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Tips on Being Organized in School: Organizing your Planner and More Tips

Updated on January 17, 2012
Planning is a big part of having a successful and well-organized school year.
Planning is a big part of having a successful and well-organized school year. | Source

If you are about to start a new semester and are trying to be organized and stay ahead in your schoolwork, this article will help you set goals and stick to them.

Do you usually start out strong, getting all of your work done on time and keeping up with readings?

In the middle of the semester, do you get tired or lazy and tend to fall behind in your work?

This guide will show you how to stay organized and ahead in your studies while being able to maintain your social life. It explains how to buy and organize a planner, how to stay on track with assignments and never be surprised by any exams, quizzes, tests, essays, papers and readings. If you procrastinated and need help, scroll to the bottom where you will find tips on how to write an essay quickly.

Whether you are in middle school, high school or college, this article will help you maintain your strength throughout the semester and produce quality work that will get you the grade you deserve.

Did you write your assignments in your planner once you got your syllabi or as the assignments came up?

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Have you used a planner for school in the past?

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A Fresh Start: Beginning the New Semester Strong

Whether you scored well last semester, or you really got unorganized and have decided to at least try to stay on track, remember that this is a new semester and another chance to really pull up your GPA. (This guide is also very helpful for those who are beginning to feel the strain of school or "senioritis".)

How to Organize your Planner

Start by purchasing a planner. A planner is a calendar book that allows you to keep track of events, birthdays, and most importantly, your schoolwork. Once you have a planner, collect all of the syllabi (or semester schedules) from your classes and begin to write the homework, tests and papers in the appropriate dates.


Write your homework assignments on the day in which you will do the homework. For example, if you are assigned to read 15 pages of Jane Eyre by October 8th, you will write the following under the date October 7th:

ECLS 290: Read 25 pages of Jane Eyre (Due: 10/8)

The format above is as follows:

[CLASS]: [Assignment] (Due: [Date])

If you have an assignment that you will not be able to complete the night before it is due, use the same format and write it in the date which you will begin the assignment.

For big assignments, set goals for yourself and write them in the planner on the dates you plan to work on them. See the "Goals" section later in the article for more tips on completing large projects or assignments.


For tests and papers, you will want to write a reminder on the date that they are scheduled or due. The format I like to use is much like the following:

ECLS 290: Paper #1 (Jane Eyre) Due

Always put the class first so you know which one it is. It is also helpful to include which paper or test it is by indicating it with a number. If you see that Test #2 is due, you can look back to your first test and find out how to improve your score on the next one.

I also included the topic of the paper (or test) in parentheses because it makes it easy to remember the subject without having to look it up later.

Once you have written all of your assignments in your planner, you will be able to see when you will be busy and when you will have some free time in between major assignments and tests. You will have to set goals for yourself in order to manage your time properly.

Do you set goals for yourself regarding schoolwork?

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Setting Goals and Studying

You may be wondering how organizing your planner and writing down all of your assignments helps you to stay on track during the semester. I am now going to outline how to set goals and make sure that you manage your time correctly.

Setting Goals

Now that you have all of your assignments laid out in your planner, you have the opportunity to plan out when you will begin working on these assignments as well as begin studying for tests and quizzes.

For major exams and tests, you will probably want to begin studying about a week before they are scheduled. Remind yourself to study for them by putting a note in your planner a week before they are scheduled. If you require more or less time, put a reminder on the appropriate date. This method will keep you from being surprised by a paper or test.

For major assignments, projects, papers and presentations, set goals for yourself that can be easily completed. For example, if you have a paper due in two weeks, write different objectives in your planner on dates prior to the due date. Goals can include the following:

  • Write an outline

  • Write a thesis statement

  • Write a conclusion

  • Pick quotes and sources

  • Write the first/second/third section/body paragraph

  • Proofread frist draft

  • Write works cited or bibliography

  • Add footnotes

  • Edit for final draft

  • Print

By creating these different goals, you can easily write a paper without being overwhelmed with all of these objectives at once. By putting a single task on a certain day, you will be able to complete them much faster as well as make time to brainstorm for the next step. This method will also help you to consistently think about your paper, making it easier to write in the end because you have had your mind on it for days before it's due.

Making Time to Study

In the same way that you reminded yourself you work on papers and assignments, you can give yourself a reminder to study for a test, quiz or exam. A week or a couple of days before the test, make goals to study parts of the information you need to know. You can divide your study sections by the following:

  • Chapters
  • Books
  • Subjects
  • Time Periods
  • Weeks (what you studied each week in the class)

By separating your study topics into days and sections, you will be able to give yourself more time to retain the information and organize it by subject in your head. Be sure to write them in your planner to keep you up-to-date and never surprised.


If you already fell behind and need to finish a paper fast, you can read this article, which explains how to complete a paper quickly:


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    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      brittanytodd - excellent advice. Organization of one's life could certainly reduce stress and make us much more effective and disciplined. I teach middle school and we have implemented a calendar planner. The students must carry their planner at all times. We keep an agenda on the wall of assignments, goals and quotes. We set aside time for the students to jot down any required assignments and anything from the agenda. The planner is also used as a hall pass. It includes a sign in and out section. It contains useful information such as events, rules, maps and other resources. Principals and counselors randomly ask students to see their planner and then they strike up conversations about the various lessons. Parents are getting involved too. They initial their child's daily entries to let us know they are keeping up with this endeavor as well. It has worked wonders for us, but it does take a team to keep it implemented.

      Thanks again for sharing - voted up! :)

    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 6 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Thank you, everyone. Teresa and Barry, I hope it comes in handy for you and your children. Simone, I am exactly the same. Thank you all for commenting and reading.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Such good advice. For me, organizing everything really well in planners (and then Google Calendar) made all the difference. That, plus really getting to know teachers and professors (since 50% of a class seems to involve learning about their personal styles and expectations), is my go-to method!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great hub Brittany. I used to give my students similar advice when I taught high school. My middle son is very good at planning his school work schedule. My oldest son could use this article posted on his bulletin board by his computer. Voted up.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      Very useful hub. Although my children are usually pretty good at organising their homework, we’ve had the occasional panic the night before a project is due because it’s been forgotten. I can see that just the simple tip of writing the homework into the day they plan to do the homework could be a big help.

      Thanks for the hub.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Nice Hub Brittany. Next Semester i will put a few of your tips to work on my Uni studies.