In the life of a person, everything depends only on how he or she can deal with the unpredictable situations, at least to a certain degree. However, whether the undergraduate becomes a bad, good or excellent student depends only on him or her. It is very important to tune in to studying and create a favorable environment for learning around yourself.
Self-Organization is Above All Else
The main condition for the successful studying is self-organization. Quite often, the student has great abilities but chronically does not have enough time for anything. In this case, the reason is in the student’s inability to properly organize oneself for the educational process. However, self-organization is not an innate quality of a person and it can be developed. So, the success of learning directly depends on how quickly you will have the ability to organize yourself. You just need to activate all your willpower in order to fight against laziness. It will also be important to learn how to correctly allocate your time which is not very difficult if you put your mind to it. It is not necessary to postpone all of your affairs for the very last term, as the necessary tasks will most definitely not be carried out in such manner. It is far better to do everything on time. However, you do not need to go to the other extreme and plan everything down to the smallest detail, since then it is possible not to notice when your life will turn out to consist only of studying.
Look for Motivation
Once you learn to organize yourself, start looking for the motivation for your successful studies. Each student enters the university for various reasons. Someone goes there because their parents insisted on it, someone needs a diploma and someone has been dreaming about this occupation all his or her life. Nevertheless, in any case, there should be a good source of motivation for learning, namely the acquisition of some professional knowledge. Only those students who are focused on knowledge can study successfully. At the university, no one will force a student to study – everything depends on his or her desire to succeed.
Do Not Skip Your Classes
After you are fully tuned in for your studies, the main thing is not to leave the intended path. For this, you need to attend your classes regularly. Do not miss a single lesson without a good reason, and always try to be as active as possible. First and foremost, you will not have any gaps in knowledge, and secondly, it will perfectly discipline you. Many students skip their classes, but this habit is a bad one. Then, the student has problems with the tests and exams which can be very difficult to solve. That is why it is better to hand over all tasks on time instead of collecting various debts.
The Check List
Make lists of the necessary things to do. Just do not treat it lightly and pretend to take notes instead of actually benefitting from writing everything down. Let your list be lengthy. Still, it must contain a number of short and specific tasks. In this case, you will have the opportunity to quickly perform one or two tasks and delete them from the list. Include each duty that you mention on your list. Create a system for prioritization, but not according to the terms or the deadlines which were set for you, but in the order of their importance. Of course, it is necessary to take into account the established timeframes, but those tasks that seem significant to you in the long term even more important. What is more, you should adjust the to-do lists regularly; this will take only a few minutes. Once you find that the significance of an item has increased, you should also increase its priority on the list. Assign your own timelines for performing the tasks included, setting them with a large margin in relation to the external deadlines.
Introduce Variety to Your Studies
For instance, if you decided to study for the whole evening, do not work only on one task. Spend some time repeating something, then consider planning your future work or continuing work on the assignment that you started before. It is believed that the change of tasks helps us stay focused. The effectiveness of your work will be higher if you are engaged in various tasks during the evening, rather than working monotonously on only one specific thing.
Use Every Moment of Your Free Time
Even the busiest people have two or three free minutes throughout the day. Use them for some small chores. For example, you can write down interesting thoughts that occurred to you in one of the classroom sessions last week. You will be surprised at how productive these little stretches of time will be. You should strive to always have something with you that you can occupy yourself with. Of course, it is not necessary to carry all your textbooks with you all day, but something small may prove to be very useful, such as a notebook or a card with some notes of the key points of the material being studied. Similarly, when preparing to perform an important task, like writing an essay, it is useful to carry a plan of the paper with you. This way, you can gradually sort out the ideas that come to mind so you can immediately put them into the plan in the form of keywords or phrases.
Prepare in Advance
From the very beginning of your studies, consider how the results will be evaluated. If the course ends with some exams, start practicing the answers as soon as you obtain the material. You should be ready to start answering questions by the end of the first week of classes. If possible, do it together with the fellow students. When working alone, you can sit at the table for hours without any real results. However, when you are a part of a study group, your opportunities to indulge in lazy dreams are significantly reduced. Every time you explain something to your friend, you effectively train yourself.
