Ways to get the best grade while minimizing stress
I have written before about the extent to which large projects and papers tend to be concentrated in the latter half (often latter third, really) of the semester. Of course, I advocate against that spacing, but the question remains: How do students navigate it?
The best thing to do is to look at what you need to do in advance, and set out scheduled times in which to do it. There are two methods: first, work on multiple assignments a day, allotting an hour to three hours each. Or work on one assignment over the course of a day or two, allotting as much time to it as you are able. I tend to do the second one, since I dislike shuffling from subject to subject in a single day.
Now, look at your assignments. Are there any that you can get done quickly and efficiently? Do these first. Dedicate a day or clearing up all of the easier, shorter, or smaller assignments that you have on your plate. Work ahead a bit if necessary, and if the professor permits it.
So, you are now left with a couple big projects. You can split them in either of the ways I described above, or do it your own way. Always make sure to do your research for a paper first, and make sure that your professor approves your sources, so that you don’t lose any points over something relatively easy to fix.
If your professor offers help with rough drafts, try to get projects for those professors done first and turn them in as rough drafts. Set aside another day to edit them, and focus on your other projects. If you do this, then you can dedicate some time to editing your rough drafts according to your professor’s comments. In many cases, submitting and receiving feedback on a rough draft can give you an excellent idea of what a professor is looking for on a given assignment, which is very useful.
Use whatever studying techniques suit you best. Do better working with a group? Set up times to study with them! Get more done alone? Find time to isolate yourself with your work.
Also, make absolutely sure that you get enough sleep, as well as enough to eat and to drink. A lack of sleep in particular can ruin concentration, making academic work borderline impossible.
These are just a few tricks that I’ve used. You may find that, depending on your field of study, some work better for you than others, and some may not work at all. Nevertheless, remember to take care of yourself, avoid procrastination, and keep a clear eye on your deadlines.
Header photo courtesy of Flickr.