When you're completely swamped with homework, it's normal to worry about the sheer quantity of things you have to do. There's no need to freak out. You can get in control and organize assignments by priority using a nifty to-do checklist. Once you have a list with tasks prioritized from most to least important it will be clear what you have to do and when you have to do it. So how do you determine what to do first? Consider these questions:

  • When is the due date? Very simply, the sooner it's due, the sooner you should get it done.

  • How much does this assignment weigh on your overall grade? If you feel really stressed about two time-consuming assignments that are due the same day, try to complete the one that will have a bigger effect on your overall grade first. For example, if one task is completing a month-long science fair experiment and the other is the weekly book review you write for Language Arts, finish the science experiment first. You may be tempted to complete a few smaller assignments before digging into the big one, but that can paint you into a corner because of time constraints. If you get a big chunk of the larger assignment done and need a break from thinking about it, that's a good time to do a smaller, less weighty assignment. Use your freshest energy on the bigger piece, and find time for the little stuff in between.

  • How long will the work take? The bigger the assignment, the more wary you should be of leaving it until the last minute. So what to do if it's Monday and you have to do a lengthy report on a historical figure by Friday? Break up the assignment into more manageable parts and do small sections of the report each day. Pacing yourself allows you to complete big projects with ease while still managing your regular nightly homework.

  • How strong are you in that particular subject? If Math is your weak subject, your math homework should generally be a higher priority. Why? Because getting it done early means you have plenty of time to check your answers and seek help if you need it. Fight the tendency to leave the worst for last.

  • Is the assignment group work or a solo project? Always strive to contribute to group projects by setting the bar high. Do a good job and finish your work as soon as possible — you don't want to let your group down! They are depending on you, as you're depending on them. So show the respect you want to receive in return, and schedule your other work for after you finish.

  • Where are you getting the information necessary to complete the work? If all the information you need is on your computer, in your notes, or from your own textbook, that's one thing. But if you know that you have to take a trip to the library by tomorrow to ensure your research material is available, then don't delay. Get to it ASAP!