Hi! I'm not sure if you've already answered this sort of question but anyway.... How do you do when you have a huge amount of study to do in a short time? I am not referring to a test in tbe following day... More like a lot to study in one week...!
The short answer is to evenly distribute the work across the entire week, maybe allowing for extra work on the weekends (since you have extra time when you don’t have class). But there are a few other things to consider.
If you have things due in the middle of the week, of course you’re going to have to dedicate a little extra time to that task in the early week while taking off a little bit of time for the other tasks. So, for example, if a physics homework suddenly pops up on a Wednesday but I planned on spending an hour a day on a paper then I might reduce the time to 30 minutes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. After Wednesday I’ll try to do a bit more than an hour to sort of “catch up” on time. Or, similarly, you could do it by tasks rather than time. If I planned on doing three tasks a day for that paper then maybe I’d reduce it to one task a day on M-W, then catch up later in the week. Maybe finish the physics HW by doing problems A-B one day, C-D the next, checking them all on the following day, etc.
Part of this is going to require that you have a decent sense of how long it takes to do all of these tasks. Obviously, if you schedule too much for one day you might not get it done and then feel like you’re behind. My general goal is to get the meat of my work done during the week so I can tie up loose ends on the weekend (or get things done I wasn’t able to during the week). You could also choose to evenly spread out everything through the entire week, including weekends, having extra work to do on weekends. I find the latter to be more overwhelming just because, if I don’t get done what I planned during the week, it starts to really pile on over the weekend. Sometimes I find that scheduling more on a weekday tricks me into getting more done than I would if I scheduled less. But it all really depends on what works for you.
Another thing I highly recommend you do, especially during weeks where you have a lot to get done, is to schedule your time down to the hour. Take a look at your class/work schedule. If you have gaps between your classes, try to schedule small, non-overwhelming tasks for those times. If you don’t schedule anything chances are it will become dead time, which is a problem for many students. If you put down an overwhelming task you might end up avoiding it. I don’t have morning classes, so I schedule work in the morning. If you can’t get yourself up or just don’t think you’re productive in the morning then you don’t have to force it. I just think trying to get my work done as early as possible is helpful so I don’t procrastinate and then overwhelm myself later in the day. If you really don’t feel productive until late and know you’ll get work done then, feel free to schedule it then. However you schedule it, make sure you do. People are more likely to get things done when they schedule it because they always know what they should be doing.
You also need to prioritize your tasks. This is not just deciding which tasks need more of your time and which don’t, but also deciding when some tasks need to be eliminated or simply accomplished in a different way.
What tasks can be reduced, but never eliminated? Memorization tasks. They should never be eliminated, because once you start procrastinating on memorization tasks, like going through flashcards daily (or, more importantly, making them), you might keep procrastinating on it. Eventually you won’t have enough time to actually memorize the content. This also goes for tasks that build up every day, like rewriting notes, as well. A task that might take 30 minutes a day suddenly takes several hours in a single day because you put it off. Doing regular practice problem sets is also included in this. At the college level you will find that equations are less “plug and chug” and more about how you can manipulate them, substitute one equation into another, performing various calculus functions to create a new equation (for some classes), etc. This is something that you have to practice regularly and will probably not have much success cramming.
What kind of tasks are okay to eliminate? Obviously this depends for each class. If you were going to take notes on a chapter you already know really well, don’t do it just because you feel like you need to have a complete set of notes for each chapter; if you don’t have extra time and you know other chapters require a lot more time, eliminate it. Don’t make flashcards for terms you already know just to complete the set. If you have an assignment for another class taking up your time, ask yourself if there’s any way you can cut time spent on that assignment. Is it something that needs to be done perfectly? Could you perhaps skip attention to detail for that particular task to just get it done and over with? My English professor has us annotate texts for HW. If I don’t have extra time I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, because he only checks to see that we did the work, not the quality of it.
What kind of tasks should you tweak? Well, this is primarily about studying for exams. If you only have a couple days until your next exam and you originally planned to take notes on all the chapters (but didn’t) you’re probably going to need to change your study strategy to just reading, or even just skimming to determine which chapters you actually need to read through. If your professor only tests on material from the lecture, not the book, then focus on studying with your notes. Making study guides, doing the blank page method, flashcards (if you think you have the time to make and practice them), etc. Only consult the book if you need more clarification. This sort of situation is probably the hardest to give advice on, but being open to changing your strategies during crunch time is the first step.
Hope that helps!