Hello, it’s #optomstudies here again with another Sunday Study Tip on catching up when you’ve fallen behind!
A masterful skill that not even the best studyblrs may have tackled. A lot of advice in the studyblr community regarding this seems a little airy-fairy (I almost question if they remember what they themselves went through), so hopefully my post will shine a different light on it (or so I hope anyway!)
1. Work out what’s essential and what isn’t. You’ve basically wasted time right to get to this point right? With limited time left, use an Eisenhower matrix of Important vs. Urgent to determine what you need to do left.
- Important and Urgent - any and all due assessment tasks
- Important but Not Urgent - studying lectures for exams, compulsory readings
- Not Important but Urgent - additional homework tasks that need to be handed in but aren’t worth much, like logbooks
- Not Important and Not Urgent - additional readings (although it’d be great if you did this, sorry, you’re out of time)
Then cross out everything that you can afford to not do. Ironically, I find that when I use the Eisenhower matrix when I am not strapped for time, studying (in the Important but Not Urgent category) usually gets the short end of the stick. But when I’m already falling behind, all the additional readings and homework tasks get thrown out the window and I just work on studying instead.
2. Do everything that will take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Get all those pesky emails out of the way, all the small team meeting notes, everything else you need to do for someone else. That will cross out a whole chunk of things from your list. You’ll be left with the meaty stuff like studying, completing assignments, etc.
3. It’s a little damn late for you to regularly revise, so just binge everything. Honestly, this is the best way to get everything done. Don’t switch tasks or subjects. You don’t want to spend about 20 minutes just getting into the flow before switching subjects once the hour’s up. Plus, since you’re already panicking, turn that fear and panic into motivation for you to really focus for long chunks of time - just think about what you do the day before a final exam - because the threat of the exam is imminent, you basically study the whole day right? Trust me, if you’ve really screwed up your study schedule, you won’t have to worry about common procrastination (assuming you don’t want to fail).
University is just one assignment done, moving onto the next before you even have time to breathe. It’s usually quite different to high school in that everything is quite closely packed together since it’s a 13 week semester. In high school I thought that 3 assessments in a week was the end of the world (lol pls kid).
So just do whatever needs to be done first, and then if you finish before the day the assignment/exam is done, then great, you can study for the next assessment task.
Still, I do recommend chucking your phone out the window just in case, since people usually all study last minute, meaning they’ll be asking you “hey do you know wtf Prof was talking about in lec 5?″
4. Break up your courses into hour-long chunks. Although we’re bingeing, it’s important that you make a list, even if it just says “Lecture 1, Lecture 2, Lecture 3″ so that you have a direction to go. Don’t allocate too much time for any one lecture, but at the same time, be realistic about how much you can cover in an hour. For example, if you’ve got 6 hours until an exam, you’re either going to study Lectures 1-3 really well, Lectures 1-6 so-so, and Lectures 1-10 superficially.
So choose wisely based on what you know or don’t know. If there’s a topic you know quite poorly, consider if it’s worth the time to study and learn the concept, or just bank on the subject not showing up in your exam. I’m actually pretty poor at gambling what will be in the exam, so I always choose to just study everything at a basic level.
A common pitfall I find in this area is skipping the basic stuff. You think you know it, but when you close your book and try writing it out on a blank piece of paper, you suddenly falter. This has happened to me repeatedly in an exam. I know all the really complex stuff like the back of my hand before I get into the examination room, and then I suddenly get a really simple question and I’m like wait, what was the answer again? I advise making lecture outlines that you just rote learn - this comes in useful for long response questions because you’ll often remember the small details, but will forget the next section, meaning you miss out on a massive chunk of information if you forget.
5. Rinse and repeat. Usually after about 2 weeks(?) of catching up like this I finally see the light of day and I can return to my normal schedule. If need be, I usually cut back on sleep to about 6 hours vs. 7.5 hours, but never pull an all nighter. You cannot do this unless you have breathing room the next day (which you won’t because you screwed up in the first place). Unless it is the very last assessment task, there’s a massive risk of ruining your next exam.
6. Try and never do that last minute ditch again.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana.
Never again right? Remember that starting early and finishing early is the key to good grades. We’re all just young uni students at the end of the day though, so do remember to forgive yourself if you end up repeating the procrastination. I’ll be cheering you all on!
MY WEEKLY STUDY TIPS
WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE UNIVERSITY STUDY TIPS SERIES
- 0 Choosing a Degree , 1 Administration , 2 Getting to Class
- 3 Studying , 4 Extra-Curriculars , 5 Exams , 6 Social Life
- 7 Part Time Work , 8 Four Secrets Uni Tells You
- new!! 9 Best Study Spots on Campus new!!
- new!! 10 Saving Money 1 (Food, Transport, Entertainment) new!!
- coming soon!! 10 Saving Money 2 (Textbooks, Tax, Scholarships)