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How to Balance your Time & Effort when under Great Pressure

Have you ever noticed that your stress levels seem to operate in cycles? You will go through a super-stressful time such as Christmas (shopping, planning, etc) to a fairly calm period of time, and then something else will come up. I have noticed that this is particularly prevalent in high school. Mid-terms, tests, exams, and the times in between make it quite a bumpy ride. Lucky you can use planning tools like Gradefix to manage your workload effectively, eliminating big chunks of work.


However sometimes it will come down to you having more to do that you could possibly complete in a given time period. This is when “prioritizing” is more about what gets done and what doesn’t, rather than when stuff gets done.


Let’s take a look at Bob. Bob is in his second year of university, and exams are approaching rapidly. Bob has pretty high academic standards, and usually spends more time studying on each subject than any of his friends.  Bob’s brother’s birthday is in two days, and he knows that they would probably get drunk, and he wouldn’t get any studying done that night (or the next morning). Bob is worried because he cannot fit in his desired study times before the exams, even if he skipped his brother’s birthday. What can Bob do?



1. Try to delay or re-arrange social and other functions that are not related to your tasks. In Bob’s situation, he should try to put off everything that is not studying. If it is really important like his brother’s birthday, they could meet quickly and have a drink, but the festivities should be put off for later.


2. Decide how to divvy up your time between tasks. Even though Bob would like to put in full study hours for each subject, he is in a situation where he needs to prioritize. Depending on his grades, what grade he wants to achieve, and which courses are important to him, Bob can prioritize his time, spending more time studying courses that matter, and less on ones that are less important, or that he has a sufficient grade.


Yes, this is my first post back from a brief 12 day Exam Hiatus. I learned these two tips over the past two weeks, so I thought it appropriate to share them. I had specific success with the second one. I made a quick excel spreadsheet that showed me that I only needed a 60% on my math exam to achieve my desired grade. I calculated this for all my other courses, and then allotted study time appropriately, so I could spend more time on courses that mattered. Looking back, I did phenomenally well (high 90s) in the courses I focused on, and still achieved a great grade in the couple courses I cared less about. I highly recommend trying this for any students out there.

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