No matter what kind of class you are taking, there is some kind of homework. Many times homework is graded, sometimes it is not, but homework is always a form of practicing and applying course content. Homework is like specific exercises when you get to the gym: don't do it to complete it, do it to train and master the skills.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your homework:

1. Set aside time, but not too much

Cramming, all-nighters, and spending hours on one subject is less efficient and harder than spacing out work, working during the morning, and alternating between subjects. Your brain has diminishing returns on knowledge under certain conditions, such as long periods of time or undue stress. Creating a schedule and allocating between one and two hours on one topic during the morning is generally the peak of efficiency. Scheduling in fifteen-twenty minute breaks will also keep your mind and body humming at peak efficiency.

2. Don't fake your way through an assignment

Most homework assignments are based on class readings, lecture notes, or other preliminary information. While homework is a great place to attempt to apply information (and sometimes fail on the first try), it should not be the main mode of learning the content. It may help to skim a homework assignment and then do class readings to get an idea of major areas to focus on. If you are a kinesthetic learner, the homework will likely be the best way for you to learn but you have to make sure that you are learning the correct information.

3. It is all about the journey, not the destination

A "right" answer is not the goal of a homework assignment. Homework is applied practice and your learning and retention of the content depend on the process, not whether you luckily got the right answer. Once you can recreate the process, explain the steps, and critique the result then you have probably learned the material. For homework that has less of a "right" answer (such as an essay or analysis), you should feel comfortable explaining your work to someone who has no concept of the topic. If you cannot explain your work to a ten year-old, it might be worth reviewing the work again.

4. Skipping homework is like throwing money out the window

No matter how much you personally may be paying for college, you are spending time and some amount of money on your instructor's expertise and time. They have specifically chosen the homework for you to complete and for them to review. Skipping a homework because you think it is easy or a waste of time is throwing away the time and money you invested by taking the class. If the homework is too easy, find a way to extend your learning or think about it on a deeper level. Using Bloom's Taxonomy, you might consider shifting from knowledge and comprehension to application and analysis. Asking your professor for an added challenge is the best way to make your homework work for you, rather than waste your time.