Getting Exam Ready: Final Assessments and Procrastination

If you’re like me, this year your finals are either late in final season, take-home written assessments or instead, final papers and presentations all due within the final week of classes. 

Instead of multiple choice, short answer, and long answer questions to prepare for, you have research questions, slides to prepare, and case analyses to put together and when all the deadlines come close together - it can get a little overwhelming. 

Coming from my experience working these types of final assessments, I have a few tips and tricks that may help you keep motivated and avoid procrastinating, fight burnout, and hand in your best work! 

1. Keep your deadlines organized

Month-View of December 2021 with organized and colour-coded deadlines.
Deadlines in December

In my planner, I first put in all of my due dates and exam dates for the December finals season. That way I have an idea of what to prioritize and how well I can break up the work that needs to be done and get it all put together slowly instead of rushing. 

I colour-code it simply to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

2. Break up deadlines

Week View of Planner from November 22 - 28, with notes and deadlines. 
Monday November 22 
Work 3:00 - 4:00pm 
Notes on what to complete 
Tuesday November 23 
Class 10:00am - 3:00pm 
Work 3:00 - 4:00pm 
Notes on what to complete for that day, printing assignment instructions and making notes
How I organize my planner to break-up deadlines daily

By breaking up deadlines into smaller ones you can keep on track and help avoid procrastinating heavily when it comes to your deadlines. 

For example, I have a 10-page paper due on December 7th, which is about 2-3 weeks away from today. In these 2-3 weeks, I can break up the writing process like this:

  • Deadline One: November 26th - Complete Research Notes
  • Deadline Two: December 3rd - Complete First Draft
  • Deadline Three: December 6th- Make Edits, Complete Second & Third Draft
  • Deadline Four: December 7th - Final Edits & Hand-in

When viewing the deadlines like this, I can see my assignments in steps. For me, it makes it less stressful, and I can juggle the multiple assignments much easier.

3. Take time for yourself

Going for a walk

While breaking up deadlines, and planning everything out can help you keep on track it does not mean that you will not feel overwhelmed at times. Burn out is real! 

When these feelings start to set in, it’s important to make a minute for yourself. Here are somethings that have helped me get re-focused and remove some stress off my shoulders: 

4. Make use of resources available to you!

You are not alone! If you are struggling with a writing style, procrastination, or need some advice there are a ton of resources at the university that are designed to help you. Here is a few:

I hope these tips and resources help you succeed this finals season U of T! Good Luck!

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