By Jerry Shum
It is 2am in the morning. You have a history paper due in class and a calculus midterm in the evening. You are frantically searching for the set of notes you took on derivatives two weeks ago as you tremble and gulp down your fifth cup of coffee for the night.
A Facebook notification sounds on your computer, you post a status of your all-nighter, and you stumble across a funny Youtube video your friend raves about. You look at the clock - 4am. You freak out and ask yourself for the 295th time, "how did it end up like this AGAIN?" You caught the procrastination bug.
You are not alone. According to an article on Cnet, it has been estimated that as many as 95% of college students procrastinate. In today's technological day and age, procrastination is second-nature to many of us especially with the countless ways to temporarily escape from the impending stack of work. But there are ways to fight the bug, manage your time effectively, and get the most out of it whether you are working on an assignment or studying for exams:
- Location is key!
Does the bathroom get you going? Or do you need isolated study booths in a dead-silent library? Or are you nature prone and love the outdoors at a local park bench or under the shade of a nearby tree? Regardless, eliminate distractions (that includes Facebook and music!) and find the most suitable environment for you - it can make the wildest difference.
- Make it a habit!
A routine conditions your body and mind to be sharp and alert no matter what time of day and what the task on hand is. Have a weekly schedule fixed around your class schedule with time set aside for reviewing, studying, eating, sleeping, resting, and other activities. Keep a weekly to-do-list to set objectives for the week!
- Be prepared!
Be prepared for class, for studying sessions, and for the exam! Go to class! Countless studies have concluded that students who attend class do significantly better than those that don't! Take notes, ask questions, and engage in the big picture. When it comes time to study or start your assignment, ensure the day before that you have all your notes and necessary materials compiled, printed, and ready to go. Now all that's left is to ace your exam! Don't forget your exam essentials, a good meal, a couple snacks for a long exam, and a positive mindset!
Imagine shapes, animals, colours and associate these vivid images with material you are memorizing. Visual memory is one of the most powerful ways of memorizing mundane and dry material. Draw pictures and associate facts with quirky pictures - the more vivid the picture the better!
- Use Mnemonics!
Acronyms are the way to go - a common one is to use the beginning letters! Do you remember high school math when we were asked to remember SOHCAHTOA? How about Never Enter Stinky Washrooms which symbolizes the compass directions: North, East, South, West!
- Health does matter!
Contrary to the belief that pulling all-nighters to cram last minute information is better than getting a good-night's worth of rest, sleep is actually crucial! As the night wanes, studying and working efficiency drops and memory is compromised. Worst of all, a fuzzy, exhausted, and dull mind cannot write an exam!
- Have fun and envision success!
Smell success and it will come to you!