Catching Up On Late Work

Tianna Hunt, Fica Shayndel
Published on
January 4, 2022

It is natural to fall back during the semester. Whether it be due to stress or a lack of time and motivation, many people find themselves having to catch up on assignments. If you are in this position, this article will help you get back on track.

Compile and Estimate

The most important step is to get organized. Write a list of all the assignments you need to complete. This will allow you to see all that you have to do in one simple space. Next, look at each task, and write an estimate of how long it may take. In her book on studying, Jade Bowler calls this the mandatory minimum - the shortest amount of time you believe a task will take. For example, a calculus past paper may take an hour to complete. This will allow you to realistically create a schedule with enough time to complete each task. The example below roughly shows what this could look like.


Civil rights essay outline 45 minutes

Biology past paper 1h 30 minutes

Line equations practice 30 minutes

Create your game plan

Now that you have an idea of how long each task might take, think about your regular daily schedule. If you have free times that correlate with the amount of estimated time needed to complete a certain task, do that task. Use your estimates to schedule your work time into your free time. This allows you to work effectively throughout the day. You could also spread these out over a week, but it’s best to not pass the 2-week mark. You could get complacent and start to slack off. Best tip: Just start now. Don’t overthink it.

Talk to your teachers

Teachers write the grades that show up on our reports, so it is important that you speak to them when you are falling behind. If you plan to work on catching up right away, inform them of your plans. Ensure that they know you are trying and ask if they would still be willing to grade the work even if the deadline has passed. Here is an example of what you could say:

Good day. As a result of [insert reason for falling behind], I have missed the deadline for numerous assignments, such as [list several of your missing assignments]. Understanding that this may lower my grade, I am planning to complete as many of these as possible. I have created a plan which will allow me to have everything done by [insert a reasonable deadline for yourself]. I was hoping you would still be able to give me credit for these late assignments if I turned them in. Do you have any tips or advice?

Don’t burn out

It might be compelling to try and do everything in one sitting. Depending on the demands of each task, this may not be good for you. It is important to take reasonable breaks and mental health checks to reduce the chances of getting burnt out. If you want to work effectively, you need to ensure that you are not pushing past your limits. Work effectively. Take breaks. Stay hydrated.


These tips are provided to help guide you. Do not feel pressured to do them all in the same order. Take the tips that are helpful, and leave the rest. Use these tips in the best way they will help you. For more helpful advice, check out the other blogs on the website!


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