Playing Catch Up
There are undoubtedly times in a law degree where you are bound to get behind. You might be sick for a week, or you might have a motivation deficit for a while. Whatever the reason, you now have a week of lectures to catch up on. Never fear! It is possible to catch up!
As an expert in catching up on the ever-increasing pile of work, here are my rules for getting back on top...
Rule One: There is no time like the present
It’s easy to think that you can get started tomorrow, but I’ve learnt the hard way that it is just not going to happen. Turn off the TV, get off the sofa or out of bed and crack open the books! If you have access to lecture recordings, get started! If you have a large number to get through, consider speeding up the recordings. I have personally found that 1.5 speed works best for most of my lecturers, but I’ve had some who speak so slowly that 2.5 speed is still slow enough to understand!
Rule Two: Work out what is actually important
While it’d be amazing to get all the readings done, if you’re behind you need to understand that this isn’t realistic. Focus on first catching up on what was covered in class before looking to the readings. Immediately eliminate any ‘recommended’, ‘supplementary’ or ‘bonus’ readings and just work through the required readings.
If something was covered extensively in class, you can sometimes skip those few pages. Cover what you need to learn and skip what you know already. Oh and reading cases… it’s nice but it may not happen! It makes no sense to spend a lot of time trying to get through all of the cases from the week(s) you missed if it means that you’ll then fall behind on future classes. You may just have to catch up on those when you have more free time.
Rule Three: Time management!
To overcome this mountain of work, you are going to need to manage your time effectively. Grab some pieces of paper and a thick marker, and schedule in the work you need to do and stick your timetable on the wall! Make sure you give yourself some study breaks, but keep them quick! You don’t want to get too distracted! Every time you complete something take pleasure in crossing them off!
Rule Four: Keep it up!
While catching up it’s very important not to get behind on current work. If you have assessments, keep going with that. If you can, keep going to lectures and tutorials! Don’t risk getting further behind by abandoning the current workload!
Remember, the sooner you get started the less work you’ll have to catch up on!
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