Time Management Self-Evaluation and Spacing Reviews / Activities
Time Management Self-Evaluation
There are two aspects of self-evaluation. One is to determine if the student has poor time management skills and their consequences. Two surveys for evaluating this are provided: a reflective survey and a quantitative survey. The other aspect is to evaluate progress toward improving time management skills.
Evaluate Progress Toward Improving Time Management Skills
Once students have identified that their time management skills are deficit and that it is affecting their work, and once they have initiated some compensatory strategies, it is very important to evaluate two things: the effectiveness of the strategies employed, and progress toward improving time management skills. Do this over at least a two-week period.
There are several ways to evaluate the effectiveness of the particular time management strategies employed. The first thing to do when one feels the strategies aren't working is to consider if this is because one is trying to do too much. Have you "bitten off more than you can chew?" Do you have unrealistic expectations of the number of classes and activities you can handle? Are you trying to keep up the schedule you established in high school? This may not be feasible in college. Use journals or color-coded schedules to evaluate time spent on academics versus social events. Ask the opinion of an impartial third party, like a coach, advisor, instructor, or tutor.
If one still feels the schedule is realistic and the strategies are the problem, try using other time management strategies. Add motivational strategies, or techniques for improving one's attention and concentration.
To evaluate one's progress with time management strategies, consider how one planned to spend time and how that time was actually spent. Use two copies of the weekly schedule; one copy is the planned schedule and the other is a record of how time was actually used. Compare the two after a few weeks. Did you accomplish all you set out to do? If no, why not? Was the schedule unrealistic? It could be that the time required to complete tasks was underestimated, that unexpected activities were assigned, or that one is trying to do too much. Or, it might be the case that study times were put-off for nonacademic activities. If so, what types of nonacademic activities were done during scheduled study times? Did you spend twice as many hours studying outside of class as were spent in class? If no, why not? What academic consequences resulted?
Another approach is to use just one copy of the schedule. Each time a task is completed by the scheduled time, check it off. If one ends up with a lot of checks, one is probably managing time efficiently. If there are few checks, one is not managing time well. Why not? Was the schedule unrealistic? Or did you forego studying for other activities?
Spacing Reviews and Activities
Learning occurs in spurts. The best way to use study time is to work for short periods of time on different subjects or tasks. Spacing reviews and activities is important because it helps to maintain interest and concentration. It also enhances comprehension and retention of the information covered.
The attention span of most people is 20 to 30 minutes. Therefore, study time should be divided into half-hour sessions for working on different activities or subjects. Switching from one subject to another avoids boredom and daydreaming. Mixing up activities helps one process information in a variety of ways.
To avoid forgetting information that is uninteresting or unfamiliar, the student must review periodically. "Retention begins anew each time a memory is fully re-registered. Review often until you recall at the level of accuracy required; subsequently, you may review less frequently as long as you continue to recall adequately. It is wise if your review involves some of your original registration manipulations, such as strength, attribute, association, and retrieval structure. - Prevents loss from decay, distortion, interference, suppression, and unlearning" (Herrmann, Raybeck and Gutman, 1993, p. 110).
Consider the following example. A student sets aside three hours to study one night. Because studying for six half-hour sessions is much more effective than studying for three straight hours, the student plans this study schedule. Notice that different activities are mixed up in the plan.
The following tips can help students space reviews effectively, to enhance encoding of information into memory.