How to Handle Homework Efficiently

by Karen Palmer on October 2016


Homework can be your nemesis if you don’t find the focus and the energy to see every assignment through. After all, many a student has rocked both midterm and final exams and never missed a single day of class, yet still somehow ended up barely passing, simply because homework assignments became an afterthought.

There’s really no magic formula to handling homework. Honestly—the trick is that there’s no trick: simply keep careful track of what’s expected, then execute. That’s it! The tips to follow, though, offer a few more valuable insights toward absolute success in this part of the academic experience. And make no mistake about it—when it comes to homework, there is no way around, only through. Tackle homework assignments head-on. Don’t procrastinate and don’t cut corners.

Block Time

Most homework assignments are manageable and sometimes even interesting! The biggest barrier to getting the work done is setting aside time—and we’re often our own worst enemy on that front. So, first things first: block time! Treat homework like a part-time job, where certain hours of each day are set aside specifically to manage anything a teacher might toss your way during the week. Be vigilant about the schedule: in order to work efficiently, you’ll need a no-distractions environment where you can focus, start to finish. And remember: with proper concentration, most homework assignments don’t take as long as they’re projected to!

Read the Instructions

Another no-brainer starting point is to read the teacher’s instructions. And then read them again. How about one more pass through the details, just for good measure? Only once a person fully understands the homework assignment parameters can he or she be successful in completing it efficiently—and per the teacher’s standards. Nothing wastes more time than having to go back to re-do or correct parts of a homework assignment, simply because little attention was paid to the important details before starting. Another thought about being more efficient? A person can trim minutes or even hours off of a homework session by knowing ahead of time what sources are appropriate—and even more importantly, knowing what sources may be off-limits. Be certain you have on hand, or access to, the supporting reference material.

Question the Homework

No, no—don’t question the validity of the assignment. Rather, after you’re thoroughly acquainted with what’s expected, throw these two questions at it: 1) What about this interests me, and 2) What about this homework exercise will prove valuable to me? It’s imperative to be honest here: don’t dismiss this part simply because you’re frustrated or because you’ve convinced yourself that the teacher’s homework assignment is just busy work. Drill down and be truthful on these fronts. Recognize that the homework is meaningful and that indeed you may develop or refine some significant skills by completing it—and completing it on time. No doubt you’ll be just a tad bit more motivated to dive in if you’ve recognized and defined the value of the task at hand.

Consider Collaboration

One really smart strategy for managing homework efficiently is to ask about working together with a classmate or classmates. This can help a student cover more academic ground, which could mean that homework results are even more comprehensive (and more impressive). It’s a proven fact that there is nothing like collaboration to inject some enthusiasm into even the most mundane of school work.