Time Management Tips
As term 3 approaches, many students prepare to switch on panic mode. They turn into library robots that survive off much caffeine and little sleep because they think that will help them. This is neither healthy or necessary. Here is some advice that should make the time you do spend revising, time well spent.
The study-robot habit may originate from unrealistic expectations of tutors set out at the beginning of the year, telling you that you must work for so many hours per week for each module. Please listen to me when I say that how much they tell you to work, may not be possible to achieve when trying to balance work with cooking decent meals, socialising, doing extracurricular activities, keeping fit, having a part-time job, sleeping and travelling to and from campus every day (I speak from experience!). In addition, when essays are due it’s important that you redistribute your study time so that you’re focusing on work that is more imminently due. Set more realistic goals to take some pressure off yourself and you’ll be much happier and more relaxed.
Those who don’t do this and fail to spend as much time on work as they believe is expected of them, may feel the need to make up for lost time in term 3 (when going out and society activities tend to calm down a little). But as I said, spending 12+ hours in the library everyday is not the solution. Focusing on studying and nothing else is proven to have a detrimental impact on mental health, which at the end of the day is far more important to look after.
In addition, research suggests that copious amounts of revision are not necessary. Studies show that students would benefit from adopting better and more efficient revision techniques. For example, spreading revision of a topic over a few days rather than a few hours is known to be far more effective way of memorising information, and therefore you’d need to spend less time revisiting topics you’d already revised.
Term 3 is not an excuse to fail in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sleep plays a critical role in memory consolidation. Make sure you’re not revising too late on a night before an exam as a good night’s sleep is important for information recall during the exam. Additionally, don’t kid yourself by pretending that you don’t have enough time to prepare healthy cooked meals for yourself or to keep fit. There is strong correlation between healthy living and academic performance, as it reduces tiredness and improves attention span and mental health.
On that same note, try to remain calm and not become too stressed about revision. Obviously people do not usually have many positive associations with revision, but try and associate certain facts and figures with your life experiences as this strengthens memory retrieval. Being anxious about your work uses up memory, laving a smaller capacity for memorising more useful information. This is also why it is important to look after your mental health, because a positive mental attitude towards something makes you far more efficient at it.