Friday, 9 January 2015

New Year, New Semester: Strategies for a Successful Semester

Hey all!

It's the start of a new semester.  Some of you may be trying to do better in your classes.  I know I am.  But it can be such a daunting task.

I'm here to share my top 5 tips for success with you.  I really hope these will help you to succeed.

1) Get organized
Have a notebook for each class, and maybe even a separate one for the readings and lecture material.  Use file organizers, a separate one for each class.  Label EVERYTHING.  Write down your profs and their information, their office hours, and when/where each of their classes are.  Invest in an agenda (AND USE IT!)

The more organized you are, the better.  Get the semester off to a good start by getting organized now, instead of a week before exams start.

2) Take hand-written notes
Writing out your notes by hand helps with retention of information.  If you need to type them later, do it.  But nothing is more conducive to learning than writing with a pen and paper.

3) A little bit every day, not everything on one day each week
Set aside an hour each day to do your readings instead of tackling all of them on a Sunday.  You will get more done, and be more focused, and you will also retain way more information.

4) Get up early, go to bed early
If you go to bed between 8pm and 10pm, the quality of sleep you will get is better than if you go to be later (especially any time after midnight).  Make an effort to go to bed early (as in, before 11pm) and get up earlier in the morning.  Your body will thank you (and so will your grades).

5) Study smarter
Figure out what strategies work for you and utilize them.  Reading your notes isn't how you learn?  That's fine, why not try recording yourself saying them and playing it to yourself?  I LOVE this technique, and fully subscribe to the theory that you can learn it while you sleep (that's a whole other story).

I personally find flashcards to be one of the best study techniques for myself.   Term on one side, definition on the other and BAM, you've got yourself a portable study tool.  If you can get a friend to quiz you, even better.

Bonus: Positive Reinforcement
There's no point in denying yourself self-gratification.  If you have studied hard all week, or gone to all of your classes, or finished the work you needed to do, reward yourself!  Go out with your friends, see a movie, go on a date.  There's no point in making yourself hate and resent the education you are paying so much for.

I hope this helped some of you.  I challenge you to try these tips this semester and see what a difference they make.  I have had a dramatic shift from my first year to my second year grades, just from implementing these strategies.

I love you all, have a great weekend!


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