If you have some extra time, get ahead of your work for your new classes by doing some of the work now and getting your head in the game to begin a new course. Get your textbook early and familiarize yourself with it. Network with other students who have had the class or the professor and find out about it. Does he or she give essay exams or short answer questions? Does the professor require a ton of reading or lots of papers for the course? Knowing what to expect will give you a jump start and reduce your anxiety about your new schedule.
Scan your textbook, or read over the first few chapters. Take the pretests in the chapter to see what you already know about the subject. Look at the videos that are often available with the purchase of your textbook that you can find on the publisher’s website.
Sometimes the syllabus is available on line before the course begins. Start the research for the paper that is due. Choose your area of specialization for your project or internship ahead of time.
Review the material that is prerequisite for the course. You may need to review your math skills before the new math course begins. Or you may need to look over statistical terminology before beginning that statistics course.
While many students ignore the goals and objectives for a course, read over them carefully. Once you understand what you should know or understand or do by the end of the course, then you will be ready to learn what you need to and be ready to build on prior learning.
In the rush of completing your prior courses, you may have left your computer files a mess. Organize your documents into a file or send some of the old files away by putting them on a thumb drive or move them to the cloud. If you have to open twenty documents to find the one that had research findings similar to what you need now, you will lose time. You may find it helpful to rename some of your files, so you can locate them easily when you need them again in the future.
While you probably don’t want to look at or even think about that final or research paper from the courses you just finished, do it anyway. Identify the weaknesses noted by the instructor in your writing. Look at errors that you made on that exam, so you can avoid those errors in the future. Take criticisms of your work seriously, and instead of getting angry or upset and negative feedback, use those criticisms as learning opportunities. Finding out what you have done wrong can be a stepping stone to better performance in the future. If your writing has weaknesses in grammar or organization or APA format, take this time to refresh your knowledge so that you will be ready to go when the new class begins. The wise person, and smart student, learns as much from his or her mistakes as successes.