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As a student at Queensborough Community College, you will find that the responsibilities you have in college are vastly different from those you faced in high school. You must make important decisions about your education, including your major, sequence of classes, electives, class schedules and study habits. With all the time that you must devote to these things, you must still find time to meet other obligations in your life, as well as maintain a social life. Managing your time effectively can be the most important thing you learn to do as a “master student.” Just as you make a budget to allocate your moneyto the different things you must buy, you should make a budget to allocate your limited time. You shouldremember two important things: time is your most valuable possession because once it is past, it is gone forever, and a schedule is useful only if it is realistic and is used. Here are some guidelines that you will find helpful in creating your own schedule. Use them as they are or adapt them to your personal style.

PLAN about two hours of study time for each hour of class time. Remember that you are expected to do many more things on your own than you were in high school.

STUDY difficult subjects first. The more difficult subjects require the most energy and attention, and everything after that will seem easy.

AVOID cramming, all-nighters and any marathon study sessions. Retention and productivity are greatly increased when study sessions are kept under three hours.

STUDY during the time of day when you are most productive. Some people are morning people, others are night owls. Go with your personal preferences.

REVIEW class notes or readings while waiting for the bus, train, or your next class, etc. These 5 to 30- minute sessions may not seem like much, but they add up quickly and are otherwise wasted.

BE SURE that those you live with understand your study schedule and respect it. Small constant intrusions can undermine your study time.

USE a “Do Not Disturb” sign. At the very least, it saves you the time of explaining to possible interrupters that you are busy.

BE HERE NOW. This means keeping your mind on what you are doing and concentrating on it. For example, when you are listening to a lecture — don’t read a paper. When you read a book — read a book; don’t think about your weekend plans.

MAKE a daily to-do list. Prioritize the most important things with an ‘A.’ ‘A’ includes all those activities that must be done in the very near future. The ‘B’s on your list are important but not crucial. They become ‘A’s in a few days. The ‘C’s on your list are those tasks that could be done at any time, like shopping for a new jacket. Try to avoid ‘C fever’ — doing those quick, easy ‘C’ tasks while your ‘A’s get continually neglected.

Adapted from “Becoming a Master Student” by David Ellis

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