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Managing your academic workload

A student sits at a desk and takes notes.

Even if you love your subjects, there may be times where you feel overwhelmed by how much work you have to get through. Follow these tips to keep on track with your studies.

Make a study timetable

When you think about all the work you need to do, you might feel overwhelmed and start to worry. This can be helped by creating a plan of exactly when you will study.

If your university or college gives you a breakdown of each module you’re doing in the upcoming semester, note down when your lectures, classes, assignment due dates and exams are. This will give you a picture of when you will be in lessons and when you will need to study each section of content.

Then work out when you will be free to study. Consider whether you will have a job or other commitments when doing so.

At this point, you can start filling in a study timetable for the semester ahead using a diary or calendar. Alternatively, you can make plans on a shorter-term basis, perhaps scheduling when you will study throughout the coming two weeks.

It is important when making a study timetable to schedule in free time to relax or hang out with friends. Dedicating too much time to completing your academic work will make you feel all-consumed by it if you manage to stick to the timetable or make you feel disappointed in yourself if you don’t.

Set goals

Once you have your timetable, you now have to try and stick to it. A good way to do this is by setting realistic goals.

These could be smaller goals like being able to list off a set of vocabulary you need to know for language class by the end of a particular study session or larger goals like achieving a certain grade in an exam.

Having a clear aim in mind will motivate you to get through your homework, essay writing and revision. Goals will also help to keep your studying on track as you will have a clearer idea of what exact steps you need to take in order to achieve them.


As much as we aim to stick to our plans, life gets in the way and you may miss study sessions or even miss lessons. This is okay and it is not too late to get back on track.

If you find yourself to be overloaded with work, it is important to prioritize. Think about which piece of academic work is the most important right now. For example, if one of your modules has an imminent exam but you had already planned to catch up on a lecture this evening, change your study timetable to allow yourself time to study for the exam.

As much as we aim to do all the work we set out to do, very few people are perfect students, so do not be hard on yourself if you end up only doing what is a top priority for a while.

Have a dedicated workspace

Whether you are learning online or in a classroom, having a dedicated study space can help you focus.

If you are working at a desk at home, keep it tidy and organised. To avoid getting distracted, put your phone at the other side of the room and have all the drinks and snacks you need within reach before you begin. Make sure you have all the correct notes ready and you know what you are going to work on when you sit down.

Having a dedicated work area enables you to make a distinction between your personal space and your study space, allowing you to relax when not studying. If you are working on a table that you use for other things, such as the kitchen table, put all of your books and learning materials away in a drawer so you do not have to think about them in your free time.

Connect with your classmates

To make the most of your time on your course, connect with those going through the same experience. You have chosen to study your program because you are interested in its subject matter and that is the same for others enrolled in it. You might find that you have a lot in common with classmates and they can become great study partners or even friends!

Studying at university or college is a quite uniquely positioned situation in that it enables you to connect with people from all over the world and from all backgrounds. As well as succeeding in your academic work, a key part of being a student is engaging with different people, so make sure you take advantage of it now.

Reaching out to your fellow students will help you manage your studies because they will be facing the same challenges on your course as you are. You can share knowledge, engage in discussions about your subjects and study together.

Talk to your tutors

Helping students is precisely what your tutors are there for. You may not want to bother them by asking small questions or asking for support but they will be ready to support you in any way.

You are only a student for a limited amount of time, so why not take advantage of every source of help you have? You teachers will want to see you succeed and will like that you are showing an interest in their subject.

If you have a problem with your workload or have something going on in your life that is preventing your full commitment to studying, they will be open to listening and helping you. Together you can work through a solution that enables you to not fall behind.

Be kind to yourself

Lastly, be kind to yourself. Managing your academic workload can be difficult and it is understandable if you fall behind or do not meet the expectations you have set for yourself.

Studying is not always easy, even if you are doing a course in a subject you love, so use slip-ups as a learning curve on how to study a little better next time.

Enroll at Eton University and choose from a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

1 Comment

Mar 08, 2022

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