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Found this today (while procrastinating…)

funny graphs and charts

Now, while the cartoon is funny, the message is not (& hopefully some of my first-year students are reading this – pay attention, guys!). Leaving an assignment to the last minute is not a good strategy for success – not in science, & not in any other area either.

It means you’ll do a rush job, so your formatting, spelling, grammar & so on are likely to suffer. And these do matter, because you’re essentially attempting to communicate with the reader about your understanding of a topic & how you write is part of that. (I’ve had students use – repeatedly, within an assigment – the wrong technical term in a way that makes me wonder if they actually understand what they’re writing about.)

It means you’ll be last to the library & so may miss out on that crucial book; of course, access to on-line journals has changed that more than a little. But if you’re not confident about what you’re searching for, leaving things until the last minute will make it that much less likely that you’ll find that perfect reference (remembering that you actually have to read them as well!). Wikipedia doesn’t count.

it means you probably won’t proof-read your work properly. So you may not pick up the fact that you haven’t properly cited a reference (or haven’t included that source in your References section). Or that you’ve missed out a whole paragraph that presents the crucial information supporting your argument. Or – eek! – that you haven’t actually answered the question at all.

It means you probably won’t have crafted a really good essay. (Trust me on this – I’ve seen an awful lot of them.

And, when crunch time comes & you haven’t finished writing, going to your teachers & saying ‘I ran out of time’ is unlikley to be viewed with favour… I wouldn’t advise trying the following, either.