Study guide University of Bern



Lots of students tend to put off writing essays or studying for exams. This behavior is called „procrastination“.

There can be a number of different reasons for this, from a desire to avoid doing things that aren't fun to a fear of failure, criticism or the result. You might be too much of a perfectionist, always waiting for the perfect moment to start your work, insisting that you haven't studied enough yet. Or perhaps you doubt your abilities, feel overwhelmed, or wonder why you have to complete such an unnecessary piece of work.

You can take the self-test on our website to find out more about your own procrastination behavior. What are the main reasons you do it: are you plagued by self-doubt, too fond of your comfort zone, too much of a perfectionist, or do you wait too long for inspiration to strike? There are a number of strategies you can use to break the vicious circle of procrastination:

  • Mental strategies: These involve replacing the negative thoughts that arise spontaneously and stop you getting on with your work with more helpful ones. Instead of saying: "I have to do ... before I start," tell yourself "I'm starting now. I'll do the other thing just before I take a break." Or instead of: "I just can't do it," try saying "I'll just start the first little bit now."
  • Other strategies: Familiarize yourself with the 'B-P-S' model. 'B' stands for beginning, 'P' for persevering and 'S' for success. The B-P-S model will help give you the courage to begin and persevere with your tasks, and to acknowledge your successes.

You can read here more (in German) about procrastination: