Student Success Stories: Strategies for Handling Multiple Exams/Projects
How to Successfully Handle Multiple Assignments
Real study strategies from real students -- on the ways they handled multiple tests and projects.
Studying for multiple tests and working on a few projects is something every college student experiences. How to get each task accomplished depends on planning ahead. As soon as I got my syllabus for each class I would write the dates of important tests, projects, and papers so they wouldn't sneak up on me. I could start working on them in advance so that I wasn't left doing everything the night before.
How do you handle studying for multiple exams and/or working on multiple projects? I don't complete each project one after the other; I work on them all around the same time so that I don't get bored with them.
I juggle multiple exams by studying a little bit each day for both exams to help alleviate the study load the day before the test. As for projects -- these are usually assigned early in the semester. Starting early is always a good idea but for most people it never happens. The best thing to do if you are in a bind is to figure out which project will require the most effort and time and then do that project immediately. Prioritizing projects and tests by the amount of time they will take and their weight in the class (choose studying for an exam over a 10pt. quiz) will help you when you are working down to the wire.
I tend to study or work on multiple exams/projects in chronological order. And, I don't procrastinate when I have multiple assignments.
One time, I had 4 tests in 4 days. I began studying the week before by reviewing my notes. My tests were on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The Friday-Sunday before that week, I mostly studied for my test on Monday and the first one on Tuesday. On Monday night, I studied for my second test on Tuesday then reviewed for both tests. On Tuesday night, I studied for my Thursday test and reviewed it on Wednesday night. This really helped me to retain everything by studying in blocks.
Studying for multiple exams: Write down my assignments each day and prioritize them. I read articles on stress management if things get to overwhelming. I also try to break up my assignments into small bits of work each day instead of putting them off to the last minute.
I use an agenda to write down all the things I want to get done each day and then number them in order of importance and put a little box next to each item so that once completed I can mark it off my list. I prioritize assignments by when they are due and also how long I think they will take me to complete.
When I know I have a lot of exams or projects coming up, I make it a point to write everything out on a piece of paper. I make a time line for myself with fake deadlines so that I work on one thing, finish it, and start the next.
When I have more than one test or project, I break up my studying. I will study for one test for 30 minutes or so and then switch to the other one. If there is some part of a project that I know will not take me very long, I will do it when I don't have much time. If I am really in a crunch for time on a specific day, I will study for one test in the morning and the other in the afternoon or at night. By breaking up the studying into different sections, I feel like I get much more done. Cram sessions do not work for me. I need to study something for a shorter period of time more often for it to sink in.
I break up the work so it doesnt get boring and strenuous. Set up a schedule of alternating times and locations to rotate...your brain wont get exhausted as easily. Classify your exams in order of difficulty... spread studying for difficult exams over the span of a few days. And try and reward yourself at the end of each day for accomplishing your goal... a dinner out or movie with a friend.
I designate times to study for each. I decide which subject needs more attention, and I focus more time on that one. I also take breaks in between. Nobody can study for 5 hours straight without going crazy! I have to get up and walk around, or go running, or paint my nails or something to give me a break from studying every once in a while. That way I will be totally focused when I am studying and not so tired and crazy that I don't understand what I'm reading. It was a hard habit to break from high school!
I plan specific time to study for each test or work on each project. I try to start studying sooner for one test when I know that I'm going to have more than one test on the same day (or more than one project due on the same day or in the same week).
I try to set a day aside for each test. I know people who try to study for multiple tests in one day. If I study a full day for one class and a full day for another I have less of a chance to get the information confused or loose that information from memory.
It's all about time management. I personally find it easier to work on a couple of different projects in the same day because you don't get too overwhelmed by one task. It feels like you're taking a break from one thing, and less like you're doing a lot of work at once this way. it's also important to prioritize. Some exams and projects weigh more than others and it's important to put more time into those that weigh more. It would be nice to put 100% into everything but that kind of time doesn't exist. So you do your best and cut corners where it won't affect your overall grade.
This kind of goes along with time management. If major exam dates and project dates were announced ahead of time, this means that professors expect you to plan your work time accordingly. Make sure you record exam and project due dates right when they come, and look ahead to see potential road blocks -- other exams/projects due around the same time, and other major commitments. If you already see problems, communicate this with your professor ahead of time -- they'd rather work with someone who is planning ahead rather than just working on something at the last minute. Anticipate the multiple deadlines, and prioritize your time studying according to the amount of time you think it will take to complete each project or study, and when it's due. Leave yourself a few days of "wiggle room" before something is due so you can tweak it to perfection, or if things just pile up too much, you won't feel so pressed for time and end up doing a sub-par job.
In college, prioritizing is key, many times you will have multiple tests on the same day. You can try and sway your professor to changing the date, but you are just one person, most of the time, you will just have to take the tests the same day. I would suggest studying for the easier subjects first, if it is easy to you, that means you understand it, just refresh yourself, and then, make sure you spend plenty of time studying for the more difficult test. Projects are a little more complicated, because they involve more people then just yourself. Coordinating with their schedules is tough, especially because they are just like you and have other tests/projects going on. If you are organized, and want to make good grades, become a group leader. This way you can ensure how the project is run, and if it falls of course, you can get it back on track. this is a little off topic, but in an indirect way it effects the project greatly. DO NOT PICK ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS FOR GROUPS! its college-branch out! meet new people, and your projects will be great, and creative. but mostly, if you have to have any serious conversations about the project, or everyone pulling their weight, it wont be so hard, since your best friend wont be in the group.
If I see I have muliple things due or to study for all at the same time I spread out my time beforehand. For example, if I have a test monday, and 2 tests tuesday then I will study for my Monday test Thursday and part of Friday. Start Studying for my next test on the second half of Friday and part of Saturday, then my second Tuesday test on Saturday as well and part of Sunday. Then Sunday night I can review for my Monday test because I already studied for it. When that test is over I can begin reviewing for the other tests.
Start early. This is harder to do if the projects are group projects, but if it is just me, I always start early. Sometimes I will have a week here and there where school will not demand so much of my time and those are the weeks where I like to look ahead on the syllabus and get as much as I can done.
First of all, you should have seen things like this coming. Teachers usually have all tests and projects listed on the syllabus that you get the first day of class. In this case you should have started studying for you tests or doing you projects ahead of time, to balance. If you didn't realize however, and are now stuck, you have to prioritize. If one of your exams is later in the day, after a lunch break or something, then don't study for it as much as the others the night before. You can use your break to go over you notes a few times and refresh the material in your mind right before the exam. I also sometimes go back and forth from subject to subject, that is only if they aren't too similar. For instance my sociology class and my marketing research class, there is no way to get them confused because they are so different. To keep myself interested, I alternate studying for one, then the other. This is a great way to study for multiple exams that snuck up on you.
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