Starting your university career is one of the most important milestones of your life. Every student feels a rush of excitement when they first get that acceptance letter, however, starting an academic career brings with it drastic changes. You will find yourself trying to adapt to new routines, study habits, peers, experiences and professors. Due to the sheer amount of novelty that takes place during the first year of your University career, your academic life may seem like it has taken a backseat to all of the changes. However, it is critical to understand that in order to achieve your goals, you must develop a study plan that will allow you to succeed. We have composed a list of tips and tricks that will ensure that you will find a way to adequately balance your academic and personal life while starting your new academic career.
Manage your Time Wisely
It is critical to make sure that you allocate enough time to dedicate to each task that you have to accomplish on a daily basis. An effective strategy to manage your day includes splitting your day into three categories which include: high priority tasks, important tasks, and unnecessary tasks. High priority tasks include urgent deadlines and any other tasks that require your immediate attention such as attending classes, research and taking care of your health if an emergency arises. Important tasks include those that can be put off such as socializing, shopping and other time spent on leisure. Unnecessary tasks are those which are not important to the overall well-being of your academic career such as watching television or playing video games.
Plan Your Day
One of the easiest ways in which to make sure that you accomplish the most important tasks on your schedule is by planning your day. One way to accomplish this is by making a to-do list for the next day prior to going to bed the night before. This will ensure that you do not waste any time on unnecessary tasks throughout the work week.
Set Mini Deadlines
It is critical that you set mini-deadlines prior to a big test, paper for college due date or any other exam. Setting mini-deadlines will help ensure that you are taking daily steps to accomplish a bigger goal in the least stressful manner possible.
Take Short Breaks
In order to make sure that your brain is operating at its maximum potential, it is critical to take short breaks between study sessions. Taking short breaks is a great way for your brain to fully absorb the material that it is being fed. It also helps your brain process necessary information before moving on to the next task.
Engage in Active Learning
University level classes require that you engage in learning that is active. This means that you need to take notes while attending classes, connect to the material learned last week by making sure that you engage in weekly reviews. Think about the course material and how it relates to the overall class and its message.
Ask for Help When Needed
Most professors enjoy the fact that their students are willing to ask for help outside of the classroom setting. If your University offers workshops and tutorials, it is great that you take advantage of them. In addition, science proves that we often remember concepts better if we explain them to a classmate. In fact, we retain 95% percent of what we teach to others. The next time you are studying for a test, why not try explaining a concept to a classmate? This will help you gain mental clarity about the material in question.
Creating Study Guides and Outlines
An outline can be thought of as a simplified study guide. The point of an outline is condensing large amounts of information from your course into an easy and logical system. Some professors and textbooks provide outlines of chapters which you may find helpful. Some tips for creating outlines are:
- Focus on broad subjects and concepts.
- Place as many concepts on a limited amount of space such as a page or two.
- Concept maps are especially helpful in placing ideas in a non-verbal form.
- As it is a study aid, too much time should not be spent on creating the actual study guide.
Avoid Getting Stressed Out
In order to make sure you have a healthy academic and personal life, it is important that you avoid unnecessary stress. One of the best ways to do this is to engage in physical activity such as walking, doing yoga, and other sports. It is important to remember that making the adjustment from high school to university involves unique pressures such as changing finances, leaving home, living independently; new relationships, and managing work and school thus knowing how to manage this new stress is very important. Making time out to deal with your stress can make a huge difference in your academic career.
Always Continue to Learn
Each course or assignment is unique and requires special skills needed to perform well on and carry over from the last material that was learned. A key element of success is working on the feedback you have gotten from your professor. Grades, comments, and other feedback can all help you improve your academic record and help you improve as a student. Instead of working harder, change your approach slowly based on the feedback you have received.