Or How to Piss Off Your Classmates Really Bad
Or How to Get A Check Of R.s. 1500 Or More
My CGPA till the 3rd semester was 2.8. It was smack in the middle of class average. Crossing the 3 GPA mark felt beyond my capabilities. So in the fourth semester I made up my mind. I made a pact with myself that if in the fourth semester my GPA doesn’t go above 3, I would leave the profession of Engineering and try my luck in the career of commercial piloting. So all through the 4th semester I tried different experiments with the way I studied. Basically, I stopped caring about the grades I was getting and started concentrating on how I was actually preparing for tests and exams. And then the results came out. My SGPA was 3.79. In the 5th semester my SGPA was 3.67. People were baffled by my grades and asked me how I was able to achieve them.
So it was just about the time for my consciousness to kick in, and drag me to write this article. But first let me clarify a couple of things. Think of them in terms of strings attached to the tricks and tips I am about to tell you:
- All of these techniques were developed by me so some of them may have their area of application restricted to my individual self. In short, don’t expect all of them to work for you as well.
- I have highlighted the science behind some of these techniques but I am completely at a lost to justify techniques such as the wisdom pen and the wisdom book, scientifically.
Here we go:
What’s your Motivation?
The stereotyped lot would tell you that the basic reason for a student to study is his or her thirst for knowledge. If you still belief in that crap, than grow up! Find your own motivation to ruin that sweet dream at its climax and waking up to attend those boring classes. Find your own reason for studying at home or in your dorm, when you could have been partying with your friends or playing computer games or watching T.V. or stalking people on the Facebook or whatever else you find interesting. Once you find out your purpose, hold on to it through the thick and thin of your semester. Better yet, write it done on a piece of paper and put it on display in the area of your study, so that it always remain insight when you are studying. It could be anything, from getting into a good university for your postgraduate or finding a good husband or wife on the basis of your academic merit.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!!!!!!
It’s true, it’s so true…
“20% time spent on planning can save 80% of your time spent on actual work”.
Planning is the most important aspect of effective study skills. At our stage in life, we (students) don’t value it that much. But the truth is those who “fail to plan, plan to fail”. So how do you “plan”? Simple, generate a list. Make it each night before going to sleep. In that list, mention all those tasks you want to accomplish during the following day. You could also group those tasks in terms of importance. For example, if a task is really really important, than draw an alpha in front of that task; if a task is really important, than make a beta sign in front of it, and if a task is just important, than make a gamma sign. Now focus on giving more time to tasks with alpha signs in front of them. If you finish a task, than be sure to cut it off from your list and once you complete all the tasks in a list; sign it with your name at the bottom and crumble it before throwing it in dustbin. The crossing off and signing part is only there to fuel your sense of achievement.
During exams keep yourself accountable for each and every minute spent. Before starting preparation for an exam, first calmly sit down and jot down the salient topics of a subject. Do it even if it takes an hour; the last thing you want to do is start shooting with no clue of your target.
Winners start early. After my 9th grade’s, let’s say, “Not so” respectable result, my father told me one thing that has been with me during all those years. He said that a long jumper doesn’t stand at a point and try to jump the farthest distance. No instead he or she takes a long run, develops his or her momentum and then uses it to achieve greater distance. That’s the case with getting good grades, as well. Start preparing early for a test or an exam. You can also follow these rules of thumb; if you are preparing for an hourly or a class test, than be sure to start your preparation two days ahead of its date. I don’t mean that you should start studying like crazy when there is one day left before the test. No, instead just give it one or two hour so when you actually sit down for proper preparation a day before the test, at least your self-consciousness won’t be bothering you.
During exams, try to start preparation for the next paper within 3 hours of the preceding one. If there is no gap between two papers, than try to start your preparation even earlier. It’s much better to start your preparation early and then have a good night sleep. Remember, in exams, sleeping during night and being wide awake while giving paper are crucial beyond your wildest imaginations. Put a ban on those all-nighters before the start of exams.
