How to use Trello as a Student

The Popular Tool For Conquering Exams

When I started University a few years ago, I felt very organized just for using Google Feed Reader to stay up to date with all the campus news and events, but we all know that study plans, office hours and projects are very important in your academic life.

I completely regret the lack of organisation during my first years, when my only productivity tools were the feed reader a pocket daily Moleskine.

Now, that I’m about to earn my MA, things are very different and I couldn’t live without Google Calendar and Drive for appointments and store my files. But the most important tool for me is Trello. It’s free and completely customizable.

I have two boards that I use specifically for school: one for my thesis and one for everything else.

The Master Thesis board is very simple, I have 5 main lists in it:

  • Resources: to keep track of all the useful websites where I can download stuff for my thesis (since I’m an archaeology student, JSTOR is absolutely my favourite).
  • Professor’s Instructions: when I decided the topic of my thesis, my professor gave me a couple of advice and instructions, I annotated them in my notebook and then I copied them on Trello for future reference.
  • To Do: here I create a card for every article, book, or paper I have to read.
  • Doing: self-explanatory, I move here the cards of the stuff I’m currently reading.
  • Done: I like to keep a sort of log of the things I’ve read (useful for the bibliography).

The second board is both for reference and planning.

The first list, Info & Useful Links, is where I bookmark all the pages I have to visit often and also pdf files, like my curriculum. I also have a card with a checklist for all my remaining exams, it’s very satisfying to check those boxes!

Here is an example of the information I keep in Trello. This card is all about the campus library where I have to find materials for my thesis. I always forget the opening hours, so I added them in the description box and the attachment links to the home page of the website where I can easily access all the news and information.

The second list in my board contains all the important dates of the academic year. Before adding them to my calendar, at the beginning of every school year, I like to check the university website and add all the important dates in Trello, it’s easier to plan my study and my projects this way.

Then I have a list of all the books I have to study for my classes. Here in Italy, things are a bit different because we don’t have a syllabus and many times the professors don’t even list the books on the website, they announce them directly during the lessons so you have to pay attention and take note.

The next two lists are a bit more dynamic because the cards are moved from left to right when I complete them. To plan my study, I like to divide the number of pages to do each day, once I come up with a number, I open the Calendar section of the board (you have to activate the Power-Up first) and create a card with a number of pages to study for each day. Many people prefer printing a simple calendar on a sheet of paper and colour coordinate everything.

I like Trello because it’s flexible, if I skip a day, I can just drag and drop the card to another day and easily replan my week. To colour coordinate, I use labels. I use a different colour for each exam, so I can easily have a look at a glance of the things I have to study.

That’s it! The way I use Trello is very simple, but I like to know that all the information and my plans can be found in one place. Plus the Trello app works even offline on mobile, so it’s absolutely perfect to me.


How do you use Trello in your daily routine?!

There’s plenty more ways and we’d love to hear from you in the comments! Share them below!

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