Weekly Academic Success Tip - Find Extra Time and Commit to Your Studying

There are 13 study days remaining before final exams begin.  Now is not the time to procrastinate, to make excuses, or to give less than 100%.  If you use good time management skills and plan what you are going to accomplish each day, you will be more productive and you will hold yourself accountable.  Here are some tips for finding time:

  • Realize that you control your time.  With intentional behavior, you can take control of the remainder of the semester rather than feeling as though it is a roller coaster ride. Make time for what really matters.
  • Work for progress in every course.  If you focus on one course to the detriment of the other courses, it creates a cycle of catch-up and stress.  Space out work on a major assignment over the days available and continue with daily work in all other courses.
  • Use small pockets of time for small tasks.  Even 15 minutes can be used effectively!  Small amounts of time are useful for memory drills with flashcards or through rule recitation out loud.  Twenty minutes can be used to review class notes and begin to condense the material for an outline.  Thirty minutes can be used for a few multiple-choice practice questions or to review a sub-topic for a course. 
  • Capture wasted time and consolidate it.  Students often waste up to an hour at a time chatting with friends, playing computer games, answering unimportant e-mails, watching television, and more.  Look for time that can be used more productively.  If several wasted blocks of time during a day can be re-captured and consolidated into a longer block, a great deal can be accomplished.
  • Use windfall time well.  It is not unusual in a day to benefit from unexpected blocks of time that could be used.  A professor cancels class.  A study group meets for less time than expected.  An appointment with a professor is shorter than scheduled.  Rather than consider the time as free time, use it for a study task.
  • Realize the power of salvaged blocks of time.  If you capture just 30 minutes of study time a day, that is 3.5 extra hours per week.  An hour per day adds up to 7 hours per week.  Time suddenly is there that seemed to be unavailable.
  • Break down exam review into sub-topics.  You may not be able to find time to review the entire topic of easements intensely, but you can likely find time to review its first element intensely.  By avoiding the "all or nothing mentality" in exam review, progress is made in smaller increments.  It still gets the job done!
  • Evaluate your priorities and use of time three times a day.  Every morning look at your tasks for the day and evaluate the most effective and efficient ways to accomplish everything.  Schedule when you will get things done during the day.  Do the same thing at lunch time and make any necessary changes.  Repeat the exercise at dinner time.
  • Cut out the non-essentials in life.  Save shopping for shoes for that August wedding until after exams.  Stock up on non-perishable food staples now rather than shop for them every week.  Run errands now and get them over with to allow concentrating on studies for the rest of the semester.
  • Boost your brain power in the time you have.  Sleep at least 7 hours a night.  Eat nutritional meals.  Your brain cells will be able to do the academic heavy lifting in less time if you do these simple things.

So, take a deep breath.  Take control of your time.  And good luck with the remainder of the semester.  Adapated from a post by Amy Jarmon, Texas Tech Univ. School of Law.