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Staying On Top Of It All!

By Anna Farronato, 4th year Con-Ed/Environ. Sci student

Whether you are in the midst of midterms or have a number of papers due, one thing that most students can all agree on is that we are in the middle of one of the busiest and most stressful times of year. Many students are faced with what seems like endless amounts of midterms and large assignments, with course work and readings to top it all off. It is a busy time of year indeed, and these items tend to pile up fast. Deadlines seem weeks away, until you realize that you have left everything till the last minute. Many students assume they will simply be able to stay on top of it all without the required effort; however, that is not always the best plan of action. The middle of the semester certainly has a reputation for putting students behind, and I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling a little bit crunched for time. It’s completely normal to feel like you’ve fallen behind; however, Learning Strategies has some great tips and ticks on how to stay on top of it all for the rest of the semester!

Taking the time to plan and use your time effectively and efficiently is one of the most important strategies for keeping on track. This might seem difficult, but having effective time management is one of the best things you can do to avoid cramming come exam time. A great tool for planning your time is using a weekly schedule or daily to do list. By writing down tasks that need to be completed, this allows for a clear visual representation of how much you have on your plate and allows you to designate the necessary time for each task to be completed. By using these tools, you can schedule in some “catch up” time to complete missed readings, notes, etc. One thing to keep in mind is not spending too much time on catching up that you are falling behind on current content. Given the circumstance, it may or may not be realistic to catch up completely. While it is important to catch up on missed readings, notes, and assignments, prioritization should be involved when allotting time for catch up. For example, if you have fallen behind on 3 weeks of making notes on readings, and you have a ton of other work on your plate, try scaling back the detail of your notes to save time.

Another important tip to help keep up with your course work and prepare you for midterms is to review your notes soon after each lecture. This will make studying way easier, as you will feel much more prepared for when the day of your midterm or test approaches. Scheduling in time to review is just as important as scheduling in time to complete assignments and to study for tests. Paying attention to how much work you can do in a certain period of time, and how quickly you actually read a chapter will be very beneficial for prioritizing your time effectively. It is also important to remember that not all assignments and midterms are “equal” and some courses will be more important or more difficult for you. It is essential that you keep in mind setting realistic goals and prioritizing your time appropriately.

One last tip to help you stay on top of your work is to keep yourself motivated. Getting the motivation to study, do readings and make notes can sometimes be difficult. To help get started, one tip that I like to use is the “5 More Rule.” This means committing to 5 minutes, or 5 pages of reading, or 5 sentences to write. From here, try the 50/10 rule (study for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break). If the 50/10 rule doesn’t work for you, try setting a different target in terms of time spent on the current activity, or amount of work to be completed. Everyone is different when it comes to how long they can keep concentrated on a task. If you’re finding that distractions are a problem, try working in a quiet place away from friends and turn off your technology. Lastly, remember to think positively, believe in yourself, and reward yourself after reaching your goals.

These are just some of many great tips that Learning Strategies has to offer to help you get back on track with your courses. You can visit the Strategies and Tools page to find more helpful tips and tricks on exam preparation, stress and coping strategies, motivation and concentration, and much more!


Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0