For the purposes of this article lets just say that being a ‘good’ student is in the pure academic sense of the word. There are a million ways to be a good student, but when it comes to study there are definitely a few improvements that I’ve found help me infinitely. Classes started back up this week after the mid sem break (during which I did absolutely nothing, oops) and here are a few resolutions I’ve decided on to try and help me be a better student this last half semester.
First off, re-read your class notes at the end of the day. What happened last semester was I would make super detailed extensive notes during lectures and then not look at them again until the end of sem when i needed them for the exam. Big mistake. Looking over your notes at the end of the day, and then again at the end of the week helps you to retain information so that when you reach your next test you are revising things you already know, rather than relearning everything the week before a 60% test.
Next, sitting in the front of the class. Ew. I absolutely hated sitting in the front, like I’m sorry you want me to actually participate? Erm no thanks. But something I’ve actually realised is that participating is a lot less daunting when you can’t see the 200 students sitting behind you, only the 10 or so that are in the row in front of you. Does that make sense? If you are sitting at the back of the class it’s super intimidating when you want to participate. I mean surely everyone has had that experience where your professor or teacher asks a question and you know the answer but don’t say anything and then someone else will say it. But if you are sitting at the front of the class (the second row though like I’m not that keen), sometimes you even forget everyone else is there. It’s much easier to participate, and eventually your professor will know your face and your name. Also it’s harder to get distracted and end up watching f.r.i.e.n.d.s with the subtitles on when everyone behind you can see lol (not that it’s stopped me if the lecture is particularly,um, dry).
Third, create a list of all your assignments in order of your syllabus and pin them on your pin board. Write the dates, grade percentage, and final grade received up there. This helps you plan out all your assignments, and is also super motivating if you write up all your grades where you can see them. As soon as you get your syllabus for the semester sit down and write them all out, trust me it helps.
Get at least seven hours sleep. I know that some people are capable of functioning on like, four hours of sleep, but I am not one of those people. I only have one day every fortnight where I am mostly free to relax and take some time for myself, so it is super important on all the other days of the week that I have heaps of energy. This can also mean power napping through the day. There are heaps of studies that show 20 minute power naps during the day are super refreshing, but anything longer than that can mean you just end up more tired then you were before.
Change your working environment. And by this I mean change it so that you are in an environment where you can do the maximum amount of high quality study. When it comes to study, it really is quality over quantity. If you are doing three hours of study, but it’s not strictly useful and you are actually studying things that you already know, then you are wasting your time. Personally I think it is good to spend around an hour everyday looking over the notes from your class that you had that day, writing a brief recap to look back on for when you have the class next, and then doing a few hours on Sunday, revising and figuring out anything you may have issues with. This also means turning off your phone, temporarily disabling YouTube on your laptop, and making sure you study in a clean space. Both your environment and study habits can affect the amount of information you are able to absorb.
Don’t skip class. Going to all your classes is basically doing the bare minimum, but is actually super helpful if you start falling behind. Even though most lectures in the university are recorded, you still learn ten times better if you are involved and are engaging with the content in a classroom setting. It’s no fun to have to sit down on a Sunday and have seven lecture recordings to get through. Trust me.
Use a planning system. Anything. It can be google calendar, it can be a wall planner (during O week they usually hand them out for free on campus), it can be a bullet journal. It is so much easier to stay on top of things if you have little reminders everywhere helping you stay focused. I have a wall planner that I actually printed out and pinned to my bulletin board and it is so helpful to write things there and then cross them off each day. It’s definitely saved me a lot of hassle.
So those are all the tips and tricks that I have found helped me to be a better student this semester. They may work and they might not, everyone is different so figuring out the best way for you personally is super important. Thanks for reading:)
Beth AwatereBeth Awatere
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