10 Tips for Dealing with Deadline Stress

Whether it’s an exam, essay, presentation, or showcase there are plenty of deadlines at university and being able to meet them (with minimal stress) is all part of the experience.

You’ve probably already got some good study techniques after your time at college, but it doesn’t hurt to get a few new ones under your belt. After all, university is about learning new skills.

Here are 10 tips for dealing with deadline stress:

#1 – break things down into manageable parts

It doesn’t matter whether you need to write 200 or 10,000 words, if you’re feeling overwhelmed then all tasks can look enormous.

Break down each task into mini manageable parts and use reachable goals to stop yourself feeling snowed under. For example, “write 500 words by midday” or “revise one module per week” are easy to achieve and prevent you looking at the task as a whole, which leads to panic and frustration.

#2 – plan your deadlines

For some things you’ll be given longer deadlines than others. For instance, a bigger task might be set in October, but the completed work isn’t due until February. Do not, we repeat, do not, leave it until January to get started.

Map all of your deadlines on a calendar and do work little and often for long-range deadlines.

#3 – have a break

We all get the idea that we’re going to get up and work solidly all day, but in reality that firm resolve usually wears off in about an hour and you’re kicking yourself by the end of the day when you’ve done almost nothing.

Instead, work in smaller chunks of time, an hour at most, and then have a break. That doesn’t mean for the rest of the day, just 10-20 minutes, but make sure you do something not related to work and then get straight back to it.

#4 – take help when it’s offered

Whether that’s your subject librarian proofreading your work or your housemate doing your weekly shop for you so you’ve got one less thing to worry about, take help when it’s offered so you don’t feel like you’re constantly juggling plates.

#5 – have a proper break

As well as mini breaks throughout the day when you’re at home revising, writing, or getting some exam practice done it’s important to have a proper break.

This means a whole day, or maybe a weekend, where you do nothing related to your work. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you feel when you return to studying.

#6 – accept you’ll have to redraft work

No one gets things right the first time and whilst it can be frustrating to have to keep redrafting the same piece of writing, you need to make sure you hand in work that’s the best it can be.

#7 – ignore what everyone else is doing

You’ll always have one friend that seemed to complete the work almost before it was set, but try not to compare what you’re doing with other people.

Equally, don’t try to be like that guy who writes his essays at the last minute and still walks away with a first.

#8 – make your notes clear and useful

Having 50 pages of notes on one module is all well and good, but if they make no sense and don’t really get to the crux of the matter then they’re pretty pointless.

Whether you use colour coding, diagrams, or flow charts, make your notes clear so you can easily refer to them and ensure all of the information is useful.

#9 – triple check your referencing

So many great essays are let down because the referencing isn’t right, so make sure you don’t fit into that category.

All sources should be in your bibliography, short quotes are usually better than long ones, and always ask yourself whether the quote you’re using really supports your argument.

#10 – try not to stress

It’s easier said than done, but getting stressed won’t help you. Just follow our tips, work out which study techniques work for you, and try to keep calm.