laptop and notebook on desk.

How to Study for an Online Course

Whether you’re in a traditional, brick-and-mortar school or enrolled in online school, studying is the key to success. It’s not always easy and knowing where to start can sometimes be confusing, especially if you’re taking an online class for the first time. Penn Foster has some study strategies to help you make the most of online courses.

Materials: Pen, Notepad, Laptop or Personal Computer.

1. Get organized.

To-Do list with potted plants.

If you’re not organized, any attempt at studying is going to seem more challenging. Whether you can’t find your materials, have a cluttered workspace, or overbooked your time, disorganization can increase your stress. A great way to keep yourself organized is by making a simple investment in a planner. In it, you can maintain a calendar to keep track of dates as well as creating a to-do list so you don’t miss any assignments.

2. Set a schedule.

To-Do notebook with pen.

One of the great things about online schools like Penn Foster is that you can study on your own time from anywhere you choose. With flexible class times, you can incorporate extracurricular activities, work, and family time without having to worry about missing something important. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep a schedule, though. Setting aside a specified amount of time each day to complete your work can help ensure everything is completed in a timely manner. It also helps you use your allotted time more productively.

3. Limit distractions.

Open laptop, notebook, and pen.

With family, work, and school obligations, it’s hard to not get distracted at times, especially when completing online classes. However, there are some easy tips to keep distractions at a minimum. For instance, eliminate temptations like cell phones by silencing them or removing them from your study space completely. Keep your study space far from attention-grabbers like television or busy areas of the house. But, if you feel yourself losing the ability to pay attention (which happens to us all), don’t be afraid to step away for a moment. While you don’t want to have constant distractions looming over you, it is ok sometimes to take a moment to get up and stretch or go for a quick walk to refresh your brain and refocus your attention.

4. Take notes.

Woman taking notes at desk.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, but a simple, tried-and-true study strategy is to take notes. Though notetaking has been around as long as studying itself, this tip for online classes works especially well because you can pause your videos and lectures to complete your notes without missing any other important information. Not only do notes give you something to which you can refer back, but handwriting or typing the information again helps commit it to memory.

5. Set goals.

Typewriter with goals list.

Even the best, brightest students can feel overwhelmed by schoolwork. You might look at your schedule or coursework and think it’s impossible. Approach it by taking it a step at a time. Break down bigger assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks while setting a goal for yourself to reach. These can be big or small, but either way they will encourage you to persevere. Accomplishing any goal can make the next task seem less daunting while instilling a sense of self-confidence. Reward yourself for a job well done to celebrate your accomplishment and motivate you to continue.

No matter what stage of life you’re in or what study style you have, Penn Foster offers affordable, accredited programs designed to accommodate a variety of learning styles and schedules. Once you’ve started your course, there are additional resources that are course-specific to help you make the most of your program. Work towards your first goal by calling the Admissions team at 1-888-427-6500 or enroll online today.