While browsing the Web, I’ve seen tons of articles answering the same question: “How can I make my grades in college/university/high school higher?” Although the answer is simple, for some reason, students keep thinking there is a special secret technique that helps them do less and get higher results. I want to disappoint all such people by saying there is no such secret wisdom, and they will have to do their best if they want any progress; in addition, I’d like to remind them about several trivialities about studying that actually work.
1. Know how you learn best. Smart people say that we learn 1) about 10% of what we hear 2) 15% of what we read 3) 20% of what we see and hear 4) 40% of what we discuss 5) 80% of what we experience and practice 6) 90% of what we attempt to teach (this is not my idea—I’ve taken this bit of info from here). Use this chart for your own good. But be careful with number 5, and please, don’t teach anyone anything unless you understand it well.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute. This is the most challenging thing not just for students, but for many adults as well. Nevertheless, instead of piling up home assignments, essays, projects, presentations, or whatever else your teachers have loaded you with, do a bit of all this every day, and organize your workload accordingly. The main criteria is doing everything on time, without rushing and decreasing your quality. Plan, schedule, make to-do lists—stick to all that. Doing a little every day is easier than doing it all at once.
3. Make sure you understand assignments completely. I won’t blab on about how often students do not do what they were asked to do. If you don’t get what you are asked to do, contact your teacher. Teachers are happy when at least one of their students demonstrates an interest in what they teach.
4. Ask questions in and out of class. An old Chinese proverb says that it’s better to feel stupid for a minute but ask a question than not ask at all and remain stupid for your whole life. Or was it Japanese?
5. Actually use the sources your teachers recommend. And keep in mind that looking everything up information in Wikipedia is not enough.
6. Attend class. It is obvious, I know. But do you know how many students skip classes and then criticize their teachers for not explaining material well enough? Don’t be a moron—attend every single class, listen carefully, keep records, ask for clarification if needed—and you will be fine. Skip classes, and your F grades will be fair.
7. Participate in class discussions and exchange opinions. We learn from 40% of what we discuss, remember?
8. Complete the readings. If your teacher says you need to read something, it’s not because he or she is evil and wants to oppress you. It’s for your own good, better understanding, higher grades, unicorns, and rainbows.
Being smart and responsible nowadays is much more rebellious, outstanding, and cool than being lazy, doing nothing, and hanging out all the time. Just because 90% of students prefer doing the latter doesn’t mean you should. What do they become? Right: boring dropouts with beer bellies, watching Fox News. and never leaving their town/province/state. Stand out: study harder.
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