I've surveyed students about the things that affects their studying. Here are the results for how students feel about procrastination:
If you haven't taken part in the survey, please do!
Why do I want you to think about this?
Most students I know focus their energy on the syllabus content. Notes, summaries, getting question banks and past papers, lectures, online resources.
No matter how many lectures / tutorials / online courses you’ve signed up for, no matter how committed you are to your studies when you sign up, it’s what you do at your desk, on your own, that counts the most.
My interaction with students over MANY years is that most of them KNOW they’re procrastinating. They know there’s studying they ‘should’ be doing, but aren’t.
This will affect your marks WAY more than your understanding of the details of a calculation.
Plans vs Reality
I make my study coaching students keep a brief, daily record of their ‘planned’ studies fo for the day, and then record their ‘actual’ studies at the end of the day. Then I make them send the record to me. Every day.
Two interesting findings come from this task:
- In the majority of cases, their assessment of whether they met their plans for the day: “Sort of”
- In most cases, they’re a little surprised about how ‘little’ they’re meeting their plans.
Subject content IS important. Obviously. But often, students’ struggles are not technical. They’re internal struggles. The struggle of doing what you know you should be doing, and what you end up doing instead.
Procrastinating affects studying and exam results significantly, because if you don’t GET to those tough topics, or tough questions… it doesn’t matter how much you ‘could’ work on them. You simply won’t have the time!