Ever wondered why you just can’t seem to reach your full academic potential? It’s likely that your brain isn’t the cause but, rather, your lifestyle.
Review the following steps, which outline simple changes you can make and soon you’ll be on your way to becoming the student you’ve always wanted to become.
1. Set goals
Goals, both short and long-term, are a great way to measure your success. If you don’t have goals in sight, you have nothing to achieve or strive for in your courses.
If you set concrete goals for yourself, it’s easier to become motivated and measure your success in those goals.
Make sure your goals are realistic! While you should challenge yourself, you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure, either.
Remember, you can always set higher goals once you’ve achieved your first set.
2. Adopt and stick to a study schedule
Scheduling is vital to maintaining a healthy learning balance and keeping up with rigorous courses.
3. Stay well-rested
If you’re awake and alert, you’re certainly more likely to absorb information given in class, during study sessions and in class activities and participation. Think of it as an equation: awake + alertness = A’s.
4. Take advantage of educator resources
In addition to attending class, there are a variety of resources available to aid students in thriving and achieving in class.
TA’s, office hours and study review sessions are amongst the resources offered within specific classes.
Additionally, many high schools and colleges offer tutoring sessions free of charge to students who seek extra help with their courses.
5. Healthy study techniques for proper exam preparation
Study techniques considered “healthy” include balance, time-management and avoiding all-night study “cram” sessions. Information is certainly easier to absorb when reviewed in increments, rather than procrastinating until the last minute.
6. Develop note-taking skills
Listening and taking notes actively during class not only ensures the recording of accurate information, but also reinforces the information through recording the information as you take it in.
Have you ever gone back to your notes when it comes time to study for the exam and find that they are illegible or difficult to understand? It’s helpful to go over your note after class and either rewrite them or outline the key information while it’s still fresh in your mind.
You’ll find it’s much easier to utilize your notes and retain clearer information, come exam time. Clearly, it also provides you with any important information that was only mentioned in class when it comes time to review and study the exam material.
7. Extracurricular activities
Try to create a life outside of academics, like participation in extracurricular activities, such as intramural sports or college clubs.
Contrary to popular belief, extracurricular activities increase a student’s overall college experience, contribute to the learning process and aiding in balancing scheduling skills.
8. Study buddies
Collaborating with other students is a great way to learn – as long as you’re sure to choose students who you’ll stay on task with. Try finding various students in your class, rather than friends you already have. It can expand your social group and you’re more likely to stay focused on the school work.
Students who form study groups with one another can often learn more through learning by teaching. When students explain concepts to one another, they are able to learn and absorb the information more easily.
Inversely, students that may need clarification on areas of study are able to ask peers in order to be able to better understand the course materials.
9. Take advantage of school resources
Utilizing school resources for setting goals and creating positive study habits tremendously aids in a student’s success.
School resources are abundant and students who take advantage of such resources are much more likely to succeed.
Such resources include the utilization of school libraries, career centers and school centers that provide tutoring and knowledge (for example: student writing centers, math centers, etc).
10. Take on a manageable course load
When taking on a well-balanced course load, students are more likely to succeed because of realistic expectations in the work load that can be handled successfully.
This should be common sense – if students go to class, they will likely become more successful in the course.
Obviously, the course material is presented during class periods and students that are paying attention tend to learn while in class and, thus, are more likely to perform well on exams.
Going to class is one thing but paying attention and participating in class is another. If you listen to the lessons, questions are likely to arise. If they come up in class, ask!
If you’re too shy in a large class, wait and ask the professor after class or during office hours. It’s important to know, however, that if you’ve got a question, it’s likely that other students have the same question as well.
Whatever you do, DO NOT wait until it comes time to study for the exam!
What other tips do you have to become a better student?
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Tips for Successful Students
Guidelines and Thoughts for Academic Success
Adapted and shortened in 2005 by Alison Lake and Carl von Baeyer from a web page by Steve Thien, Kansas State University, which was based on the following articles in The Teaching Professor. Larry M Ludewig, "Ten Commandments for Effective Study Skills," Dec 1992. John H. Williams, "Clarifying Grade Expectations," Aug/Sep 1993. Paul Solomon and Annette Nellon, "Communicating About the Behavioral Dimensions of Grades," Feb 1996.
