SLS Study Skills: Monitoring Your Progress

Monitoring Your Progress

Every week, you will need to measure your progress against your planned projects and assignments.

  • Are you keeping up with your reading? (Sometimes professors don't assign reading, but expect you to read and learn the text material on your own.)
  • Have you been reviewing your lecture notes on a daily basis?
  • Have you had time to incorporate your text notes with your lecture notes?
  • Are you doing your minor assignments and getting them in on time?
  • Are your labs completed every week?
  • Are you making progress on your bigger assignments?

If you find that you are not completing your assignments on time, figure out why this is the case.

  • Do you find that you do not have enough time? Are you committed to too many extra-curricular activities such as work, childcare or recreational activities?
  • Are you struggling with course material? You could try spending more time on that class, rereading your lecture notes and text. You could also consult other students in the class or talk to your professor. You might also consider hiring a tutor. If two or three people are struggling with a subject, sometimes they can share the cost of a tutor. Be sure to use all the resources available to you, including math and writing help at the Student Learning Services, or the Library. Be sure to self-test, so that you know how much you are learning during the term.
  • Are you are taking too many classes for the amount of time available?

For an easy way to see where your time goes, try Ohio University's 168 Hour Excercise.

If you just can't get yourself to study, monitor your moods and behaviour. Do you enjoy chatting with your classmates so much that you never get around to studying? Possibly you learn best through interaction with others, or possibly you're avoiding your work. Perhaps you don't know where to start, or perhaps you are uncertain whether you can complete the task successfully.

Try to find the next action, the next step that you can take. Break down larger tasks until you have identified a very small task, one you can do within a few minutes, and then do it! The action can be as small as looking over today's notes or looking up an assignment and spending a few minutes thinking about the requirements for that assignment. Taking action empowers you.

  • Reward yourself! To counter procrastination, break larger assignments into smaller tasks, and then set times to accomplish the smaller steps. Be sure to reward yourself! Give yourself a small reward for a small task, perhaps 5-15 minutes break for every 40-50 minutes of studying and a bigger reward, possibly a movie, for a week of following your study schedule. Be sure to reward both your process goals (Did you spend as much time studying as you'd planned?) as well as your progress goals (Did you make significant progress on the completion of your assignment?)

If you can't study because you are preoccupied with other problems or issues, such as illness, anxiety, sadness, depression or relationship trouble, or are low in motivation, you need to take appropriate steps to regain your health. You may benefit from consulting a health professional at Student Health and Counselling Services.

Monitoring Your Progress

Image Credit: U of S SLS, Creative Commons.