Five back to school organisation tips to start your semester off right

Kickstart your new semester with these five useful organisation tips.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 5 May 2021, 1:27 PM

The new semester has begun for polytechnic students. 

Life as a student is tough when you have to cope with many responsibilities. Staying organised will help you keep track of all your responsibilities so that you don’t end up feeling stressed or overwhelmed halfway through the semester.

Here are five organisation tips that can help make your school year a breeze.

1. Use a digital planner

If you are a busy student, it is undoubtedly hard to manage all of your different activities. 

Having a planner is an effective way to keep track of everything in one place – such as assignments, important test dates and extracurricular activities. Write down your general weekly planner that includes what needs to be done each day of the week.

Stick to one planner to keep track of all of your important dates and events. Having multiple planners will only confuse you and make you miss out on an important date.


Notion has a variety of templates available for you to choose from. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM NOTION


Using digital productivity app Notion will help organise your life as it acts as a consolidated planner for everything. The app features task lists, study trackers, and the ability to create schedules. 

Don’t forget to include healthy habits in your planner such as engaging in moderate to physical activity three to four times per week, and getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Following a routine will help you stay focused on your schoolwork and remain productive.

2. Keep your items in one folder

If your course requires you to deal with paper, an expanding file folder helps to organise all of your loose papers into one place. The extra dividers in the folder allow you to separate your course materials based on the different modules so that you can easily find the notes during class time.


An expanding file folder helps to store all of your paperwork in one place so that you won’t have random loose papers in your bag. PHOTO CREDIT: ANETE LUSINA VIA PEXELS


Colour-code the tab of each divider to represent the different modules you are taking for the semester. For example, red represents a math-related module, blue represents a science-related module and yellow represents a design-related module.

Colour-coding will make finding your notes easier as you can quickly flip to the colour representing the module and take out the necessary papers at a glance.

3. Prepare your clothes for the week

From the moment we wake up, we have to make several decisions including what time to leave the house, what to have for breakfast and what to pack for school. 

To eliminate decision fatigue, planning your outfits ahead of time will help to reduce the morning stress and ensure that you arrive at school on time. 


Laying out the clothes you plan to wear for each day of the week helps eliminate decision fatigue. PHOTO CREDIT: IHOR RAPITA VIA PEXELS


Pre-planning your outfits for the week helps you get out the door in the morning without any added stress. Moreover, it gives you more room and willpower to make other important decisions throughout the day.

4. Use sticky notes

If you have questions or doubts during class, don’t wait till the very last minute to clarify with your lecturers. Instead, use sticky notes to jot down anything that you may not understand regarding the class material you’ve just learnt.


Sticky notes are a great way for you to jot down any questions you might have during class. PHOTO CREDIT: MARTIN BJORK VIA UNSPLASH


At the end of each lecture, collate all of your doubts and consult your lecturer immediately so that you walk out of class understanding every single concept covered. 

You can also use sticky notes to summarise the main learning points from each tutorial or lecture. Collect the sticky notes at the end of each lecture by pasting them onto your notebook, and you will be able to review the concepts quickly before your tests.

5. Take organised notes

If your lecturer requires you to take down notes for each class, don’t simply scribble your notes on a loose piece of paper. Get yourself a notebook that you will use to jot down class notes for the entire semester.

Try the Cornell Note Taking method, a full-proof method developed by Professor Walter Pauk from Cornell University. This method is effective as it encourages students to summarise the notes in their own words. Reviewing content before tests will be made easy as the content is summarised on the same page beside the topics.

By following these organisation tips and applying them consistently, you will be one step closer to achieving your goals in the new academic year. Good luck!

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