Well, now that you’ve just started the second term of the academic year, you may have realised it pays to plan ahead… and if you haven’t worked that out yet, then you will come March – May time, which, I can promise you, will be hell if you haven’t planned for it!
So, here is my top tip:
At the very beginning of the year (or now, better late than never!), get out all the module handbooks and write down all your deadlines for the year, plus the module they’re for, their word count and their weighting. This way you can plan for which essays to do first. Sadly I didn’t save any of my tables set out like this on my computer, but I do have an excel diary from my third year which will show you how tight the deadlines can be (yellow squares are deadlines, numbers in brackets denote word count):
If you find, as I found in my first year, that once you have written out all the deadlines there appears to be a cluster which just isn’t humanly possible to accomplish (I found I had over 10,000 words to hand in in a week – which as a first year is completely crazy!) – you may find that your tutors haven’t actually communicated between themselves on deadlines. With my crazy cluster I approached my favourite tutor in a panic, and she agreed the amount was crazy, and within a week had talked to the other tutors and had a few of the deadlines moved. But if I hadn’t noticed, the cluster would probably have remained.
So check your deadlines, prioritise the most heavily weighted and/or most difficult essays, and start work well in advance. As I have said before, it really REALLY helps if, when writing time comes, you have done all the required reading and have it all written out in note form ready to go. Seriously. It’s worth taking the time over.