Skip to Main Content

Studying Smart: Plan Your Assignments

Plan Your Assignments
If a task or assignment seems too difficult or you don't know where to start, breaking it down into smaller tasks can help make it easier to do. 
An assignment tracker is a document that you can use to break big assignments into smaller, more manageable steps.


Plan Enough Time

Be prepared to invest an average of 2 hours of work for every 5% of your final grade that an assignment is worth.

Start Planning Early

The earlier you start managing your time for an assignment, the easier it will be to complete. Plan out your strategy when you first learn about the assignment (which will often be at the beginning of the semester when you read the syllabus).

Start Your Assignments Early

Start at least two weeks before the due date (if not before). Give yourself plenty of time to complete the assignment properly.

Spread Out the Work

Break your assignment into smaller chunks. Spread the work out instead of doing it all at the last minute.

How to Use the Assignment Tracker

Step 1: Gather Information 

  • If possible, print out a hard copy of the assignment.
  • Read through the entire assignment and take notes as you go
  • Brainstorm ideas for the assignment, including topics and areas to focus on. 

Step 2: Calculate the Assignment Time

Use the chart below to calculate how long you should spend on an assignment. For every 5% of your final grade that the assignment is worth, plan to work for at least 2 hours. 

5% = 2 hours 25% = 10 hours
10% = 4 hours 30% = 12 hours
15% = 6 hours 35% = 14 hours
20% = 8 hours 40% = 16 hours

Step 3: Use the Assignment Tracker

  1. Fill in the beginning of the form with the name of the course, the assignment title and value (found in your syllabus), hours of work needed to complete, and the date it is due. 
  2. In the "Stages" column, create a list of all of the things you will need to do to complete the assignment . 
    • Brainstorming ideas, creating an outline, conducting research, writing a rough draft, etc. 
    • Use one line for each step. 
  3. Give yourself a completing deadline for each task. 
    • Work backwards from the due date to make sure you will finish in time. 
  4. Check off each task as you finish them. 

© 2023 McGovern Library, Dakota Wesleyan University

Email: | Phone: (605) 995-2618 | 1200 W. University Ave, Mitchell, SD 57301