How to Successfully Prioritize Your School This Upcoming Semester


JoElle Coats, Staff Writer

Do you want to know how to have a successful last semester? If so, I have a few tips for you on how you can stay on track throughout the semester while maintaining a stable mental health.

If you are already behind, the obvious thing would be to tell you to catch up. But how?


Step 1: Make a plan.

Now, I can’t tell you exactly how to make your plan but I can tell you some tips to make a plan that’s suited for you. For iUniversity Prep students, our schedules are pretty flexible so we have the advantage of being able to choose which subjects we do each day. Personally, I only do 1-2 subjects per day (the whole week’s worth of that subject in 1 day). 

So, every day I do a different subject but, with math, I split it up into several days. This schedule has worked successfully for 2 years. It helps keep my ADHD under control by only focusing on these certain subjects. I definitely recommend the people that are struggling with or want to improve their productivity to try this method.   


Tips to this successful plan:

  • First, figure out which subject you are most behind in and the subject that takes the longest for you to do. For me, this would be Math and English.
  • Plan to do your most time-consuming subjects in the morning 
  • Commit to just Starting; Tell yourself, “I’m only gonna do 1 lesson to start with”

 This will make you start the task and lead you to do more lessons.

(I promise, starting is the hardest part but once you start, you’ll feel so much better.)

After you get that one subject done (not one lesson but at least 2-3), treat yourself to something you enjoy. This could be an episode of a show or maybe just a nice time outside to refresh your brain. It could even be your favorite snack (be careful with this though, stress can cause overeating and we don’t want to get into those habits). After you’ve finished the day, write all the lessons you have left to do on a piece of paper. This helps to see just how many lessons you need to complete.


Example: Say you have three history lessons, two math lessons, and four science lessons. You would write the hardest/longest lesson for each subject first. 

  • History test
  • History quick check
  • History quick check #2
  • Math quiz
  • Math quick check
  • Science portfolio
  • Science quiz
  • Science quick check
  • Science quick check #2

(Notice how it’s organized by subject. Again, this may not work for you but it works great for me, so, give it a try.)

Upon seeing this list, your brain may go into panic mode, which is actually what you want it to do. This will trigger those procrastination fighters that will help you complete these lessons. And, as a bonus, after you check each one off, you’ll feel quite a bit motivated. If you can’t commit to doing this everyday, then just write out everything for the week. So, include both overdues and upcoming lessons for the entire week.


Step 2: Reach out to your teachers

Although this is not required, I would highly encourage you to reach out to your teachers to tell them the plans you’ve made to catch up. This will create a connection with them, leading to a higher chance of success and will also let them know you care.


Now, let’s get onto a more serious topic: Staying on track 

Assuming you’re caught up (or not depending on whether my non-existent humor made you stay to read more without completing all your work or not), let’s get you to your next goal.


  1. Overlook all the assignments for the week

 Similar to the list you made to catch up, recreate this list for the whole week. Every time you complete a lesson, you will not only feel better, your brain will want to do more upon seeing the long to-do list.


  1. Complete the hardest lessons on Monday. (If you’re not a Monday fan, here’s why you should be one).

Once you complete these lessons you just have the easier ones left. You know the saying, “Save the best for last”? Yeah, that kind of concept.


  1. As I always tell people, your health really does come first.

So, please take breaks if needed. This can be anything from crafting to doing a sport. Do whatever you LIKE and don’t focus on the schoolwork for that moment. (I would say no more than 20 min). AFTER the break go right back to your lessons!


If you have extracurriculars:


Play a sport? Play an instrument? Involved in a club? Whatever the case may be, this will also be something to take into account when planning for your day. How long will you practice? By engaging in these extracurriculars, you should automatically know that you will have less free time. But, at the same time, you still need to complete your school. Let’s say you have practice in the morning. Well, depending on what time it’s at, you may be able to finish a lesson or two beforehand. Basically, just figure out the times for these activities and then do school work around these times. Keep in mind, NO technology until you complete what you need to. I’m sorry but this is a fact, you can’t do your best if you have technology around you. After you complete the important stuff, you can and should reward yourself. (This is when you can incorporate things like technology, but I still recommend waiting until all lessons you need to complete are complete)

REMEMBER: If you need help, ASK FOR IT! You’re not expected to know everything in life, therefore that’s what teachers are here for, to help guide you.


Extra tips:

  • Start work first thing after breakfast: This is the time when your brain will be the freshest and you will finish earlier!
  • Go by this rule: Work first then playtime, so you can actually enjoy the rest of the day after your work is finished. This is what prioritizing your time is: Getting the required work done so you can have the privileges of watching shows or being on social media.
  • The main mistake I see students make is thinking that they can do well in school but not putting it first in their daily lives. What I mean by this is they stay on social media or watch shows all day and expect the work to do itself. Don’t worry, I’m tempted to do that too. But, if you really want to succeed, schoolwork needs to be first in your head because, after all, things like social media or video games are privileges.
  • Eat throughout the day. During the short breaks is when you should be practicing self-care, meaning you should be eating healthy and providing your body with plenty of water.


Okay, so obviously I can’t exactly tell you how to be successful. However, these are my tips to make school a bit easier. NOW, it’s up to you to put it into action and play with what works for you. I promise you can do it, you just need to prioritize your time! Let’s get this upcoming semester taken care of!