Study Tips – from a Real Pro

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Image of young Asian man with glasses sitting in front of a garden.

John is a very busy business student who manages to balance a super heavy course load with a part-time job and his roles as Students’ Association president and Student Ambassador.  Despite it all, he excels at all of his courses.  If anyone was in a position to give some hints about how to improve your academic performance – it is John.  And he does just that, in this guest blog post:

As a student taking seven courses this semester with a part time job, acting as Students’ Association president, as well as some other roles and duties at College of the Rockies, it becomes really important for me to manage my time and keep the balance between everything.

I would like to mainly talk about how to be efficient as a student and give some study tips. There is a-three-step approach called Before-When-After.

1. Before the semester starts:
a. Download course outline from Moodle and be sure to know what materials will be covered.
b. Have the textbook ready; it doesn’t matter if you have an old version. Be familiar with the book and terminology related to the course.
c. Explore any subject that you don’t like and you are not good at. E.g.: follow industry experts and focus on what is happening in this particular field.

2. During the semester:
a. In the first week, after the first class of all the courses you have, spend one afternoon putting the due date of all assignments, quizzes, midterms, finals, lab exams, etc. in your notebook or online calendar – whatever way works for you. This will build your macro sense of this semester.
b. Divide the entire semester into small periods and set up goals for each period. For example, every four weeks can be a period when you evaluate your progress. Evaluate your achievement and adjust your goals based on your achievement.
c. Read the textbook or PowerPoint slides; be sure to know at least the topic and terminology. You will know which part of the lecture you want to pay more attention to.
d. Review course materials/textbook on a regular basis.

After class, in the same day, use 15 minutes to review the class notes.

The second day after class, use another 15 minutes to review the same materials.

After one week/five days after the class, review it again, just use 5 minutes to do a brainstorm.

Combine a couple of classes together to review them as a unit at the end of the month.

e. Take advantage of your tutor and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Bring your questions to the tutor and they can give you a different view from their perspective.
f. Manage your time based on your task list due dates from (a).
g. Analyze your midterm results and midterm paper structure. Instructors are consistent with their styles when making exams. You will benefit from this analysis and save time and build your confidence for the final exam.

3. After the semester:
a. Evaluate failures and achievement you have made in this semester. Reward yourself for your achievements and adjust your study strategies and plans to be prepared for next semester.