If you are interested in how to be a good student in university or just are wondering how to become a better student in general, then you are in the right place. Below, you will find a simple and adjustable point by point plan, that you can easily implement into your working life at university or college in order to maximize your working efficiency -- presenting you with strategies and tips utilized by top 'A' grade and first class university students that require the least amount of effort for the maximum grade gains.
1. Check Over 'How to Become a Straight - A Student' by Cal Newport, I have personally read this book and I have to say it really is a great read for anyone who is serious about upping their education 'game' to the next level. An awesome resource for those looking to get the 'top grades'.
2. The first practical (and perhaps most important) step. Get organized! This is perhaps the clearest distinction of what makes a 'good' student and what makes a 'bad' student at university. Almost every successful student at university you come across will have some sort of structured timetable they work themselves around varying from a diary to an everyday to do list. Draw yourself up a structured plan, and visit it everyday, make amendments where needed but remember be realistic don't set yourself too much, but don't set yourself too little either -- push yourself. You will find from simply organizing your academic life -- that there then comes a range of benefits both to you and to your academic life by simply being organized e.g. less stress, freeing of mental capacity, more time for recreational activities etc.
3. Efficient Revision Strategies. The second biggest distinction between a good and a bad university student (and their exam results) is how effectively they revise. Those who start early and schedule their revision plans with a range of revision exercises (e.g. study groups, revision cards etc.), are likely to perform far better than students who starts late, and sticks to one method of revision such as just rewriting and re-reading their notes. (How to Become a Straight - A Student has a couple of great chapters that you should check out specifically on efficient revising).
4. Use the Teaching Assistants/Lecturers. The amount of students who don't use the TAs is usually incredibly low, and yet they are probably the best source of getting quality answers and solutions to the questions and issues students are having. Students usually just leave problems for 'revision time' and for them to work out later, but as a result end up spending hours and hours just trying to workout something that turns out to be rather obvious and trivial. Instead, make a list of anything and everything you are having difficulty with and then book an appointment the following week with a TA or better yet, the lecturer themselves and bring up and discuss your issues. Both saving you time as well in all likeliness ending with the student getting a better grasp with the issue at hand.
5. Past Feedback - often candidates will focus on looking at past papers and their respective mark schemes to get a general idea of what is coming up, and that is a great step to take. But, what many of the top university students is go one step further and look up the feedback on marked essays and past papers of all the past years, to see if there are any points that they are missing out on, or a comment that has been passed on by a particular marker about what many students failed to achieve in a particular essay.
6. Break-it-Down. When it comes to essays or projects, many students get daunted by the 'overall picture' and fail to break it down into reasonable chunks, that many of the top students do. For example, say you have an essay, most students simply attempt the essay whilst researching as they go along, which often ends up being very time consuming as well as resulting in a poor grade. Instead, top students approach it in 'chunks', for example, they commit to the research of the essay first with relevant note making, and then from the research they have conducted they can build a sufficient essay plan. Then when it comes to the actual writing of the essay it is fairly simple, they have a good structure, good conclusion all with relevant citations and more often than not resulting in a quality A or first mark.
7. Battling Procrastination. Do you ever find yourself struggling with motivation? Then I urge you to check out the video below 'The Secrets to Academic Success' an awesome motivational speech by Eric Thomas. Bookmark it and watch every few days!
8. Effective Notes. Many students, make the simple mistake of trying to write down everything that is said in a lecture or seminar and then in some cases never bother to read over the notes again, obviosuly a mistake. Instead, with every seminar or lecturer, figure out its purpose, what is the goal and objective. Then note down keywords and phrases to anything that relates to that goal. Then prefably after the lectuer in very same day draft a neat copy of notes, that will form as the basis of your revision notes.
9. Go a Little Beyond. What I mean by this is, try to stay a chapter or two ahead of the game, it obviously prevents you from getting behind and when it comes to the actual lecture or seminar you will have a better chance of engaging and understanding the material, rather than end up getting lost half way through and simply no longer paying attention to the rest of the lecture.
If you have any additional tips and advice on how to be a good student in university, then I encourage you to share them below.