Today’s academic environment can be very challenging for students in both high school and university. With assignments, extracurricular activities, and attempts to also build a social life, students are left with very little time to focus on every single class they are taking and an overwhelming feeling they will inevitably struggle to keep up. If, for any reason, they are also forced to miss a few weeks of school, the pressure of falling behind becomes even greater.
If the situation above fits you, rest assured knowing you are not the only one. Even the brightest and smartest students sometimes struggle to keep up with academic requirements if they happen to miss a few days or weeks of school. What is important here is that you acknowledge the situation and start taking active steps to catch up when falling behind. It may seem like a difficult thing to do, but believe us when we say it is not impossible to do so.
To help you out, we have put together a short guide that focuses on what you can do to get back on track when you’ve been falling behind on one or more subjects in school.
Don’t mess up your sleeping schedule
When there’s a desk full of assignments awaiting your attention, it may be tempting to think you’ll get everything done on time by pulling all-nighters. This approach may seem beneficial, but it can turn out to be more detrimental to your overall ability to concentrate and cement your knowledge.
According to the Sleep Foundation, young adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night for proper cognitive development. Another thing that happens in your brain during sleep is a process known as consolidation, by which information we gather during the day is transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory. Put simply, you need proper sleep if you want the things you learn during the day to stick with you in the future.
Instead of losing valuable hours of sleep, focus on planning your day in a way that allows you to get plenty of rest. This way, you’ll make sure that anything you learn during the day stays in your brain, and you won’t have to go over the same chapter countless times to catch up.
Improve your time management skills
If you’re falling behind, it’s a sign that your time management method isn’t working. Don’t be concerned! This is a relatively simple issue to resolve. It all starts with a journal, whether it’s a fancy electronic one on your phone/tablet or a paper one that you carry in your bag.
Start by making a list of everything you need to do in order to catch up, together with deadlines and requirements, then assess how much time you have for each. Depending on the tasks you need to accomplish, how lengthy the research process is, and how difficult the task is, you will need to divide your time in a way that won’t have you feeling overwhelmed.
When you are planning your next assignments, make sure you keep the timeframe as realistic as possible. Factor in breaks, downtime, and give yourself enough time to sleep through the night. Even if you have countless tasks to accomplish in such a short time, you still need to take regular breaks to manage your pre-frontal cortex’s ability to concentrate.
Consider getting a tutor to help you catch up
Sometimes, what you are able to learn in class won’t be enough to help you catch up if you’ve fallen behind too much. After all, professors need to divide their attention to tens of students at the same time, so it can get close to impossible to provide enough one-on-one time with each or to go over everything you have missed in just a short meeting.
This is where a private tutor can help, providing the necessary support to deepen your knowledge on a particular subject. The good news about tutoring in the era of the Internet is that you are not limited to finding a teacher in your area. There are plenty of tutoring options online, and you can find tutors from any corner of the world.
Do your research, find a tutor with a teaching style that resonates with you, and then contact them. Don’t hesitate to look for tutors in other countries, where prices may be more affordable, and teachers may have a more approachable tutoring style. Who knows, maybe the person you resonate with the most is a chemistry tutor from Singapore. Thankfully, through the power invested in us by the Internet, these geographical boundaries don’t matter as much as they used to.
Push distractions away
When you have lots of information to catch up on, the last thing you need are distractions to keep you even busier. Even though it may be tempting to run away from your problems and watch one more episode from that TV show you only watch when you are bored, doing it will only leave you with more work and less time to accomplish it.
No matter if you are the one to binge-watch Netflix, scroll endlessly on social media, or clean up the house just when you were supposed to study for that upcoming exam, you need to resist the urge. When you sit down at your desk, ready to start working on your assignments, make sure there are no distractions around that could keep you from accomplishing today’s tasks. Turn off your phone or at least put it on silent, stay away from social media websites, and make sure all temptations that could push you to procrastinate are tucked away from your sight.
Don’t neglect other classes
Last but not least, you need to avoid falling behind in other classes while trying to catch up on lost assignments. This will only leave you with more problems to tackle and will make you feel overwhelmed. Take each class and look at the syllabus for the next 1 to 2 months, then prioritize the projects based on importance and deadlines. If there are major projects coming up in a class, find time in your schedule to focus on them as well.