A huge difference between school and university is related to time management. Whereas schools are able to manage students’ time much more directly, universities allow students much more freedom and require a great deal more self-discipline on the part of the students.
A good idea is to think of university as a job. Most jobs expect you to work 40 hours a week. Given that you take 4 modules per semester, this equates to 10 hours per module. You spend approximately 3 hours a week attending lectures which means you should spend another 7 hours per week doing ‘self-study’ for each module (reading, making notes, preparing assignments etc.).
Outside those 40 hours, we need to schedule familial or employment responsibilities as well as some personal time. A starting guideline might be something like 10% of your week, or 17 hours. It is important to spend enough time on varsity work to ensure that you’re successful and to spend enough time outside of varsity to ensure that you have a healthy balance in your life.
Many of us don’t realise how much time we spend (or waste) on things in a day. Here’s a handy tool for you to record your habits and see which need improving!
Without proper time management, you will get behind in your readings which will mean that you do not benefit as much from the lectures – if you have not done the reading, you cannot know whether you have understood the concepts or information contained therein and thus cannot get help. You may then ‘get lost’ as the work becomes more complicated. The net effect of this snowballing is that students are unable to do the necessary work for assignments which then lowers class marks – in some cases to such an extent that DPs are refused. And because the work has not been done over the whole semester, students are then forced to cram 12 weeks’ worth of readings into a few days, and as a result are ill-prepared for exams.