10 Ways to Catch Up Academically on the Weekend

by Sarah Adams

Too many students are overwhelmed by their first breath of freedom. With dropout rates at 30% after just one year at university . We've put together some tips to help you prepare for exams all year round.

Your workload will include taking notes in lectures (pro tip: write them longhand) (pro tip: don't say "pro tip"), reading at least a hundred pages per week per course, and preparing for exams. As you adjust to balancing your priorities in a new environment, you may find yourself falling behind. Here are some ways to catch up during those precious free 48 hours between classes.


Take the time to note everything that you have to accomplish, and make certain that you are using your time wisely.

Make a list

This will give a sense of control: no matter how long, your list is finite, and you can cross items off of it, one at time, until you are through.

Prioritise the items on the list

Once you have written out everything you have to get done, examine each item to determine which are the most important. Consider: if you only had the time to finish three things on the list, which would they be? Then rank all the other accordingly. Check yourself throughout the weekend to make sure that you are working on a high priority task.

Establish your reading method

If you're behind in non-fiction, consider skimming. Get familiar with SQ4R: survey, question, read, record, recite, and reflect.

Get selective

If you've fallen behind with a test or exam looming on Monday, you just might not have time to cover all the relevant material in sufficient detail. Make informed decisions about what material you can cover: review the course outline, talk to students who took the same course, and look up old tests and exams to see what was previously considered important.

Take a break

You can keep from getting too stressed by taking a short break (five to ten minutes) on the hour. The overall boost to your productivity means that you get more done than if you had worked straight through.


If you lose too much sleep, you lose the information that you frantically tried to remember. If you have a regular sleep schedule, keep it. If you don't, get one.

Have a treat

Plan either a healthy indulgence when you reach certain goals or a larger reward when you complete them.

Join a team

You cannot possibly be the only student who has fallen behind. If a friend or room-mate is in the same situation, hold one another accountable and enjoy your rewards together.

Stay honest

No degree of potential academic failure justifies plagiarizing, buying a paper, or cheating on the test. Expulsion is among the consequences.Next time, get help for the weekend before the weekend. If you see this train coming, or experience one or two stressful weekends, seek out available programs at your school. Most colleges offer guides that introduce you studying, offer note-taking suggestions, or teach stress reduction or time management. Personal and academic counselling are also available. Too many jammed weekends can lead to a wasted semester. Checking these services out sooner instead of later will save you time and grief.