards academic excellence. Maybe you want to get a better grade in a certain subject or spend more time studying something you’ve been struggling with. Take some time to set short- and long-term goals that will give you direction. However, don’t forget to set some boundaries, too. To avoid burnout, you may want to limit how hard you push yourself and give yourself space to rest.

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Outline Your Schedule and Organizational Plans

Receiving your course outlines beforehand can help you plan your time wisely. Start by taking note of your class hours, due dates, and exam times. From there, outline a study plan that will help you stay on track. For example, do you like to study right after class, or do you prefer to study on your days off with a fresh mind? This can also help you decide on any additional organizational tools you might need, such as an agenda or a filing system.

Purchase Textbooks and Supplies

Before the new semester starts, check to see what you need for your upcoming classes. What books do you need? What tools or supplies will you be using? From there, decide on how you want to go about getting them. For example, do you want to get your textbooks second-hand? Do you want to buy a better calculator or a new planner? You can also familiarize yourself with your reading materials in advance if you want to be completely ready.

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Prepare Your Workspace and Bag

Whether you’re attending classes in person and/or online, your workspace should be clean, organized, and productive. For example, keep your desk clear of clutter and distractions. Make sure your school bag isn’t weighed down by textbooks and study materials from previous semesters. Lastly, take a look at how you organize your digital workspace as well. Your school-related folders and files should be easy to find and navigate.

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

Sleep is essential for helping us to listen, concentrate, and process information. If you had an unusual sleep schedule beforehand, you might find it hard to wake up for your classes. This can affect your ability to focus on your studies and make the most of your education. Before the semester starts, try to take a week or so to slowly transition to your new hours. This might mean going to bed early or setting an alarm to get used to your new wake-up time.

GetSet is a fully digital Canadian community of mentors who provide students the guidance, advice, and support they need to accomplish their academic and professional goals. To learn more, please watch our introductory video.

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