During my Fall, 2015 semester at the University of Utah I took 7 classes for a total of 23 credits.
I was also in leadership at my fraternity, part of student government, taking an internship, a member of two other clubs, and working a part-time job.
Needless to say, it was a busy semester.
But, despite all of those responsibilities I never missed an assignment or exam because I discovered this one simple technique: The Master Syllabus.
In this article you’ll learn what The Master Syllabus is and how to use it so that you always remember your homework and never forget an assignment, exam, or quiz ever again! (there may even be a free template at the end, wink, wink.)
This technique works for all education levels: high school, college / university, etc.
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The Master Syllabus
In every class you’re given a syllabus on the first day with a schedule of your assignments and exams, right?
What your syllabus looks like at the start of the year
In theory this is a phenomenal system because it’s meant to help you stay organized.
The only problem is that when you have like 3 or more classes the syllabus game starts to get real confusing:
- Firstly, you have to keep track of and organize all of your syllabi
- Then you have to remember to actually look at each syllabus throughout the year
- And worst of all, you have to keep track of all the changes your professors decide to make
After multiple revisions, a couple of coffee stains, and the occasional tear, your syllabus ends up looking like a mangled document written by a 4 year old accountant.
What your syllabus looks like after your first week of class
The Master Syllabus, however, solves all of those problems.
How The Master Syllabus Works
The Master Syllabus is simply an amalgamation of all of your syllabi in one document.
In other words, you literally take the schedules from your syllabi and combine them into a single syllabus.
The Master Syllabus combines all your syllabi into one
Granted, it may take an hour or so to make your Master Syllabus but, trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
To create your Master Syllabus:
- Gather all of your syllabi
- Create a document with 3 columns: “Date”, “Class”, and “Assignments”
- Go through your syllabi and copy each assignment by date into its appropriate space
- Star or highlight any important dates such as exams, quizzes, or big projects
And that’s it!
Now, instead of looking at 7 different syllabi every day all you have to do is carry a single document.
It’s a simple but powerful process. As Einstein said:
Free Spreadsheet Template
Back in my day at the U of U I used Microsoft Word, but if I were to do it all over again I’d stick with Google Sheets.
So below you’ll find a free Master Syllabus Spreadsheet Template — here’s how to use it:
- Hit File > Make a Copy to save it to your Drive
- Select the Sheet at the bottom to choose how many classes you have this year / semester
- Start entering information!
- If the cell below the date contains the word “exam”, “test”, or “quiz” then it will highlight yellow to grab your attention
- If you want to print your spreadsheet when you’re finished then go to: File > Download > PDF document … and then print that PDF!
This school year is sure to be a tumultuous one, what with 2020 being the year of craziness.
Hopefully this technique reduces your stress level and makes your life just a little bit easier. Good luck!