As students, it is quite tasking to fulfil all the obligations that are set before us. Juggling assignments with attending classes, reading class notes and other lecture materials while completing other non-class course work such as lab hours and field reports can be stressful. Even though all may seem to be about running the race to attain academic excellence which probably may not be the sole requirement for the successful lives we dream of, the choice we made to remain in school has its implications.
Whether or not we agree, success in our present endeavours set the precedents for future successes.
Therefore, let’s live by the mantra ‘doing our best in whatever we lay our hands on’ and work hard to attain academic excellence. Though not too easy to accomplish but it is better off living a life filled with regrets of things you could or should or would have done better.
Being in the same shoes just like you, I thought we could use some helpful tips as we proceed in our academic pursuit so I made a list of those I could find. Some of it I realized from my own academic journey and some others, I learnt from friends, books and both senior and junior colleagues. Feel free to add yours in the comments section.
1. Break your reading into bits
The mistake most of us make is waiting till we have a test or when exams are at hand before we start reading. So, to stay safe, we undertake overnights and stretches of long hours reading. Concentrating for that long can be a herculean task for me but I really don’t have to do that.
Even though I don’t read my school books daily, I sleep even more soundly when tests approach.
The trick is quite simple and easy. I broke my reading into bits and it became fun and easier and less stressful. I read parts of my course work as soon as we are taught either immediately after class or later in the day or before I sleep and sometimes at the end of the week. I keep track of these binges by highlighting my notes. So, when the test comes, the long hours ain’t necessary. I only require a short period of focused reading to understand all need to and get ready for the test or whatsoever.
Make reading fun for you, read your books consistently at smaller chunks before it becomes insurmountable.Click to tweet
And you might want to learn from a senior colleague who made it compulsory to read all that he was taught by the end of the day. Or find a way to make sure you ain’t overwhelmed with tons of ink print to read.
2. Make your reading effective. Highlight. Take notes.
Some of us get frustrated with reading because it seems we forget what we have read before. The key to a good memory is just familiarity. Employ different techniques to make you familiar with whatever you want to commit to memory. You can employ methods such as note-taking while reading or highlighting or recording your thoughts in audio formats. Some also write summary notes. Mnemonics can be of help too.
Early morning reading helps a lot. Although this may be subjective to individuals, studying early in the day is a good trick to faster and long-lasting assimilation.
3. Teach what you have read
Actually, this is the best way to commit information to memory for longer periods of time. It just sticks if you teach someone. In fact, you understand better when you try to explain to someone else because you will have to explain in simpler terms. You only to find friends who don’t understand and explain to them.
4. Water also helps
Water is incredibly indispensable and so ubiquitous but it might be quite funny and surprising to find out that it also helps in brain functioning and memory. As reported by BBC and LiveScience, researchers believe that drinking water is linked to improved cognitive function. Though their recommendation is that you drink water before and if allowed, during exams, I want to also add that you should drink water during your study sessions instead of loading caffeine into your system.
A bottle of water at regular intervals while reading will keep you awake and also aid concentration.
It works for me and my friends have also testified too. Try it out.
5. Eat well and take fruits
Good eating habits are fundamental to your complete wellbeing and thus your academic journey. Skipping meals is not good for your health. A quick fact you might not be aware of is that your brain consumes almost half of the energy we derive from the food we eat. So you need to eat good food for your brain to function well. Eating fruits also helps but it still doesn’t substitute good eating habits.
6. Like your courses and leave your lecturers out of it
People are wired differently and thus weird so don’t lose your golden egg because of these differences. Lecturers can be funny and annoying but don’t hate them. If you do, you will have yourself deprived of the knowledge you need from them.
The ripple effect of hatred is similar to a firewall. It will prevent any exchange between the parties involved. Focus your energies on the course itself and leave the people teaching out of it. Don’t short-change yourself of the knowledge you need because you don’t like someone.Click to tweet
7. Be a diligent student
Pay the sacrifice to do your assignments all by yourself. Don’t join the gang of contracting assignments and coursework to other students. It might be a win-win situation for both of you at first but in the long run, they always get the best of these relationships.
The momentary satisfaction you will get may not be as valuable to you as the experience of actual participation in the process.
Trust me, somehow, you will need it. During exams, defense and other out-of-the-box places you may not think of.
Also, try to understand what you read. Though cramming seems to be a good shortcut, the repercussion are always not immediate and they can be very unpleasant even health-wise. To understand what you read is not a big deal, it is just connecting the new information you obtain to old ones you already have. When you understand what you are being taught or what you are reading, it means you are able to find connections to what you already know.
8. Don’t do it alone
Find like-minded students and form discussion groups. I will advise not to make it a large group so as to maintain discipline even though it should be diverse.
Large groups without discipline defeat the purpose of the association.
The aim of these groups is to exchange ideas about what you have been reading because truly two heads are always better than one.
A good discussion group should be a healthy source of challenge to its participants. The participants of such groups should always be active and this means they share whatever they information have. It could also be good grounds to teach each other what you have read.
Above all, the greatest tip and the most essential is to know yourself and what works for you and stick to it. After this, every all other things will just supplement your efforts. Knowing what works for you simplifies your life and work and also makes it all fun.
You might have heard of some these tips before and you may even be practising them or something better. The truth, however, is that knowledge is power and it transforms only if you allow it. Let us proceed on this journey to attain academic excellence by doing all those things that matter. And most of all, believe that you are a success and you will be!
See you at the top. Keep shining!
What do you plan to do better to contribute to your academic success?