Whether you’re studying quantum particle physics or graphic design, the number one priority we all have is to get the best grades possible, whilst having a fun schooling experience. However, having that goal is just the first step to success. It is a very good goal to have, but what’s next after that? In this post I’ll be sharing my 10 tips that (I think) will help you achieve your academic goals.
My first tip is one of the most important ones and that is to use the office hours your lecturers and tutors provide for you. For those who don’t know, office hours or consultation hours are the hours of the day that your lecturer has time to sit down with you to discuss any questions you may have. Who better to help you with the content you’re learning than the people teaching it to you, right?
Tip number two is having a dedicated study location. Although studying in your bed is very comfortable, it may not be the most useful way to study. Finding a nice quiet place with as little distractions as possible is the best way to improve your study experience. I would recommend going to the on-campus library and using the facilities offered by the university. If that is out of your way, then locate an area in your house where you can work efficiently.
Tip number three is taking notes. Yeah I know it’s obvious but you’d be surprised at how many students take notes carelessly or take too many notes and then get drowned in unnecessary information. Taking paper notes or typing is another topic on its own, but what you take down is what really matters. Be efficient with your notes and remember, it’s not about how your notes look, it’s about the information you take down.
Tip number four is sitting in the front row during lectures. There seems to be this idea that whoever sits in the front is guaranteed to get picked on and questioned by the lecturers, which is seen as a bad thing. However, I think sitting in the front is a good method to increase the attention span of a student. Having no distractions from another student’s laptop in front of you or being able to zone out on your phone at the back of the room is a lot harder to do when you’re in the front engaging with the lecturer about the topic you’re paying thousands of dollars to learn. Remember, limiting as many distractions as possible is the ultimate goal in class and study time.
Tip number five is prioritising your classes. Putting your classes second to something else is the first step to losing motivation and not reaching your academic goals.
Tip number six is to avoid multitasking while working. Do not convince yourself that watching 14 episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. in a row while studying biochemistry is doable. It is not. This tip is also good to keep in mind when you’re focussing on prioritising and creating an efficient study space.
Tip number seven is to stay focused and motivated. There will always be moments where you want to give up and when they come, do not get discouraged. Tackle them head on and talk to your advisors on campus about ways to improve and get out of your slump. Keeping your eyes on your goals is key.
Tip number eight is having a to-do list. Having a system that keeps you up to date with the tasks you need to do is a great help. Whether it be by diary, post it notes, or mobile apps, having a to-do list will not only keep you on top of all your tasks, but it will keep you motivated to do more and complete more.
Learn to say no
Tip number nine is knowing when to say no. There will be times in your life where you’ll want to take part in activities that clash with your uni schedule. Whether it be partying with friends or going out for a coffee when you have a major assessment due, knowing it is okay to say no will make your life a lot easier.Organising your academic and social life is a balance most students seem to struggle with, however knowing what to prioritise will help you stay on top of both academic goals and social events.
Last but not least, tip number 10 is budgeting. Having your finances in order whilst studying is a universal problem that can easily be taken care of if you have a system. Looking into your spendings and seeing where your money goes will help you decide where you can cut back and save money. A good rule of thumb that I follow is to save at least 20% of your income. Meanwhile, another 50% (maximum) should go towards necessities, while 30% goes towards discretionary items. This is called the 50/30/20 rule of thumb, and it’s popular, quick and easy advice that has worked for me!
Hopefully you find these tips useful.