College students have a lot on their plate at any given time. Balancing school, clubs, sports, and a job can create a huge amount of stress. This stress can produce poor work in school and consequently, low grades. Lower grades produce more stress, and pretty soon, you’re in a downward mental spiral.

Here are three tips that I have used to drastically reduce my stress and improve my grades.

1. Keep a detailed calendar. A large portion of college students keep no calendar in any form. The result of this error is that deadlines and commitments have to be stored in your memory somewhere. All of these little things bouncing around in your head produce large amounts of stress. Not to mention that you’re very likely to forget something important. A good calendar technique is to write down ALL of your commitments, no matter how small. Once you write down the date when that big test or paper is due, back up week or so and write down the day you need to get started on your studying or writing. This leads right into my next tip.

Relieve Stress in College

2. Start Early. The longer you wait to start on a project or study for a test, the more your stress builds up. I find that starting early helps reduce stress significantly. Split your test studying or paper writing into small, manageable chunks. For example, do your paper research, writing, bibliography, and final editing in different sessions. Spread these out over the week or two before the paper is due. This gives you plenty of time to get it done without the stress of cramming it in the night before. You’re also very likely to get a better grade with this technique.

3. Focus on Study Technique. When you first get to college, it’s tempting to simply do what everyone else does to study for tests – spend the entire night before cramming. These “all-nighters” generally produce very poor results and add significant levels of stress to your life. Resist this urge and develop your own study techniques. Through a process of trial and error, you can discover the study process that works best for YOU. This will produce better results and (you guessed it!) better grades.

These three tips have helped me get better grades in a very difficult major in college. By following these simple techniques, you can drastically reduce your stress and improve your grades.