Academic success strategies

Getting better grades: 5 pointers

Here are five ways to maximize your academic performance.

These five suggestions are not magic potions guaranteeing a transcript filled with "A's". Following these suggestions will take time and entail hard work on your part. While they do not come with a money-back guarantee, you will be rewarded with better grades by putting them into practice.

  1. Come to class and actively participate.
    • Students who do poorly in class usually have lots of absences.
      • Absences hurt grades because class time is often spent on material not covered in the textbook. [ Tom Wayman's "Did I miss anything?" poem ]
      • Even when textbook material is covered in class, discussions and lecture time clarify and amplify what is in the text.
    • Actively engage the material:
      1. Write things down: Take notes.
      2. Speak up: Ask questions and make comments.
    • If you have to miss class, borrow a friend's notes and review whatever material is available online pertaining to this class.
  2. Carefully study assigned readings and handouts.
    • Study --- don't just scan -- all (not just bits and pieces) of the assigned textbook readings.
    • Maximize your textbook reading by employing effective study techniques.
    • Read the assigned chapters just before or immediately after they are discussed in class.
  3. Complete the homework assignments thoughtfully, making an effort to learn something (as opposed to just getting the assignment done).
    • Make connections between homework assignments and concepts discussed in class or read in the textbook. [ more info ]
    • Don't be content with knowing right answer. Know why that answer is the correct one.
    • Turn in assignments on time or before the due date. Assignments coming in late receive reduced grades.
  4. Use exam study guides wisely.
    • Start early. Don't wait until midnight the night before the exam to look at the study guide.
    • Don't be in a hurry just to find the answers. Read the study guide carefully. [ study guides for all courses ]
    • Do not try to use the exam study guides as substitutes for coming to class or studying the textbook.
    • Review your notes and read the textbook BEFORE using the exam study guide.
  5. Interact with the instructor and your classmates.
    • Discuss the course concepts and assignments with your classmates.
    • Exchange ideas via e-mail or organize a study group to meet in the Commons or in the library.
    • Take turns explaining concepts to your classmates. A great way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.
    • Contact the instructor to ask questions.

'Be there' psychologist says

     LEWISBURG, Pa. (CPS) If you're going to take the time and effort to be in school, you should focus on the class while you're there -- not the dozens of other concerns that may be pressing for your attention, a Bucknell University psychotherapist said.
     "If you are going to be in class for 50 minutes, be there," said John Ortiz, assistant director of psychological services.
     Procrastination and "having to be in the right mood to study can hinder a student's education," he said. "(If you're procrastinating or waiting for the right mood,) you are either in the past or in the future. You worked so hard to get here (into school), so be here now. Whatever you're doing, do it. The only way to do anything right is with your full attention."
     On the other hand, if you go to a sporting event instead of spending time studying, Ortiz says you should try to get genuine satisfaction from the entertainment rather than worrying about what you should be doing instead.
     Students get into the "shoulds and wants, or just waste time feeling guilty," he said. "By letting go of your expectations, you can react to circumstances as they appear in the here and now."

No cheating!

Fifteen percent of college students are serious, repetitive cheaters. At least that's what one survey says. Do you know what is classified as cheating in college? What are the consequences at SNU if you do? [ read more ]
arrow   How much do you remember after two weeks? Edgar Dale's cone of learning

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