Successful students exhibit a combination of successful attitudes and behaviors as well as intellectual capacity. Successful students . . .
1. . . . are responsible and active.Successful students get involved in their studies, accept responsibility for their own education, and are active participants in it! Responsibility is the difference between leading and being led. Active classroom participation improves grades without increasing study time. You can sit there, act bored, daydream, or sleep. Or you can actively listen, think, question, and take notes like someone in charge of their learning experience. Either option costs one class period. However, the former method will require a large degree of additional work outside of class to achieve the same degree of learning the latter provides at one sitting.
2. . . . have educational goals.
Successful students are motivated by what their goals represent in terms of career aspirations and life's desires. Ask yourself these questions: What am I doing here? Is there some better place I could be? What does my presence here mean to me?Answers to these questions represent your "Hot Buttons" and are, without a doubt, the most important factors in your success as a college student. If your educational goals are truly yours, not someone else's, they will motivate a vital and positive academic attitude. If you are familiar with what these hot buttons represent and refer to them often, especially when you tire of being a student, nothing can stop you; if you aren't and don't, everything can, and will!
3. . . . ask questions.
Successful students ask questions to provide the quickest route between ignorance and knowledge.In addition to securing knowledge you seek, asking questions has at least two other extremely important benefits. The process helps you pay attention to your professor and helps your professor pay attention to you! Think about it. If you want something, go after it. Get the answer now, or fail a question later. There are no foolish questions, only foolish silence. It's your choice.
4. . . . learn that a student and a professor make a team.
Most instructors want exactly what you want: they would like for you to learn the material in their respective classes and earn a good grade.Successful students reflect well on the efforts of any teacher; if you have learned your material, the instructor takes some justifiable pride in teaching. Join forces with your instructor, they are not an enemy, you share the same interests, the same goals - in short, you're teammates. Get to know your professor. You're the most valuable players on the same team. Your jobs are to work together for mutual success. Neither wishes to chalk up a losing season. Be a team player!
5. . . . don't sit in the back.
Successful students minimize classroom distractions that interfere with learning.Students want the best seat available for their entertainment dollars, but willingly seek the worst seat for their educational dollars. Students who sit in the back cannot possibly be their professor's teammate (see no. 4). Why do they expose themselves to the temptations of inactive classroom experiences and distractions of all the people between them and their instructor? Of course, we know they chose the back of the classroom because they seek invisibility or anonymity, both of which are antithetical to efficient and effective learning. If you are trying not to be part of the class, why, then, are you wasting your time? Push your hot buttons, is their something else you should be doing with your time?
6. . . . take good notes.
Successful students take notes that are understandable and organized, and review them often.Why put something into your notes you don't understand? Ask the questions now that are necessary to make your notes meaningful at some later time. A short review of your notes while the material is still fresh on your mind helps your learn more. The more you learn then, the less you'll have to learn later and the less time it will take because you won't have to include some deciphering time, also. The whole purpose of taking notes is to use them, and use them often. The more you use them, the more they improve.
7. . . . understand that actions affect learning.
Successful students know their personal behavior affect their feelings and emotions which in turn can affect learning.If you act in a certain way that normally produces particular feelings, you will begin to experience those feelings. Act like you're bored, and you'll become bored. Act like you're uninterested, and you'll become uninterested. So the next time you have trouble concentrating in the classroom, "act" like an interested person: lean forward, place your feet flat on the floor, maintain eye contact with the professor, nod occasionally, take notes, and ask questions. Not only will you benefit directly from your actions, your classmates and professor may also get more excited and enthusiastic.
8. . . . talk about what they're learning.
Successful students get to know something well enough that they can put it into words.Talking about something, with friends or classmates, is not only good for checking whether or not you know something, its a proven learning tool. Transferring ideas into words provides the most direct path for moving knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. You really don't "know" material until you can put it into words. So, next time you study, don't do it silently. Talk about notes, problems, readings, etc. with friends, recite to a chair, organize an oral study group, pretend you're teaching your peers. "Talk-learning" produces a whole host of memory traces that result in more learning.
