5 Stages Of Procrastination In The Lead Up To Exams

Five whole days to the exam? That’s plenty of time – practically a week, you tell yourself.

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Now revision week has come and gone (faster than you could have possibly imagined), there’s no denying how close exams are. That means putting your head down and getting some serious work done. Unless, of course, you’re a serial procrastinator…

Stage one: Denial

Five whole days to the exam? That’s plenty of time – practically a week, you tell yourself. You convince yourself you don’t need to get started just yet. Instead of getting stuck into the books, you start Googling your mid-year adventure travel plans… I mean, they’re coming up pretty fast!

Stage two: Productive procrastination

You’ve realised now with four days to go, you should probably do something. That’s when productive procrastination comes in to play. It will involve curating meticulous indexes for your study notes, going highlighter shopping and coming up with extensive to-do lists. It feels like you’re working, and although you are setting up the space for a good study sesh, you haven’t actually started any study yet.

Productive procrastination can also lead into non-study related procrastination, such as taking a procasti-walk or procrasti-cleaning the entire house.

Stage three: Not-so productive procrastination

The pressure is on and you’re starting to feel the looming deadline, but you freak out and pretend it’s not happening. You’ll read a page and then reward yourself with a Netflix break, which turns into a several-hour binge. You’ll take mini breaks to check in on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and you couldn’t possibly not reply to those group messages…

Stage four: Panic

Two days to go and you start to feel like you might be a bit screwed. That’s when the panic sinks in and you’re frantically trying to read at double your usual pace. This stage is usually not a stranger to breakdowns, passive aggressive messages to more prepared friends and throwing books on the floor. Your panicked self will no doubt find it hard to study.

Stage five: Deadline-driven motivation

With one day to go, there’s nothing else you can do. You’ve come to a begrudging acceptance that you have to do this, and you can no longer avoid it. The work you’ll do in that day before the exam is more work than you did the entire semester – you’ll be blitzing through your notes, basically because you have no other choice. The other stages of procrastination may linger in one form or another, but this stage will help you get over the line and pass the exam. Thank God for the deadline-driven motivation stage!