A lot of colleges are back in class today or over the next week, and that means a new chance to get your grades and study on the right track. If last semester didn’t go so well as you might have liked, try to let go of the frustration but remember what mistakes you could have improved on. Chances are, if you didn’t get the grades you wanted, there was some combination of the following problems:
- Showing up to class late or irregularly
- Skimming or skipping reading assignments
- Staying up late before tests / not getting enough sleep in general
- Taking on too many projects
Sure, its possible to fall behind in a class and cram enough studying and paper-writing in the last few weeks that you don’t fail, but if you’ve been down that road you know how stressful it can be and how poor the grades end up being anyway.
Skip the headache and try this novel idea: Show up to class at the beginning of the semester, and start reading the books from chapter one. Now, don’t get burned out either and stop putting forth the effort in another month. Set a pace, instead.
Plan to spend 2 hours outside of class for every hour you spend in class. Schedule times of the week that are dedicated to study, but schedule them early in the week so you can make adjustments as needed for emergencies, cool parties, and days when you really just don’t feel like it and won’t get much out of the books no matter how long you stare at them. If you’re energized by social interaction, set up a class study-group that meets regularly at a set time. If you study better alone, don’t feel pressured to join.
If you make a serious effort to get to every class on time and prepared with the reading & assignments, there’s a good chance that you will end up thinking that all the pop quizzes and tests and essays were actually pretty easy.
The key is to have that routine and stick to it – if you think its too tough to put 6 hours into a class each week, imagine how tough its going to be when you need to cram a whole month – 24 hours worth of work – into the one weekend before the final paper is due? What if you “just don’t feel like it” then?
Without great grades, there are few college scholarship opportunities available for currently enrolled students. A’s are essential, and few professors are going to be handing those out for students whose attendance, participation, and test scores were irregular. “Best improved” students might get a C, but only when the instructors are feeling generous and you’re exhausted from a week of all-nighters…