9. . . . don't cram for exams.
Successful students know that divided periods of study are more effective than cram sessions, and they practice it.If there is one thing that study skills specialists agree on, it is that distributed study is better than massed, late-night, last-ditch efforts known as cramming. You'll learn more, remember more, and earn a higher grade by studying in four, one hour-a-night sessions for Friday's exam than studying for four hours straight on Thursday night. Short, concentrated preparatory efforts are more efficient and rewarding than wasteful, inattentive, last moment marathons. Yet, so many students fail to learn this lesson and end up repeating it over and over again until it becomes a wasteful habit. Not too clever, huh?
10. . . . are good time managers.
Successful students do not procrastinate. They have learned that time control is life control and have consciously chosen to be in control of their life.An elemental truth: you will either control time or be controlled by it! It's your choice: you can lead or be led, establish control or relinquish control, steer your own course or follow others. Failure to take control of their own time is probably the no. 1 study skills problem for college students. It ultimately causes many students to become non-students! Procrastinators are good excuse-makers. Don't make academics harder on yourself than it has to be. Stop procrastinating. And don't wait until tomorrow to do it!
Successful students can be distinguished from the average student by their attitudes and behaviors. Below are some profiles that typically distinguish between an "A" student and a "C" student. Where do you fit in this scheme?
The "A" Student - An Outstanding Student
ATTENDANCE: "A" students have virtually perfect attendance. Their commitment to the class is a high priority and exceeds other temptations.
PREPARATION: "A" students are prepared for class. They always read the assignment. Their attention to detail is such that they occasionally can elaborate on class examples.
CURIOSITY: "A" students demonstrate interest in the class and the subject. They look up or dig out what they don't understand. They often ask interesting questions or make thoughtful comments.
RETENTION: "A" students have retentive minds and practice making retentive connections. They are able to connect past learning with the present. They bring a background of knowledge with them to their classes. They focus on learning concepts rather than memorizing details.
ATTITUDE: "A" students have a winning attitude. They have both the determination and the self-discipline necessary for success. They show initiative. They do things they have not been told to do.
TALENT: "A" students demonstrate a special talent. It may be exceptional intelligence and insight. It may be unusual creativity, organizational skills, commitment - or a some combination. These gifts are evident to the teacher and usually to the other students as well.
EFFORT: "A" students match their effort to the demands of an assignment.
COMMUNICATIONS: "A" students place a high priority on writing and speaking in a manner that conveys clarity and thoughtful organization. Attention is paid to conciseness and completeness.
RESULTS: "A" students make high grades on tests - usually the highest in the class. Their work is a pleasure to grade.
The "C" Student - An Average Student
ATTENDANCE: "C" students are often late and miss class frequently. They put other priorities ahead of academic work. In some cases, their health or constant fatigue renders them physically unable to keep up with the demands of high-level performance.
PREPARATION: "C" students may prepare their assignments consistently, but often in a perfunctory manner. Their work may be sloppy or careless. At times, it is incomplete or late.
CURIOSITY: "C" students seldom explore topics deeper than their face value. They lack vision and bypass interconnectedness of concepts. Immediate relevancy is often their singular test for involvement.
RETENTION: "C" students retain less information and for shorter periods. Less effort seems to go toward organizing and associating learned information with previously acquired knowledge. They display short-term retention by relying on cramming sessions that focus on details, not concepts.
ATTITUDE: "C" students are not visibly committed to class. They participate without enthusiasm. Their body language often expresses boredom.
TALENT: "C" students vary enormously in talent. Some have exceptional ability but show undeniable signs of poor self-management or bad attitudes. Others are diligent but simply average in academic ability.
EFFORT: "C" students are capable of sufficient effort, but either fail to realistically evaluate the effort needed to accomplish a task successfully, or lack the desire to meet the challenge.
COMMUNICATIONS: "C" students communicate in ways that often limit comprehension or risk misinterpretation. Ideas are not well formulated before they are expressed. Poor listening/reading habits inhibit matching inquiry and response.
RESULTS: "C" students obtain mediocre or inconsistent results on tests. They have some concept of what is going on but clearly have not mastered the material.