Iowa Online AP Academy: Staying Organized

Time management and organization are important skills in general, but they are imperative when enrolling in and completing online AP courses. We’ve dedicated many past posts to staying motivated and preparing for online classes because preparation and planning are key components to achieving success in AP online classes. Here are some things to consider as you begin a new year of AP Online courses:

  • Understand expectations: The first step to successful organization is knowing what your instructor expects in terms of course requirements. Make sure you know when tests, quizzes, and assignments are scheduled, and develop a system for keeping deadlines organized (helpful suggestions can be found here). For online AP courses, it is also important to know what your school expects in terms of scheduling and exam requirements—make sure to check with your AP coordinator if these are not clear to you.
  • Set goals—and know what it will take to achieve them: In addition to expectations that others create, make sure to set expectations and goals for yourself as well. This often takes a two-pronged approach—thinking about the big picture and day-to-day goals. First, think about overarching goals—what do you want to gain from your AP class? What do you need to do to get there? Next, set goals for smaller assignments—the day-to-day things that lead up to success in larger goals. Block out time required for studying for tests, writing papers, and completing projects. How does working on these smaller tasks contribute to your “big picture” goal?
  • Make space for studying: It’s often easier to get things accomplished when you have specific time and space dedicated to studying. Setting aside a certain amount of time each day makes accomplishing your goals a priority, and a specific study space helps generate the focus required to make this a reality. Everyone’s study needs are different (this site has a helpful list of things to consider in creating a study space), but aim to use a certain space consistently so that your brain is ready to focus when it’s time to work on AP coursework.
  • Communicate and ask for help: If a course has unclear expectations or you’re struggling to grasp certain concepts, reach out to your course instructor, course mentor, or other instructors and students for help. Even if they don’t have the answer you’re looking for, they may have resources that can help you get there.

Other helpful tips for success in AP courses can be found here.

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