Prone To Procrastination? Students Can Expect Scoring 5 Percent Lower On Work That's Done At The Last Minute

Bad grade
Students score up to five percent lower on work that's handed in at the last minute. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Students prone to procrastination know work that's done at the last minute, versus ahead of time, is considerably less great. Now, there’s a study that quantifies the level of great it isn't.

Researchers from the Warwick Business School (WBS) in the UK looked at the final term projects of 504 first-year students and 275 third-year students. They paid specific attention to when each project was submitted: four or more weeks before submission date, or at the last minute. And out of the total amount of students, 86 percent waited to submit 24 hours before their deadline; 64 percent submitted their project early.

Why does this matter? Procrastinators scored almost a full letter grade — around five percent — on their projects compared to those who submitted their project ahead of time. In fact, researchers found the average mark dropped the later the student chose to submit. They also found there wasn’t a major difference between first- and third-year students, suggesting the earlier a student takes to handing work in at the last minute, the more likely they are to keep the habit.

In defense of these students, prior science has found procrastination is a genetic byproduct of impulsivity. But that’s not to say nothing can be done about it. Researchers in the present study, for example, suggested universities need to consider teaching their students more time management skills in order to prevent them from getting bad grades.

“If we are to adjust our educational practices, then identifying students who might benefit from interventions becomes crucial,” Scott Dacko, study co-author and professor at WBS, said in a press release. “Quite alarming for an educator from our research, however, is the implication that we are failing some students based not on subject matter, curriculum, teaching methods, or assessments, but on providing them with study skills to make the most of their undergraduate study.”

Procrastination isn’t only problematic in the classroom. At bedtime, a study from Utrecht University in the Netherlands found procrastination in the form of, say, a Netflix binge results in insufficient sleep. It’s yet another thing college students are already aware of, but as a reminder, sleep deprivation ruins everything from your skin and your brain, even your sex drive.

Luckily, while colleges and universities scramble to get their students to learn more about managing their time effectively, Medical Daily has some of the tools to overcome procrastination, second to swapping another episode of Game of Thrones for some sleep.

Source: Arnott D et al. Time of Submission: An indicator of procrastination and a correlate of performance on undergraduate marketing assignments. European Marketing Academy Conference. 2014.

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