Homework stinks. Way too many assignments. It's hard to study.
We get it, really. These are sentiments many students have. But with the help of a few hacks, you may find yourself performing better this semester, and you just might clinch the grades you aimed for. So what are these, exactly? Check out these 10 valuable tips for students beginning a new semester.
1) Pay Attention to Each Class Syllabus
First, make it a habit of checking your syllabuses often. Not just on Day 1 of each class but from time to time. A syllabus is supposed to map out what assignments are due and when the deadlines are. Treat each syllabus as extremely important documents in your folder. Have digital copies stored in your computer and make sure they're easily accessible. By following this, you'll also get to apply Tip #2 really well.
2) Use a Planner & Split Your Tasks
Most of us would agree with this: if you jot down everything you must do, it makes things less overwhelming. Instead of being all jumbled in your mind, you see every task clearly. You save more mental energy for actually doing the work.
Start off by writing down everything you must get done in a week. Then following that, allocate days and periods of time to tackle each thing. This is where a planner really comes in handy. And for a complex assignment involving several steps, it's best to split it into separate 'phases' such as doing research on one day, writing a draft on another, proofreading before the day of submission, etc. Also, don't forget to check off a task the moment you complete it when you are no longer worrying about it. You'll see how good that feels!
3) Have a Designated Folder For Each Class
As simple and common-sense as this is, it must be part of the list. Think about it: is there a more devastating reason for failing a class than poor performance? There is, in fact. It's misplacing the notes or materials necessary to do the work in the first place. So for the sake of your future self, whether it be weeks or months from now, keep your stuff organized by class.
4) Make 'Study Time' Part Of Your Daily Routine
This next tip requires discipline, but guess what? We all benefit from some degree of discipline in life. Just think of your favorite athletes, musicians, and well-known leaders in the business world. It's highly unlikely that a single one of them has no kind of regular routine. And in your case, try to fit 'study time' into the part of your day when you work best. If you're a morning person, see how you can make time to study after breakfast. It may take some trial and error and a few tweaks, but it's all worth it.
5) Proofread Your Assignments Before Submission
A last-minute submission – everybody's done it. Sometimes, it can't be avoided. But at the very least, if you happen to have 30 minutes before the technical, final second of the deadline, then use that time for proofreading and spell-checking. If you can't score full points for content or depth, at least get the points for presentation, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But follow this tip whether or not an assignment is rushed. It's good practice.
6) Don't Neglect 'Easy' Assignments
Here's the thing about 'easy' assignments. You don't want to view them as easy, but rather as lifelines or assignments you can nail in order to soften the blow if something goes wrong with a difficult test or project later on. So as tempting as it is, don't dismiss these kinds of assignments. Prioritize them. Commit to them and nail them. After all, it's a 'points' game when it comes to good grades.
7) Put Your Phone Away While Studying
Procrastination can be an annoyance. It feeds on your need for instant gratification. So while doing the work, you're supposed to limit the chances of 'weak moments' by leaving your phone in the opposite corner of your room and, if possible, switching it off. The problem with having the phone nearby is anytime you pick it up – even just to answer a text or view one notification – it is an opening for you to start browsing YouTube or Instagram. Then your time gets wasted there. So play it safe, keep your phone shut and away while you study.
8) When You're Stuck, Ask For Help
Frankly, there's no good reason or excuse to refuse help, especially from a professor, who is the one that's likely going to grade your assignment. So make time to consult them during their office hours, provided you're not skipping another class. If you're unable to reach your professor, try asking your TA or a designated tutor for that class. Asking for help outside of class is completely acceptable and even encouraged. Don't feel like you'll seem incompetent or incapable – coming forward for help shows responsibility and knowing you don't know it all. You owe that to yourself.
9) Show a "Work-in-Progress" When You Can
Here's an add-on to the tip above. Approach your professor at a convenient time to show how your assignment is shaping up. As long as you've done enough work showing true progress, your professor should be happy to take a look, offer some feedback and advice. Furthermore, you'll also find out if you might be going off-brief or missing the mark through this consultation. Then you'll have more time to make changes.
10) Think of a Reward for Good Grades
This one is more of a request than a tip. A request you want to make for yourself. We all like being rewarded for something we've worked hard for, don't we? Let this apply to that moment you get your next report, and voila – well-earned, high grades on display. And whatever you reward yourself with, don't feel guilty for a second. Life should be a balance of both working and reaping what you sow.
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If you're strategic with studying, careful with how you work on tasks, and plan everything well, you'll be well placed to score commendable grades. So good luck, all the best for the semester, and don't forget to enjoy it!