3 Tips to Stay on Top of Assignments in a Quarter System

Student, California State University of Los Angeles

Apr   2016



Have you decided to attend a college that is under the quarter system? If so, are you prepared for what it takes to be in a fast-paced learning environment? In a quarter system, as opposed to a semester system, the year is divided into four quarters (fall, winter, spring, and summer) of which three quarters make up the academic year. (The summer quarter is optional.)

As a college student who attends a university under the quarter system, I understand the feeling of being given a large amount of work that must be completed in a short amount of time. There are professors out there who will pack as much material as they can in the span of 10 weeks. So here are three tips that I have followed to keep myself afloat:

1. Be mentally prepared on the first day of class

Professors may or may not give an introduction before beginning the lecture, which may cover a few chapters. Since there is a lot of material to cover, some professors will only take a few minutes going over the syllabus (and maybe their expectations of their students) in their courses before jumping into whatever they should be teaching. Ideally, it would be best to have your books by the first day so you can follow along. It’s okay not to have your books yet, but take extensive notes so when your books do arrive, you will have something to look back on. For example, in a general science course, if the professor starts lecturing about the scientific method in Chapter 1, it would be a good idea to jot down the page number and other references.

2. Get a feel for the professor’s style of teaching

Every professor is different, just as every student is different. Some professors lecture orally and others use technology-mediated instructions. Perhaps the professors you have do a little of both. During the first week, try and get a feel for what the professor is like running the course. If the professor offers resources to supplement the lectures, like outlines or PowerPoint slides, take advantage of the opportunity given. On the other hand, if the professor solely gives her lecture orally, then it might be best to take good notes on what she says. Alternatively, you can ask the professor for permission to use a recorder in class.

3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

The countdown begins as soon as the first day of the quarter starts. This means there is little wiggle room to catch up on assignments if you fall behind. It is best not to overload yourself with too many classes, because each class is going to take up a good amount of your attention if you want to do academically well.

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About Tiffany Wong

From Cal State L.A., Tiffany is a student writer for CollegeXpress and supports the idea that education should be for everyone.