The beginning of a new semester represents fresh starts, new opportunities and the limitless potential to achieve any goal set by any student. Perhaps first semester was used to acclimate oneself from the relaxed disposition of the summer back into the fast paced world of university student life. However, second semester is the time to implement new strategies to boost your average and finally get those elusive marks you know you’re capable of. Here is a list of the five most important tips to achieving the highest marks you’ve ever received at Brock University:
1. Improve study behaviours
Bad study habits are possibly the single most factor in preventing students from achieving higher grades. Multiple studies have shown that simple behaviours like studying in a chair at a well-lit desk instead of laying in bed or sitting on a couch have dramatic effects on student grades. This is because sitting with an upright posture allows the individual to focus on the task at hand. Also, the brain is more likely to recall information if the body is in a similar position during the learning process and since tests are typically done in a chair at a desk, studying this way is ideal. It is important to adhere to these small behavioural factors that seem insignificant but have a massive impact on overall grades. Other things to consider are joining a study group, eating nutritious foods before studying, studying periodically throughout the semester and using highlighters and sticky notes.
2. Know your strengths
Metacognition, the ability to understand how your mind thinks, is increasingly gaining more and more relevance in academia. Knowing one’s strengths is integral in selecting courses that apply to an individual’s talents and interests and that employ the most efficient and effective studying strategies. There isn’t just one way to “do” university; it’s key to attempt several different methods during your life as a student. For example, if you’ve never taken written notes, this technique may compliment your learning style and play to your strengths better than typing your notes during lectures. This can be applied to all levels of academic life. If you know your strengths, use them; if you don’t find out what they are.
This is where ambition comes into play. If you truly want a good mark in a class, prove it to yourself by staying dedicated and actually participating. A good start would be to go to every single lecture, sitting in an area where you can be attentive and getting out of your comfort zone and answering or asking questions during lecture. Participation with a course doesn’t stop once you leave the lecture hall; engaging in readings, making supplementary notes, e-mailing or meeting up with professors and TA’s and studying once a week are all excellent ways to increase your comfort with course materials. By participating, you guarantee effort and good marks
4. Get Organized
Having a feeling of disorientation halfway through the semester is a direct result of being disorganized upon your return to school. Avoid this outcome by printing off every one of your course syllabi, reading over them and writing down due dates in an agenda book or calendar. Another important component to organization is trying to get into a routine. For example, try to get into the habit of doing responses on the same day of the week so you won’t forget to do them. The beginning of the semester is also a great time to set not only academic but also personal goals to be achieved by the end of the school year. Setting yourself up for success is a necessary component to achieving better grades.
This may be the most difficult category to accomplish for students. It’s hypocritical to tell students that these are the best days of their lives but then expect them to work so hard that they can’t go out and enjoy every last minute of their university experience. This is why balance and priorities must be established at the beginning of the semester. An important part of doing well in school isn’t just getting good grades but also enjoying oneself and de-stressing. Therefore, prioritizing what is important on a personal level, it is possible to take advantage of the social aspects of university while also being able to produce academic work of your highest quality.
Assistant Campus News Editor