get ahead before you fall behind

Welcome to week 2!

Tip #1: Get yourself organized

One of the most valuable things you can do before the school year begins is to get yourself organized. Starting off with a clean slate will allow you to feel less stressed and better prepared to take on the new year.

Creating a Schedule

With the fall semester being online, it can be easier to forget about things like classes, due dates, and meetings. That's why it is so important to have either a physical agenda or online planner to keep you on track.

Here are a couple links to some of our favourite places where you can purchase physical agendas

Indigo Walmart

Staples McMaster Campus Store

If your prefer to use an online planner, we recommend using Google Calendar. Through Mosaic, you can synch your timetable directly to your Google Calendar by clicking on the "Copy Timetable to Google" tab. This will copy your entire timetable to your google calendar as well as colour code all of your classes and automatically set reminders for 30 minutes before each class.

Preparing for your First Class

In addition to getting your schedule ready, it can be helpful to know what to expect coming into your first class. Many professors will post either a syllabus or breif introduction to the course on Avenue to Learn in the week leading up to the first day of classes. You can also look up your professor on Rate My Professors to find out how past students enjoyed their class, as well as any tips and tricks they may have used to acheive success.

Tip #2: Study smarter, not harder

A major key to being academically successful in university is knowing how to study effectively. While mastering the art of studying isn't easy, by finding the right resources, you will be on your way to success in no time.

Tip #3: Balance is key

Although devoting time to your academics is important, make sure to equalize this with time for yourself so you can maintain a healthy school, work, and life balance.

It can be challenging to stay motivated to work hard throughout the school year, especially when classes are online. To check out some tips for staying motivated with online learning from the McMaster Student Success Centre

To help you stay on task and track your habits throughout the day, check out the Flora App

Feeling sluggish during a long day of classes and school work? Check out these 14 Study Snacks to help your power through your day.

To help keep yourself feeling energized and sharp, it's important to keep your body moving throughout the day. To take a look at some excersises you can do even at your desk, click the link HERE

Tip #4: Looking into exchange

Check out McMaster Global for further information on exchange at McMaster, including application dates and requirements, information session dates, eligibility requirements and access to see the host universities you can study at!

We highly recommend that you look into exchange even if you think this may be something that would fit well with your professional and personal goals, but are not sure. The application asks you to create a budget and research different bursaries and scholarships that you are eligible for which helps determine whether this would be financially possible. You can always apply and decide after you receive your nomination, if this is something you want to commit to.

Tip #5: Help your future self thrive

Help your future self by staying on track and preparing for future tasks and deadlines in advance.

Prepare for Exams in Advance

The best way to prepare for exams is by keeping track of what you learned throughout the semester instead of leaving all of the preparation to the last minute.

  • Consistently add questions to a Quizlet deck, especially ones from topics you may have struggled with, so that when exam season comes around, you will already have a resource to review from ready to use
  • Keep your notes organized and up to date so that when it's time to review, you won't have to waste any time searching for them
  • Organize your time by creating a study schedule for the week leading up to your exam

Using your Calendar

Here are some tips to effectively use your calendar to organize your day-to-day life:

  • Once you receive your syllabus/course outline, immediatly record any important due dates and exam/test dates in your calendar and set reminders for yourself to be at least a week in advance of these tasks
  • Look at your schedule and set aside a realistic amount of time to study each day, that way you won't have to play catch up on the weekends and you will be less likely to fall behind
  • To make the most of each class, make note of which topics/chapters are going to be taught each week on you calendar, so you can be well prepared


Do you have any questions about the topics covered this week? Let us know by filling out our google form.