A Realistic Concept of Time

When coming up with a plan, it’s imperative for students to confront the question of time: How long will this activity or this task take? Teenagers generally struggle with this, partly because they’ve had very little explicit experience estimating time, and partly because the teenage brain is generally not wired for this type of self-reflection.

Sometimes students – the underestimators – will provide very low guesses for how long something will take. For example, students who believe they can take notes on a chapter in Grade 11 History in twenty minutes are going to be disappointed. Obviously, these students are at risk of underachievement and of being unprepared. They also figure to start assignments and tasks later than they should on the belief that the task won’t take long.

Sometimes, however, students have the opposite problem. Instead of underestimating how long a task will take, they make unrealistically high guesses. Five hours to take notes on the chapter?! Students who overestimate can feel highly stressed and overwhelmed. They might also feel defeated because they cannot manage their workload. Procrastination can also result – who wants to start something that’s so daunting?

Students, therefore, should aim toward getting a realistic handle on how long typical academic tasks take. To help promote more realistic time estimates, students can actually track time and compare it to their guesses. For example, students could use their agenda and record how long they think it will take to complete the various academic tasks they have (e.g., studying for Bio, finish reading 20 pages in To Kill a Mockingbird, completing the rough draft for the History paper). When completed, they could write down how long it actually took in brackets. Over time, this will allow students to see their tendency to over or underestimate, which they can then use to improve their time estimation skills.


What people are saying about us

  • I would like to thank our coach and your organization for giving my son a great opportunity to improve. He is much more responsible now and understands the importance of working hard as well as how to work and organize himself.

    Chieko(mother of grade 10 student)
  • Thanks for your good work with our son – I believe we are starting to see some positive changes and improvements. He seems to have a positive attitude overall and he is getting at his work on his own initiative which is good to see.

    David(father of grade 12 student)
  • Our daughter feels much more confident and on top of her work and comments often about how strong her marks have become. She feels that her sessions with you have been a big reason for the turn around.

    Sharon(mother of grade 8 student)
  • Thank you very much for providing such a very helpful facility for my daughter. She has benefited so much from the program, not only for her present situation but I think for life. Your coaches were excellent and they gave her the motivation, guidance, self-confidence and self-esteem that she lacked.

    Sandora(mother of grade 12 student)
  • Our coach works hard with our son in helping him approach his academic studies with more maturity, effectiveness and independence. Our son has responded well to his mentors coaching and guidance.

    Barbara(mother of grade 11 student)