Being “a good student” is an issue we have all had to tackle at some point in our lives. There are many, many obstacles in the way of achieving this status – lack of motivation, distractions, and time constraints, to name a few. You know getting on with work will benefit you in the long run, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to conjure up any effort to study.
Show up and be attentive
Above all else, showing up to classes is the most important thing you can do. This becomes clear if you look at the inverse – if you don’t show up, you won’t learn anything. Sometimes you may be a little tired, and other times you may have something else sharing headspace with whatever lesson you are attending, but in being present, you are doing the bare minimum required to be a good student.
But being present isn’t enough. We’ve all had those classmates who, while an ever present in the class, never pays attention. Obviously, giving in to such laziness will be counter productive at any time, but it is particularly harmful in lessons. If you miss vital information, being dispensed by a good teacher, no amount of studying later on down the line is likely to help.
Review as you go – don’t cram
“Revision”. The most dreaded word of all. It has been the bane of many a students life, usually because they left it all until the night before the exam. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that doing it all in one night isn’t the greatest idea. So whats the alternative? Constant revision.
Again, a scary pair of words in prospect, but it actually makes the whole process less daunting. If you review your work and knowledge regularly, you’ll find that the task becomes easier the more times to repeat the cycle. The first time you review a subject, you may realise you have forgotten things. By the third or the fourth time, you’ll essentially be skimming through everything, saying “I know that, I know that, I know that”. A last minute rifling or quizing on the subject matter is optional, if only to reassure your nerves that you do know everything, but not 100% necessary.
Break work down
This goes hand in hand with the above point. If you break down revision to smaller yet more regular sessions, it becomes easier. The same goes for work. When taking on a big task, think of it as a big tree. You wouldn’t set out to chop down the tree in on go, hacking away at the trunk for hours on end, before eventually tiring and putting off the job for a few days. Ideally, you would chop it down to size piece by piece, from top to bottom.
Approaching work in this way means you are very unlikely to get overwhelmed. Don’t put it off to the weekend, or even think “It’ll only take a week, so I’ll do it the week before the deadline”. Break it down into sections, and then do those sections ASAP. You’ll find finishing the work early, allowing you time to relax on the run up to the deadline safe in the knowledge that you have finished, is a lot more enjoyable than enjoying free time while the work dangles over your head.
Schedule “work time” AND “down time”
Yep, as crazy as it sounds, you should always schedule in time for yourself. It’s all part of being organised. If you work non-stop, you will tire out and the work will suffer. If you slack off, similar things will happen. The two concepts work best in balance. So in order to be a productive student, make sure you include set time to relax amongst your work hours. If you follow all of the tips above, you’ll already be working with a reduced workload, so fitting in relaxation won’t be difficult. And if you know you’ll be OK to knock off work at 8, you’ll work harder beforehand.
Story: Rules To Be A Good Student