Students across the country are pushing their party nights aside to buckle down and get serious about their school work. Strange pre-exam rituals are being performed and coffee and energy drinks are being consumed on campuses all over. It’s that time again: final exams. Some students are cramming the night before, while others started studying two weeks in advance. Knowing how best you learn can translate to how best you work.

This three-part series will cover three types of people: the last-minute crammer, the study as you go-er, and the procrastinator.

[pullquote]Knowing how best you learn can translate to how best you work.[/pullquote]

The study as you go-er
You’ve seen them in their rooms and study halls, carefully rewriting or typing out their notes from the day’s classes: they are the study as you go-ers.

Hallmarks of a study as you go-er:

  • Keep up with the assigned readings and make and re-write notes
  • Start studying well in advance of the exam
  • Work space appears tidy and organized
  • Looming deadlines cause anxiety and stress levels that hinder the ability to learn

This style is the most time-consuming, but can be quite effective for those who do not handle the stress of tight deadlines well.

If this is how you best studied and completed assignments as a student, try translating these habits to your work life as best you can. After meetings, type out your notes again, or perhaps email the team or meeting organizer with a summary of the highlights and your next steps to be sure you understood the material. Some organizations already have someone assigned to do this, but creating your own personalized notes or checklists can be helpful. If the report or presentation is due in two weeks, get started on it right away with some preliminary steps such as general research and a brief, and then move on to creating an outline, then drafting the actual material. Be sure to leave time for multiple reviews and drafts, as well as time between each draft to give your brain the opportunity to revisit the material with fresh eyes. If you’re working in a team, be aware that others might not work best in this style, and they might have other priorities to deal with so far in advance. Ensure that your work is completed on time and is completed well.

How do you work best? What methods do you find effective in your work? Tune in for the next post to see if you’re a last-minute crammer.

All the best to all the students out there. Study smart. Study hard. You can do it!