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How to Be a Better Student

How to Be a Better Student

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.

Elizabeth Hoyt

June 24, 2013

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.

11. Attendance

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.

12. Participation

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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