Global Business School for Health


How to stay on top of classwork

22 November 2023

Master staying on top of classwork with tips from our student ambassador, Andria: attend lectures, find your productive spot, and use lists for organisation. Discover how to balance lectures, assignments, and self-care.

How to stay on top of classwork

Let’s all agree that staying on top of classwork and lectures, to be exact, isn’t as simple as it seems. In my experience with both degrees, the first few weeks are the toughest since settling in doesn’t just mean organising your house and getting used to the changes. The most challenging part of ‘settling in’ is getting into a productive mindset after three months of vacation back home. 

Starting with the basics and not skipping lectures each week is critical to staying on track with your work, and since each week is built on the previous one, this helps with staying on top of everything and learning efficiently. When I skipped last week’s lectures, I felt lost walking into my seminar the following week. Always try to do the ‘easy’ classes at the beginning, motivating you to complete the harder and longer ones by the end of the week. Staying on campus is critical since I hate working alone at home. If you are like me, going to the library after a seminar or even just going to campus to work in the library makes my days very productive. If you do that, you also have fantastic things to do during a well-deserved break from studying. Pro tip: Find a lovely coffee shop, park, or street you would like to visit during your holidays (or shopping!!!!). You can get an excellent warm coffee or a snack to boost your energy. For those who prefer studying at home, always take breaks, make snacks and do not alienate yourself to the point where looking becomes torture. Pro tip: always have your favourite snacks at home when you have work. 

If staying home or locking yourself in a library doesn’t work, cute, artsy cafes are the way to go. Thankfully, London has many cute coffee shops, one for every taste and preference. Wake up, get ready and stroll around beautiful London until you find your spot, get a coffee and a snack and get cracking. Pro tip: study dates at coffee shops are the most enjoyable form of studying (in my opinion). Once you figure out what works for you and makes you productive, stay consistent. Don’t waste a week being lazy while you cram the next one with double the studying and the stress! The only way I can be constant (from a master procrastinator) is by making a list in a cute planner that I overpaid for in Waterstones. This might sound cliché and boring, but making a list where I can check the box when I finish a lecture or an assignment incentivises me to get things done. If it’s not a cute planner, it can be a Google calendar or a whiteboard. Whatever it is, lists make you feel more organised and put together, giving you the incentive you need. Pro tip: the Agenzio planner with dotted lining works wonders for me. 

When balancing lectures and classwork with summative assignments and submissions, you must set your priorities straight. This works differently for everyone, but in my four years of university, I always like to ensure I cover the material included in the assignments and then give the job my full attention. Even if that means falling behind on lectures and classwork, I like to finish my project first to ensure I don’t miss the deadline, which brings me to my next point. Even though we all do it, try not to get overwhelmed when work stacks up. Having a massive job sounds scary, but you will eventually do it. Stressing yourself out will distract you from your work and make you less efficient. Pro tip: if needed, have a stress meltdown, and then get cracking. If you cannot catch up during university hours, remember that reading week is right around the corner. Some say that reading week is a chance to relax and reset before returning, but for me, reading weak is the equivalent of ‘time to put my head down and catch up with everything’. 

Overall, the university is not a walk in the park; all students know it and trust me, our professors also realise it. Never hesitate to contact professors or coursemates if you need help. Don’t try and do the impossible by overcrowding your days while experiencing massive amounts of stress. Ask a friend to help you with the lecture notes or ask a professor to give you a ‘week off’ seminar work or even extensions if needed. Asking for help to get back on your feet and not burn out during the first semester doesn’t mean you are not cut out for the job or aren’t good enough. Sometimes, we all need a small break! So, if you are falling behind (like myself), take a big breath, make a cute list, find a spot that works for you, and do your work as efficiently as possible, slowly and steadily! Good luck to everyone!