Back to School Basics: 5 Simple Steps

The school year starts and so do the never-ending checklists, supply lists, to-do lists, and helpful tips and tricks for having the ultimate year. Instead of inundating you with another 250 bullet point slideshow, we’ve come up with five simple steps to set you on the right foot for 2021-2022:

  1. Have a standardized planning system. It doesn’t matter what sort of system you like to use: paper calendar, Google calendar, or any number of productivity apps. The important thing is to choose one and stick to it so that everything you could possibly need to know is in one easily referenced location. As soon as you get your syllabi in week one of school, write down all your big test, essay, and project dates so you’ll never be caught off guard. (it’s not a bad idea to add friends’ and family’s birthdays to get yourself some extra brownie points)

  2. Reduce decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the idea that after sustained decision making we grow weary and decisions become harder for us to make well. What is school other than decision making? To cut down on your fatigue, take the guesswork out of your morning. Have a morning routine, create a go-to quick and healthy breakfast, and set your clothing out the night before.

  3. Declutter your life. Sometimes, we all find that we’ve got too much on our plate. Spreading ourselves too thin on a whole bunch of activities that we think we should do prevents us from doing well on the things that we actually need and want to do. Take a look at your commitments and reevaluate whether they’re all actually helping you reach your goals and bringing you happiness or not.

  4. Stay ahead instead of trying to catch up. Being on top of your work when you’ve just finished summer can seem like a total drag, but the academics won’t wait for you to be ready. It is easier to prepare in advance than it is to catch up and backtrack once you’ve already had a bad grade. Take good notes, ask your teachers when you’re confused, create study groups with friends, and sign up for tutoring in particularly difficult subjects. A little extra effort now saves you a lot of effort and panic later.

  5. Integrate spaced repetition into your study schedule. We just wrote a blog on this! Spaced repetition is the “work smarter not harder” of study habits, but it requires planning in advance (see I told you that planner would come in handy). Plan out how early you’ll need to start revising for exams at the beginning of the year so you don’t have to cram overnight when you suddenly realize exams are mere days away.


Wishing you the best of luck in the next school year and hoping to be part of your academic and test prep journey!

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