How to keep up with programming classes in college

Recently a reader sent me a message saying that she’s studying computer science and although she admires the complexity of websites and cellular games, the biggest struggle which she is currently facing is keeping up with everything that she is learning.

Anyone who has taken programming classes in college knows that it can be a burden keeping up with the syllabus, especially if the professors go through the material in light speed. I’ve had this experience before when I was taking two programming classes, as well as three other hard engineering subjects, where my lecturers were just rushing through the course syllabus.

So here the steps I used to keep up to date with programming classes in College which helped kept me from not burning out in the semester.

1. Write out the list of concepts/tasks you need to catch up on

Get it all down on paper on what you need to finish like lectures to watch, quizzes to do, coding practice drills and papers to write up.

2. Time Block a couple of hours in your day

Time Blocking is a useful tool that I first read about in Cal Newport’s book, How to be a straight A student. The reason why time blocking is useful is because you are planning out your focus. You might need to say no to a couple of other commitments including part time work or social events in order to get that extra time to catch up on your workload.

3. Focus on the important stuff with the 80/20 Rule

If you unfamiliar with the pareto principle, it dictates roughly that 80% of the causes comes from 20% of the results. The way we can apply this is by focusing on the important concepts in programming that you need to understand. Trying to learn every detail in programming will leave you chained to your desk and learning unnecessary things.

4. Execute

Now that you have gotten your plan, time blocked a couple of hours in your day and follow the 80/20 Rule, start to execute your plan on what you need to catch up done and make sure you get it all done.

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