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Awareness of Pacing


Study Skills & Tools All Ages Strategy


Attention Processing Speed

Awareness of Pacing

What It Is

Everyone needs to find a comfortable pace that enables them to work accurately and yet be able to finish their work in a reasonable period of time. Your pace will of course vary depending on your knowledge of the subject and the task at hand. However, you might find that you often work too quickly and have more mistakes than you should given what you know. Or, you might find that you sometimes work slowly and take a lot longer to finish or find yourself rushing at the end just to have something to submit. Your goal is to find your best balance of speed and accuracy so you can show your best work but aren't working longer than everyone else.

Managing Your Pace

  1. You will need a timer to track how long you are spending on assignments and a notebook where you can track your progress over time. You will use your timer and notebook every time you use this strategy to help improve your pacing.
  2. Before you start an assignment review everything that needs to be done to complete it. Estimate how long it should take you to finish. If it is a multi-part assignment, decide if you need to create estimates for each part.
  3. Write down your estimate in you notebook. Include the date, the subject, the time you start the assignment, your estimate for how long the assignment will take. Leave room to include when you finished and your observations about your pacing.
  4. Decide if you will keep your timer visible while you're working. Some students find it very helpful to keep them on track. Others say it makes them anxious. Consider using a visual timer which can feel less stressful than using a digital timer.
  5. Plan to stop and "check in" at regular intervals to make sure you are working at your estimated pace. For example, if you think an assignment should take 20 minutes, plan to check in after every 5 minutes or when you finish 25% of the problems in the assignment.
  6. At each check-in see if you are working ahead or behind your estimate and write your observations in your notebook. If you are working much faster than expected decide if you should go back and check your work. Is it possible you were working too quickly and might have errors?
  7. If you are behind schedule consider why. Are the problems more difficult than you expected or did you forget information and need to review it? Did you get distracted or interrupted? Or do you feel like work is going as expected and it just is taking longer? Whatever it is, write it down.
  8. Write down the time you finish and your final summary observations in your notebook. What went well? Why? What took longer? What could you do to work more efficiently next time?
  9. Keep track of your daily assignments in your notebook.