Before you attend your first Minerva class, you will have to do your first Minerva prep work. Every Minerva class session has assigned material that is supposed to equip you with the background knowledge needed to start learning a concept and make valuable contributions in class. Sometimes all you have to do is read a few short articles, but other times you will have to work through several hours worth of game theory exercises or decipher an entire academic paper.

Some (all too common) approaches to prep work are starting immediately before class, or during class, or…not doing it. For the sake of both your sanity and scores, consider trying one of these tried and tested strategies:

1. Do it all over the weekend: best-case scenario.

After class ends on Thursday, skim through next week’s prep work to get a sense for how much effort it will require and read the study guide questions. Jot down some notes on the writing platform of your choice.

Over the weekend, thoroughly go through each reading, answer the study guide questions, and do any pre-class work. Take notes as you go and make sure you can easily access each reading. During the week, review your notes a couple minutes before class starts and revisit readings as needed.

Have your notes open during class for easy reference during the prep poll and discussion. Continue to take notes on class activities and professor feedback. After class, take a minute to go back through everything one more time.

2. Do it all over the weekend: more realistic scenario.

Even if you can’t tame your procrastination enough to get everything done over the weekend, you can still use elements from this strategy to make your life easier. Skim through readings in advance so that you can budget extra time for anything especially tough or long. Go through readings right before class, regardless of when you did them, and keep your notes open.

3. Work over the week: minimum stress scenario.

Do readings the night before class or early in the morning. Use the study guide to prioritize what you pay attention to when reading. Highlight concepts mentioned in the study guide and HC descriptions, search for definitions when needed. Remember to include these keywords and concepts in class polls.

As the semester progresses and gets more and more chaotic, you’ll likely bounce around from #1 to #2 to #3 on this list. Do not worry if you forget to do your readings once or twice — your friends will probably be able to help, and your grades will be fine as long as you do not make it a habit. As you get the hang of Minerva life, you can work your way back up to being more organized and productive.

After prep work comes class itself and assignments, which are the actual basis of your grades at Minerva. Learn more about how to tackle those in the next part of this series.