As we enter the middle of the fall term, many professors are administering scary tests or papers. My teachers seem to be split, with about half giving tests and half having us write some sort of paper. I can’t say which one I prefer, as both are time consuming, but I’m trying to manage my time to prepare as best as I can for each class. After years of waiting till the last minute to start most assignments, I feel like I’ve finally learned my lesson, and I’ve really been trying not to procrastinate. I’ve actually noticed that by starting earlier, I’m a lot less stressed and I’m able to do better on the assignments. Imagine how I felt in the moment when I realized that everything my teachers and parents always told me was true. 😉
To prepare for the courses in which I’m taking exams, I try to read over all my materials a few days before the test to refresh my memory and make note of the topics or definitions that I’m still not very clear about. Then, I either ask my professor or classmates about it and study it further on my own. I also find it really helpful to make flash cards for definitions or explicit ideas that I can’t seem to remember. If I carry those around and look at them every so often for a couple days, then I remember them a lot better. This seems to work a lot better then cramming it all in at once.
If I have a big a paper to write, I try to start as early as possible by at least getting some general ideas down on what I’m going to write about. Then, a few days before the paper is due, I’ll type a draft without printing it and leave it saved on my computer for a few days. If I go back after not thinking about it for a while, I can catch more mistakes and bring new ideas to make the paper better. This also alleviates a lot of the stress that comes with writing and printing out the paper the night before it’s due.
Although all this early preparation takes up a lot of my free time, I keep telling myself it will be worth it when I do well. I think I can handle a week or so of intense work if it means I’ll do significantly better in class.