Ahh, the quarter system, the drunk uncle to the semester system. A ten-week term created to simultaneously destroy your GPA and mental state. There are very few schools that employed the quarter system, and with good reason too. The schools who use the quarter system are mainly those who offer Co-Op to their students. Co-Op is a 6 month paid/unpaid job that you find through your universities resources. The quarter system allows you to work a "real" job while not in school, two terms of class, then two terms of Co-Op. This means you have no summer except after your freshman year. If you choose to do one Co-Op then you graduate in four years, but if you do three Co-Ops, then you graduate in five. Most students choose four years because they either want to get into the working world as quickly as possible or plan to just go to grad school right after and don't want to bother with an extra year of undergrad. While Co-Op is great it means we never get more than a week of break from either school or work, for four years straight.
Now I know what you're thinking, what's so hard about that it's less work in less time, it should all even out. Well, it doesn't. Semester schools start having exams around week 7. We start around week 3. That's a huge difference of time between exams. Even though we have less time, we still cover a lot of material. There's nothing like the stress of exams after you just finished settling into your apartment, there is just something about those two aspects of life that they shouldn't be so close to each other.
These ten weeks are the worst you will go through, but you still want to do it all over again.
There are good things about the quarter system, like Co-Op, and the ability to take more classes, but you really have to take everything into account when deciding where to attend school. Personally, I like it, I may complain about it a lot. However, I would never change it for a semester-based system. Semesters are long and drawn out, if I have the ability to quickly go through classes, in order to take more classes, then I want to take that chance. I like being busy. I like the ability to jam pack my days and feel productive every day.
When I approach each new term I know I need to plan out every aspect as much as I can. The key to this school system, I've learned, is time management. There is nothing more important when you have five entire courses crammed into ten weeks. Planning out when to study, work out, and what time you have for extracurriculars is the most important step before the start of each term. If you cannot plan out your schedule to fit in everything, you're not going to succeed each term.
You just have to remember it's a lot of work, but it's worth it, if you can make it threough the journey.