Sunday, July 10, 2011

Students: How to keep track of your assignments

If you find yourself having difficulty remembering all you have to do and feeling a vague discomfort at times because you feel like there is something due soon that you are forgetting, it is time to start using a planner of some kind. Again, this will cut down on cognitive load so that precious thought cycles can be used on studying and class work instead of worrying about forgetting an important date.

In college, on the first day, all classes will hand out a class syllabus, which lists reading material, dates assignments are due, and dates tests will happen. The first thing any smart student will do is consolidate all due dates and readings and assignments and tests from all their class syllabi onto one calendar/planner. It is much more efficient to look at assignments in only one place every day than to have to look at four or five different places every day. Yes, it takes time, but it is worth it to stay on track.

The best type of calendar for Melanie and Robert is the type that shows every hour of the day. This may seem excessive, but it is meant to help Melanie and Robert learn to manage their time. Melanie and Robert have two types of time—time that is spent in class, and time that is spent out of class. With a calendar that lists every hour of the day, Melanie will be able to block out the times that she is in class. She will then be able to see at a glance how much time is available for all the other things that need to be done, like work or church or play or doctor’s appointments, or anything else that will need to be scheduled. She can then be able to estimate how much time is available for her in which to study. If she can SEE that she only has a three-hour block in which to read her history book and write a report, she will be much more likely to spend that time doing on history homework than surfing the internet.

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