Many college students claim they do their best work closer to deadline, but according to a new study that is not necessarily true.
Each hour a student procrastinated turning in an assignment their grade dropped, the study conducted at Warwick Business School in England in Oct. 2015 concluded.
Students who waited until the last minute saw their grades drop 5 percent.
“Our research demonstrates that delaying submission due to poor study habits has a serious and detrimental effect on performance,” said David Arnott, one of the lead researchers in the study.
The study investigated 504 first year and 273 third-year marketing students’ end of term assignments, set at least four weeks before the deadline. During a five-year period, more than 86 percent of students waited until the last 24 hours to submit their work, according to the study.
There was only a slight grade difference between those who turned in assignments earlier to the ones who turned it in 24 hours from the deadline. The biggest contrast in grades came from students who waited until the last 60 seconds to turn in their work. Their letter grade was half a letter grade lower than their classmates.
Many students wait until the night before a paper is due to write it, like Troy Conner, a marketing senior at the University of Memphis.
“I honestly don’t think I’ve written a paper more than 24 hours before it’s due,” Conner said.
The study implied that some students aren’t failing based on the subject matter, assessments or teaching methods, but on the lack of study skills many students develop in their undergraduate classes.
Andrew Olney, associate professor in the psychology department at the U of M, makes his undergraduate psychology classes heavy in writing.
“I’ve had students who are seniors and have never written a term paper,” Olney said. “I should expect them as seniors to know how to, but if they haven’t written them in the past how could they be prepared.”
Olney said classes should have more emphasis on writing in the undergraduate level so students can be more prepared later in college.
He said some students don’t start writing papers and working on assignments until the deadline is close.
“If they get a bad grade they can say it was because they didn’t start until five hours before the due date,” Olney said “Students who turn in term papers at the deadline receive much lower grades.”
Many times students hurt their own grades by participating in what is called self-handicapping.
Students who self-handicap procrastinate on work, avoid studying and do all-nighters to study for an exam, according to a academic journal written by Christopher Wolters, a psychology professor at The Ohio State University.