Best Methods to Organizing Your Study Materials in College

Are you finding it challenging to keep your schoolwork organized? It might be true, especially if you’ve never learned how to do so. It is impossible to have a one-size-fits-all solution with an organization in education. 

Fortunately, keeping school and study materials organized is easy. This post has gathered the best methods for keeping your schoolwork and study notes organized to suit distinct personalities and organizational styles. So, let’s dive in.

Spiral-Bound Notebooks 

The humble spiral-bound notebook is an inexpensive, well-tested way to keep your study notes organized.

There are many advantages to spiral notebooks:

  • You can keep all your notes in one place with the spiral binding
  • Perforated edges make it easy to remove a page  

While spiral notebooks are helpful for handwritten notes, they do have some disadvantages, including:

  • Despite notebooks with pockets, you can’t store loose notes or worksheets (the pockets don’t hold much).
  • You can’t reorder pages. There is no way to return them to the notebook once torn out. 

It makes spiral-bound notebooks a standard part of larger filing systems.

3-ring Binder and Dividers

A 3-ring binder and dividers are an excellent way to organize school work. 

There are several reasons students prefer 3-ring binders:

  • Because you can quickly move papers around and separate each subject or topic
  • A spiral notebook holds loose-leaf paper, torn pages, and worksheets
  • A 3-hole-punched pouch is for keeping pens and highlighters handy inside the binder

Even so, these binders aren’t perfect:

  • You may find it challenging to keep all your work in one binder.
  • There is no way to punch holes in everything.
  • It can be frustrating to open and close the rings for every item.

Digital Organization Options

You have several options for organizing study time digitally. Your computer will let you manage everything in digital folders, allowing you to separate and contain each subject. Additionally, Google Drive, Evernote, and Trello provide online note-organizing tools. While reducing paper clutter is nice, worksheets and paperwork will always be around. Even if you scan and upload every item, you will still need a paper system. 

Digital notetaking has the following advantages:

  • Your study materials are accessible via an internet-based app or a USB drive anywhere, anytime. 
  • Your notetaking program allows you to upload photos and documents directly. That means you can take notes from an online study tool like Studocu and download and save them on your device.
  • It is possible to input text more quickly with talk-to-text depending on your device.

Digital organizing has the following disadvantages:

  • An internet connection is required to sync updates across all devices.
  • There is a distinct possibility of overwriting a file. Google Drive offers an “undo” feature but can be unreliable. 
  • Viruses or crashes can cause your computer to lose all your notes.

Index Card Rings for Topic Organization

An index card ring is another option for organizing your study materials. You can use this method for memorizing and quizzing yourself via flashcards. The ease of carrying around and rearranging index cards makes them appealing to some students for notetaking. 

However, you can mix them up easily, which is why the ring is so important. You need to hole-punch the index cards and attach them to a ring. Keeping notes organized and neat is easy with an index card ring. 

The benefits include:

  • It’s a portable method.
  • Keeping your index cards on a hook above your desk makes it easy to access them. 
  • Adding, removing, and rearranging cards is easy. 

Some drawbacks include:

  • Hole punches will come in handy. 
  • Index cards can fall out if the rings loosen.
  • Organizing worksheets, outlines, etc., will still be necessary.

Expanding File Folder

If you are a fan of the 3-ring binder system but do not want the hassle of hole-punching and opening rings, you can still organize your notes with an expanding file folder. This type of organizing system is excellent for notes since it makes tucking new paperwork into them easy. It’s like a small, portable filing cabinet. 

These types of systems have the following advantages:

  • As needed, it expands to accommodate more and more paperwork.  
  • There are built-in tabs to label the sections. 
  • It is portable. 

Disadvantages of this type of system are:

  • Finding something may require you to pull out several papers. 
  • Keeping notes in a particular order is hard, if not impossible. 
  • The system encourages “paper stuffing” without further organization. Before you know it, the papers can bulge out of the top. 


While studying in college, you may have several books or papers that need some sorting. Fortunately, you can choose the ideal one above. So, what’s your choice?

By sweety