Whether you’re a High School student, University student or other, assignments can make anyone’s life difficult and uneasy. It can take hours, days or even weeks to complete a single assignment. Because of this, I have compiled a list of ten time saving suggestions.
These are not suggestions that I just made up on a whim; these are real, proven suggestions that my very own university gave to me. I hope these work for you as they have worked for me.
Let’s get started. Enjoy!
1. Saving time on rewriting notes, and how to find notes more easily
Firstly, write your notes on previously punched paper. This makes it more accessible because you can easily transfer the paper between files, and rearrange to your heart’s content.
Secondly, when making notes you should write each significant point on a separate sheet. This makes it easier because when you are shuffling these papers, you can clearly see the major points of your notes. This prevents lost notes and saves a significant amount of time. These majors points do not have to be broad, a single sentence in dot point is adequate.
Lastly, these previous suggestions are extremely helpful in assisting with time-saving, but you are not going to save as much time as writing your notes on a computer/laptop. This can be done in Word, Office, or even One-Note. Whichever is more accessible.
2. Saving time writing notes
I cannot stress this enough, don’t waste time quoting or writing full paragraphs. Use headings and keywords instead, as this allows you more space, time and it is easier to study from.
Whatever you do, do not rewrite notes ‘neater’. It honestly is such a big waste of time. The importance of writing notes is about writing down key information so it implants in your brain.
When you do come to revision, the scrawly notes should jog your memory. You shouldn’t be learning from your notes, therefore it isn’t necessary to have it neat and pretty.
If you’ve ever written an essay before, you would know to write your text in double space. If you do this for essays, then you should do this for notes too. This is done so you can add in lots of additional notes at a later date.
Never, and I repeat never- write the same information twice. Not only does it waste time, but it wastes space. It is also very confusing when you go back and read it. You should instead note in the margin the double points and to cross-reference with the previous notes.
3. Saving on time searching for notes
Keep all your notes in one place. Whether that is in a binder, book or even on your computer.
Always file your notes as you create them. This saves fumbling through them or having to organise them later.
Always number your pages, including labelling or colour-coding them. Do this by subject in the corner of the page so it is easier to find information.
Always note where you got your information! I personally have lost so many references because I forgot to note where they came from. I even had to completely remove them from my essay.
Always write a guide to your information. Whether it is a scrawly note at the start of where you keep your notes or the dates on the notes.
4. Saving on time reading
Read only what is relevant to the assignment! If it does not cover even remotely the basics of one of your questions, then do not read it. It isn’t important and more relevant information can be found somewhere else.
If you do find something that looks interesting, but you don’t need it at the moment, feel free to mark it on an empty page or an index card as something that looked interesting.
5. Saving on time in searching for references and in writing
In the margin of your notes, write the page reference from your source.
For every relevant information that you stumble across, mark it down on a little piece of paper. Whether that is the URL or the title (with the author’s names).
If you use an article in your assignment, cite your source immediately so you do not have to go back at the end and search for the proper article that you used. Word has a referencing tool that you can use if you are just wanting to do it quickly. However, I would advise you check it is correct before you use it at the end.
6. Using word limits
Always map out your work to match the word limit. Whether this is with paper or organising your work in general points.
Don’t over research. More research does not equal a better assignment. This is because more research or more notes equals more words, and with a smaller word limit you’ll find difficulty keeping to it.
7. Saving time on thinking
Carry a small notebook, or use notes on your phone to record any ideas that come to you. Don’t rely on memory, because you will not remember it. Be honest with yourself.
Use an audio recording device or your camera app to record ideas. Don’t worry about forming it articulately, just focus on expressing the idea in any way you can before you lose it.
8. Saving time on organising
Don’t rewrite notes. When organising your notes on one page, use highlighters, underlines and numbers to organise rather than writing it out again.
Use Post-It labels! Always use them in the beginning stages of completing an assignment so you can quickly shuffle between ideas.
9. Saving time on writing
Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone actually does this because it should be extremely obvious. But, do not waste time writing assignments on paper first. Write it directly onto a computer, and cut the middle man out of the equation.
10. Avoid duplicating effort
Be social, my little bird. Flap your wings and find a study partner. Do this so you can share research ideas and tasks. But do not write an assignment together as this could be flagged for plagiarism.
Thank you all for reading! If you’d like to comment on your own suggestions, feel free to comment down below or message me on my Instagram. You can check me out @in_another_realm.
Thanks for reading!
Cottrell, Stella. (2008). The study skills handbook. Palgrave Macmillan, 3, 71-73.