Do not let yourself be carried away by the seemingly urgent tasks. If you end up giving all your time and energy to one duty, you will simply find yourself in need of urgently performing another one after a while. To fulfill all tasks, try to start early so that the least possible number of them turns into those of an urgent variety. Set your deadlines for completing your work. Usually, when carrying out an assignment, you must keep it within the prescribed time limits. Thus, you should appoint yourself your own terms, more stringent than those prescribed for you. The feeling of satisfaction from the fact that you work ahead of the schedule will give you confidence and positively affect the quality of your work.
Avoid Accumulating Unfinished Tasks
Many students suffer from the accumulation of debts of the work performed during the course, for example, postponing writing an essay to the last possible moment. The case ends with the fact that they are forced to take care of their debts at a time when it is much more important to engage in the preparation for their exams. Use the first 10% of the allotted time. You may have noticed this feature of our human nature – 90% of the tasks are performed within the last 10% of the time. This means that you can do the same thing during the first 10% of the allotted time.
Constantly Look Through the Material
Do not expect that the information you were taught last week will remain in your memory for life by a wave of a magic wand. Having the previous material in your head is as important as remembering the one you are learning at the moment. However, you should try to be realistic. To keep pace is to work efficiently, but not to repeat your work at a later date. Choose the pace that corresponds to the level of your vitality. Note that the sources of energy to maintain the pace are sufficient rest and recovery.
The most valuable and versatile source of additional learning opportunities for you is your fellow students. The following guidelines will help you to get the most out of working with your friends:
- For group work, select tasks that are convenient to perform collectively rather than alone. It can be working with the information sources, writing a work plan, self-testing and brainstorming.
- The goal of teamwork is to ensure that each member of the group benefits from this form of cooperation with others. Keep in mind that when you explain something to someone else, the person who is currently studying with the greatest efficiency is you. The best way to understand something is to try to explain it to another person.
- Avoid cheating. The purpose of the work in the group should be to reduce the amount of work for its participants. If all members of the group have made the same contribution to the task, we can say with certainty that no one has used someone else’s work.
- Set some basic rules of behavior in the group. They must comply with the generally accepted standards of behavior, such as punctuality, the level of personal contribution and constructive criticism.
- Divide the general part of the work into several parts. This will help everyone to use their time better because everyone will not read the same book, article or link at the same time.
- Agree with each other. Set the deadline for completing the assignment for all teams. Agree on what kind of contribution to the work will be made by each of the members.
Notes that you make during the lectures and other group sessions are one of the most important sources of information that you create for yourself in the process of studying. Nevertheless, many consider them only as a mechanical recording of what they heard without thinking about the actual context of the words. Do not just copy what you see on the screen or the board. Copying without comprehension of the source material is too easy and brings little to no use. Express what you heard in your own words, in your own manner. Do not write long phrases if you can convey the meaning with only a few carefully chosen words. When continuously making a decision about what exactly should be written at any given moment, you keep your brain in a state of tension and do not let it get bored. Write down everything that you think is necessary for you to know.
Highlight all important places in your notebook. Arrange notes on each page in such a way so that it will be clear which ideas or concepts are the base of everything. To highlight an important part of the text, use the marker of a bright color, drawing and other methods known to you. Every time you do not understand something, write down your questions. Similarly, write down your thoughts and comments about what you heard. This way, your notes will not just be a copy of what you have previously heard – they will contain the result of your full comprehension. If possible, compare your notes with two or three works of other students and correct it accordingly. Continue working regularly with your notes while making additions, corrections and clarifications, and noting links to other important sources of information.
The ability to read quickly is an important quality that allows you to absorb as much information as possible. In order to rapidly understand the main idea of a book, read its table of contents. Mark the chapters or sections that, in your opinion, have the closest relationship to the subject of your study. Decide when you can use the techniques of the fast reading method. For example, if your goal is to get a general idea of the subject, fast reading will definitely be a great help. However, if you need more detailed information, fast reading will be useful only at the stage of searching for those parts of the text that need to be studied deeper. What is more, try to get rid of the habit (if you have it) to read out loud. Most of us are accustomed to reading as fast as we talk. In fact, our brain is able to perceive words faster than we pronounce them. Many, however, never learn to read faster than the way their speech works. Try to perceive words in groups and not individually. In many phrases, only one or two words are important, and the rest are insignificant for the perception of the true meaning.
Thus, by following these tips, you will improve your own studying methods and make the entire process easier.