BLOG SERIES - ACADEMIC TIPS - PART 1
Editor's Note: This is the first of five blog posts in our new Academic Blog Series which will be published weekly until the start of the June Exam. Feel free to add your own tips or links to online resource material in the comment section below.
The second term is upon us, and after the short Easter holiday, we’re all once again settled (if you will pardon the pun) into The Settlers’ usual busy routine. Even though we’ve only been back for a few weeks, the June exams are already around the corner and as per normal; most of us have started the term with high expectations, promising ourselves that this term we’re going to start studying each and every day to get that A-average that we’ve always wanted. Sadly, these promises usually prove to be empty and before long we’re all once again consumed by the mountains of homework that we get every day - not to mention all the projects with their looming due dates. In addition we are also kept busy with sport and cultural activities. There just doesn’t seem to be any time for studying.
Yet there are still people who are completely involved in sport and culture and still manage to get great marks every term. “Well, they can do that because they’re smarter than us. You have to be a genius to get such high marks,” you tell yourself. This is absolutely not true! The secret to success (in all facets of life) is not natural ability. Yes, intelligence and talent do give you an advantage, but that will all go to waste if you don’t put effort into sharpening them. To be truly successful, you have to be prepared to work hard.
Tip #1: Summarise
When you get home from school in the afternoons, make an effort to summarize all the work done in class that day. Make sure that you understand all the work and if you are struggling with something, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher to explain it to you again. That way, when you have to study for exams, or even a class test, you won’t have to go through your notes to extract information. This will save you a lot of time when studying and you’ll end up spending more time actually getting the work to stay in your head.
Some useful links:
- Tips on how to summarise and more: http://www.library.dmu.ac.uk/Support/Heat/index.php?page=489
- An extensive look at summarising and paraphrasing: http://www.uhv.edu/ac/style/summary.aspx
Tip #2: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Make yourself a study timetable, allowing ample time for recreation, socializing, and most importantly, sleep. Set yourself a bed time every night and try to stick to it. You definitely won’t be very productive if you’re wandering around like a zombie from lack of sleep. Instead of spending your afternoons aimlessly channel surfing or mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, get started on your homework instead. This way you’ll be able to finish earlier and get a good night’s sleep. Not many people realise how sleep affects your brain’s performance. If you’re well rested, you’ll be able to retain information better when studying.
Some useful link(s):
- A guide to creating a study timetable (with examples): http://www.dayjob.com/content/revision-timetable-771.htm
- An online program allowing you to create and manage a study timetable. Registration is required, but free of charge: http://revisionworld.co.uk/create-revision-timetable
Try to keep these tips in mind this term and you might just be pleasantly surprised when you get your report. I wish you all the best of luck.
Written by Carla Meyer