I used to drink coffee even before, but during the 4th semester, I got myself a coffee machine. Then I used to brew freshly grounded coffee and, boy, the kick I used to get from a cup of dark coffee was amazing. Studies have shown that coffee actually enhances your brain power as it increases the blood flow to your brain thereby making you much smarter. But here in Pakistan, people have these misconceptions about coffee as being a cause of cancer and what not. On the contrary, one cup of coffee actually prevents a cancer from developing within your body.
So make it a habit to drink one cup of freshly brewed coffee (mind you, not the instant one…) every day. But beware, once you get hooked up on coffee than there is no way you would be able to free yourselves from its clutches.
Improve your memory:
No matter how much you want to deny it; the truth remains the same, good memory equals good grades. So, how to develop a good memory? Simple, use mnemonics. These are the techniques that help you improve your ability to recall. Whenever we get a course that has nothing but theory in it, mnemonics make my life a lot easier. The good thing is, they are fun to use and there are plenty of them. For now search for them on the internet; in future I may write a blog about them…
That’s right. Take notes whenever you sit down to study. That means, WHENEVER. The thing is, it’s almost impossible to cram your entire 4 months course in those 7 to 9 hours of study you get before an exam. So make each and every hour of self-study during the semester count by making concise notes. If you are reading a book than don’t let your eyes do the entire job. Instead get your hands involve by doodling on the edges. If you aren’t that creative, than simply write 3 words in front of each paragraph that summarizes the crux of the paragraph’s topic. In this way, you will be able to concentrate better by involving more parts of your brain into the act of study. And we all know, “the more; the merrier!”
Why thy do not concentrate?
The most stupid thing a student does that ruins his or her grades is not focusing during the class. Trust me, if you start concentrating you will become aware of tons of information that will help you to plan your study sessions more effectively. For example; it seldom happens that a teacher will cover all the contents of a given chapter. Those students, who were day-dreaming during the class, would probably read the whole chapter, from start to finish, in preparation for a test. Whereas smart students know what to prepare and how much time to give to a particular topic; depending upon the importance which the teacher showed towards that topic.
Now what if a teacher or a subject is boring? First of all a subject by itself is never boring. It’s either the way it is taught or the way a student learns it that makes it seem boring. Try this, take your register and divide each page into two halves. In one half, scribble key words spoken by the teacher during the lecture. You can also note down any information you may find interesting during the class. Now when you reach home, try to write all the details you can remember pertaining to those words you had earlier written; in the second half of the page. It may seem uninteresting but once you get a hang of it, you actually start enjoying the process of recalling what each word actually meant and writing the details in your own words.
- Sometimes teacher themselves give you clues about what to expect in a test or an exam. So keep a look out for them while you are in the class.
- Relative system is an evil plan of teachers to divide and conquer. So don’t fall in that relativity trap. Try to work as a team with your classmates. If the whole class decides not to submit an assignment than be decent enough to oblige.
- Maintain a book of wisdom® for all the notes that you make for your class tests. They are quite handy during the final exams.
- Get yourself a pen of wisdom® and use it exclusively for giving tests.
- Grow a beard of wisdom® during exams. (If you are a girl than calmly accept the fact that you would get lower grades, since you can’t grow a beard of wisdom®…)
- DO NOT WRITE TO THE POINT. Teachers tell you to do so to make their own jobs easier. If you have filled the whole page and haven’t written a single relevant point, even than a teacher would feel guilty over giving you a zero.
- There are two methods of solving a numerical. In the first method you assume that the teacher would not mind if you skip the obvious steps. In the second method, you assume that teacher is a 12 year old and consequently you try to explain each and every thing as if you are a writer of “For Dummies” series. The former method gives you headaches whereas the latter method gives you good grades.
- DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SESSIONAL GRADES. During semester focus exclusively on your class tests even if it means sacrificing one or two class assignments and quizzes.