Time Management Tips for Students (What to do if fail JC Test / Promo Exam?)

Do you wish there is a method to improve your grades? How do you improve your grades after failing a Common Test for Secondary School or JC?

The Four Quadrant Method is an ideal method for students (especially higher level students like O Level or A Level students) to plan their study schedule and revision time table.

Many students do ok in primary school, but start to falter and fail in secondary school or JC. This may be due to many factors, some of which can be remedied using effective time management.

According to this model, which comes from the book First Things First by Stephen Covey (Highly recommended to read), there are four types of activities:

Quadrant 1) Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects)
Quadrant 2) Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships)
Quadrant 3) Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters)
Quadrant 4) Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters)

The key to doing well in school and exams is actually Quadrant 2! It is highly related to human psychology. Most people would think Quadrant 1 is more important, but actually Quadrant 2 is the most important type of activity for students.

Quadrant 1 activities (in the Singapore context) are activities like assignment due next day, test next day, exam the next day, and so on. They are important and also urgent. The thing is, these things are usually done by most people since there is a time pressure factor to it. Most students will actually do and complete Quadrant 1 activities. However, as you would know by now, just doing the homework the teacher assigns is not enough to do well for the test / exam under the Singapore syllabus. Firstly, the work that the teacher assigns may be basic material, while in Singapore, the school tests and exams all contain advanced and challenging material.

Quadrant 2 activities are long-ranged planning and strategies, like preparing for a test that is 3 months later, preparing for the Promo Exam that is half a year later. Since these activities are not urgent, most people skip them altogether. However, it is highly important to do Quadrant 2 activities everyday. Stephen R. Covey is a genius for discovering that Quadrant 2 is the secret to time management. Students should set aside some time everyday to do long-ranged preparation, e.g. preparing for a test that is a few months into the future.

Quadrant 3 activities are things that are urgent but not important. Examples are checking Email, checking Whatsapp for class group notifications. Yes, checking email and Whatsapp is compulsory nowadays, but it is not considered an important activity in the grand scheme of things. One should set a minimum amount of them for these activities. CCA may also be classified under this category. This Quadrant is highly deceptive, and a huge time sink, but in the end the activities in Quadrant 3 rank very low in importance.

Quadrant 4 activities are things that are not urgent and not important. Examples are checking Facebook, playing computer games, and so on. These activities should be kept to a bare minimum, and only during scheduled breaks for destressing.

The Four Quadrant technique can be coupled with the Pomodoro Technique which is another good technique for time management.

Hope it helps! This method is for parents to teach their child about Time Management, provided their child is motivated and wishes to improve. For children that are not motivated to study / not interested in learning, parents should check out these Motivational books to motivate students instead.

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2 Responses to Time Management Tips for Students (What to do if fail JC Test / Promo Exam?)

  1. ivasallay says:

    I recently read this book, and it really opened my eyes. We all need to spend more time in Quadrant 2.

    Liked by 1 person

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