The Back-to-School Handbook: 3 Expert Tips on How to Start New Academic Year

Start Your New Academic Year Successfully with These 3 Essential Tips

The end of the summer break might be a bummer for most students; goodbye, free time—hello, studies and homework and exams. But the academic year doesn’t have to mean the end of your freedom. The start of the new academic year is a crucial time to try and implement time-management practices that will make your year smooth and—dare I say—enjoyable. Here are three pieces of advice that focus on How to manage your time during your months of school, to allow you create effective study schedules while still maintaining time for yourself.

1. Goal-Setting: 

Whether you realise it or not, the mad rush to study when exam time rolls around is probably the biggest source of all your stress and demotivation during the entire school year. When it’s time for exams, you know you have a massive portion to complete in a short amount of time, and the idea of studying so much at once tends to be highly stressful, and often inefficient. The simplest solution to making exam season easier for yourself is to make sure you don’t leave all the work for those last few weeks.

In terms of studying, goal-setting involves the creation of a time-based action-plan to manage your studies. This means looking at the sum total of work that you have to finish before your exams, breaking it down into smaller chunks of work, and planning out the date by which you will need to complete each chunk in order to finish on time.

Creating such a plan means that you are forming both long-term and short-term goals for yourself. For instance, you may decide in June that you need to finish studying all of your exam portions for Chemistry by December—this is a long-term goal. In order to schedule your studies in such a way that this can be achieved, you will have to study one chapter of Chemistry a week—this is a short-term goal. Keeping both short- and long-term goals in this way has been proven to increase motivation and commitment, and more importantly, helps to decrease stress massively.

Starting off your academic year with goal-setting is a fantastic way to keep track of your studies, keep yourself motivated throughout the year, and increase your chances of scoring well in examinations. You can simply use a notebook and pen, or even a calendar, to formulate your goals and keep track of your timelines. Alternatively, there are several apps and resources online to help you with goal setting and work-tracking. Regardless of which method you choose, a good way to keep track of your short-term goals is to create daily or weekly to-do lists to ensure that you’re sticking to your goals.

Here are a few useful goal-setting resources:

2. Review Your Day:

This is old advice, but it’s good: don’t wait until the last minute. Following from the previous section on goal-setting, a good study strategy to implement from the very first day of school is to break down your work into bite-sized pieces that you can complete in small doses, so that your studies do not overwhelm you by the time your exams roll around.

One way to break down your work is to match your teacher’s pace. At the end of the school day, take a look at what portions have been covered across all your subjects. All of your subject teachers have likely taught you a few pages’ worth of content each. During your daily study hours, you can focus on simply reviewing or making notes for the topics that were covered on that day.

This method, which is focused on keeping up with your teachers, is a good way to ensure you are on track with all your subjects. It allows you to be finished with studying your portions as and when your teachers finish teaching them, and leaves you with ample time to begin revising when your exams come closer.

3. Revamping Your Workspace:

Your study space—be it a desk, a corner of your room or a nook in your home—is very important to your ability to get work done. For most people, the space in which they work has a significant impact on their productivity, whether they are conscious of it or not. A neat and easily accessible space is much more likely to help you get over those study-time blues and push you to get to work quicker. 

As you begin a new academic year, you may want to step back and evaluate your workspace—does it help you get productive? If your answer is negative or unsure, this is a good time to consider a revamp.

You don’t need a lot of time or effort to carry this out. Giving your desk a makeover is simply a matter of clearing up clutter, rearranging and reorganising. Cutting out clutter is the first step; always make sure your study space is reserved only for your study materials. Having unnecessary things on your desk will only leave your space disorganised and distract you while you try to study. Organising your study materials so that they are easy to access and look tidy is the second and final step—and voila, study time is instantly significantly better.

If you think you are someone whose workspace particularly affects your studies, you could even go a step further and consider sprucing it up a bit. Simple add-ons like a work calendar, a desk lamp or other lighting, or a couple of quote-cards and posters, are small implements that will elevate your workspace and hopefully motivate you to be your best self every day.

Although your desk may seem like a small factor in your studying process, as students, most of us tend to waste the bulk of our time trying to motivate ourselves to begin studying. Starting off your year with an organised and personalised working area, and maintaining it throughout the year, may just be a deciding factor in the amount of time it takes you to stop procrastinating and get to work.


All of these tips are geared towards helping you to optimise your study routines for the best possible outcome, by cutting out time spent on managing stress and procrastinating. Armed with these, we hope you’ll be able to free up time for your other interests and hobbies, and maintain a great study schedule at the same time!


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