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June 4, 2018

3 Tips for Unprepared Students

What are the best ways to prepare yourself for assignments and weekly gatherings?

While I attended secondary school, no sentence made my heart sink lower than, “Alright, everybody pass up your homework.” My eyes would widen with panic as I looked through my backpack, pretending to search for my homework that I knew wasn’t really there.

What I now realize is I came to class unprepared almost every day — with little desire to learn.   

However, in the years that followed, I learned quite a bit about the importance of being prepared for class. When I applied these principles into my school work, learning became much less of a burden and more of a joy in my life.

Although it may be difficult, prioritize time with homework assignments to make sure they’re finished on time.

Here are some ways to keep yourself prepared in online courses:

1. Mentally and Physically Organize Yourself

You come home from a long day of work and sit down at your computer to finish some assignments. As you log on, you remember your long list of chores left undone around the house. For the rest of your study session, your mind keeps returning to that list, and you can’t seem to get your mind in the right place to learn.

It’s easy to become mentally unorganized, but this can be resolved by preparing your mind before starting your coursework or walking into a PathwayConnect gathering.

Decide beforehand that you’re going to learn. Periodically remind yourself why you enrolled in the first place. Be mentally prepared and set achievable goals for yourself as you continue through your work.

Along with being mentally organized, take time to put your supplies and files in order. With all the coursework a student has to complete, sometimes it’s easy to let your materials, notes, and computer files become cluttered.

2. Be Involved

In secondary school, if a teacher ever said something I didn’t understand, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get clarification. If I understood a concept but saw somebody who didn’t, I wouldn’t try to help them. I didn’t make an effort to be involved in class discussions, thinking that I could catch what I missed later.  

It’s important to come to the gathering prepared to be involved.

Being actively involved in PathwayConnect gatherings and online course discussions is crucial. If you’ve ever led a class discussion before, you know how it feels to have little participation from the students. However, when students raise their hands with thoughtful input or applicable questions, the lesson runs smoothly. This principle also applies to online discussion boards.

Come to gatherings and discussion boards prepared to be involved. After completing coursework, write down questions you might have about the material that you can ask your online instructor or mention in your gathering. Having a solid understanding of the course material can also help those who need help with the subject.

3. Finish Assignments

Growing up, the first thing I wanted to do when I got home from school was relax and distract myself from my problems in classes. Watching television seemed much more appealing than opening my books and completing homework. Laziness became the number one issue for me as I moved through school.

Set apart a specific time during the day solely dedicated to completing your assignments.

Completing coursework isn’t easy; many students are juggling church callings, careers, and active family lives, so placing a few college courses on top of that is enough to instantly discourage a student. However, not completing coursework is one of the more disadvantageous things you can do for yourself as you work to earn your degree.

The answer is simple: just do it. The more you put work off, the more you worry about it. Set apart a specific time during the day solely dedicated to completing your assignments. No matter what, stick to this schedule! It’s tempting to set an assignment aside to watch a movie or be with friends; but when you finish, you’ll be glad that your assignments are complete and submitted.

Finding Success in Online Courses

Being prepared for your courses and gathering each week takes effort and time, but it’s worth it. In the end, your experience will run much smoother, and your stress level will decrease. Prioritize time with your courses and gatherings and you will find much success as an online student.

Learn more about other study skills and dropping bad habits at byupathway.lds.org.

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