Just like that, we can see the end of the semester on the horizon. It is no secret that this semester has been like no other we have ever seen at UON, and as we race full steam ahead into the final weeks of classes you may be feeling slightly (or very) overwhelmed 🙋‍♀️.

The end of the semester comes flush with a bunch of assessments and exams, and to make matters worse, they’re all due at once. But don’t throw in the towel just yet, there is still time to smash out those final assessments and if the stress is getting to you remember that you have come this far. You’ve done weeks of study and work already, and that truly is half the battle.

Best time management tips from the experts:

Alison Hillier is the Senior Learning Advisor from the Academic Support team and when it comes to studying and managing university work, she’s an expert. Alison says nailing the end of semester rush is all about good, simple time management and a well thought out study timetable.

To create your study timetable sit down with your study materials and look at each assessment and exam, write out how much they weigh, their due dates, amount of time it may take to complete/how much study is needed and begin to plan with all of that in mind. Work backwards from the due date and access the resources available to you from the university like the e-consult with Learning Support to finesse your assessment before submitting.

Once you have your study timetable sorted, create smaller daily goals lists to work through. Break down your day into small, manageable chunks. “Saying ‘I’ve got three days and I have to write this assignment’ is a huge insurmountable mountain, but four lots of fifty minutes in a day is actually achievable”.  Think about it in terms of what you can do in a smaller amount of time, and space those chunks of time out over your day. Time of day is also very important, “If you know that you can’t do solid work after 4 pm, do some light editing on a prior task and do the heavier study in the mornings. If you are a night owl, do the heavy stuff at night.”

Alison also stresses that what worked for you and your study before COVID-19 will likely have changed in this period, “because of the additional layer of anxiety that COVID and study from home has delivered to students, even if in the past they have been able to manage two to three hours of solid work at a time, it’s probable that they can only manage a smaller amount of work at a time now.” Lean into what your normal study practices are and adjust that for our new normal of studying more at home.

Some students will have a timetable that has been neatly organised since day one, week one, and others will have never made one before in their life. If you are unsure about creating a study timetable, or you feel it is too late in the semester, Alison has tips for you. “It is never too late to start a plan.” Learning support has up to date resources available for students and you can colour code to your heart’s content!

Study skills = employability

If good grades aren’t motivation enough to create a study timetable, there are other reasons to invest time in learning organisational skills. “Think about it in terms of your future professional capabilities” says Alison. Organisation and research skills will translate into the workforce, as well as being able to use Zoom effectively, or communicate and work in a group via an online format.

Developing these skills is a chance to apply the theory of your degree into the practice of your profession. Your stellar study techniques will make you more employable!

Extensions are available

If you are playing catch up with work from the semester and feel like completing everything feels impossible, remember you do have room to breathe and can access the COVID-19 two-week extension for each course. This extension has conditions regarding group work and timed assessments, so be sure to read the information carefully.

Alison warns students to be careful with applying for a bulk of extensions as it may mean you have a heavier workload down the line, “there is always the risk that when you get an extension, that is going to bump up against something else.” The best thing for your workload management may be to submit your assessment even if it doesn’t reach the high standards you set for yourself as a student. At this stage in the semester, you may need to reflect on your coursework so far and remember that submitting an assessment that you feel is below your average standard is better than submitting nothing. Whilst this isn’t ideal, this semester has been unlike any we have ever experienced, and the trick if balancing your expectations of yourself as a student, your workload, and your mental health.

Be kind to yourself

When it comes to the exam period, Alison is clear that study strategies need to be compassionate and manageable. Make sure you are kind to yourself and don’t judge yourself based on what others are doing. Your mental health also has a big impact on your academic health so prioritise your health, reward yourself when you hand in assessments and value the work you are doing for you and not anyone else.

If that isn’t enough to get you feeling calm, remember that Navigator is home to plenty of advice articles written by students who have been in your position many times. Have a read of some of the pieces below and calm those final week nerves:

Good luck, you got this!

Feature image via Unsplash

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