I’m a 4.0 GPA university student. I get A-range grades in all of my classes. I’ve been awarded a position on the Dean’s List every year of my college career. And the best part? I still have time to have fun and de-stress even while studying hard and getting perfect grades!
Some people shake their head and think that I’m merely gifted. Sure, I’m smart (if I dare say so myself). However, good students aren’t BORN. Good students just know how to study productively.
I’ll show you seven simple methods that allow me to use my time wisely and have time to party while still studying hard. You can take these seven tips and apply it to your own studying, whether you’re in high school, college, or grad school!
1. Go to class and be an active participant!
I know, classes can be boring. However, going to class regularly does two things. First, it shows your professor that you want to learn and that you are applying yourself. I hate to say this, but university professors are humans and, as such, they have biases. If John and James are both doing the exact same on a test, but John comes to class everyday and James comes only every once in a while, the professor will give John a better score.
Going to class doesn’t mean just sitting there and doodling on your notebook. Answer question, ask questions, and be a participant! Be careful not to be the obnoxious guy who tries to answer every question, but DO put in your two cents every once in a while.
2. Sit (near) the front of the class!
Like I noted in Number 1, professors are human and have biases. If you sit at the front of the class, they’ll assume you are a nerd and are smart. I’m not even kidding! However, no one likes to sit at the very front. I, personally, sit at the second row. It says “I’m here to learn” without being at the very front. Great compromise!
3. Do all of your homework as soon as you get it, and remember to turn it in on time!
I could tell you horrible stories about friends I know who had to pull an all-nighter because they forgot about a homework assignment, or didn’t realize how much time it would take. Honestly, I have NEVER had to do an all-night study session. People look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s true. If you plan ahead, you won’t cram for time!
Do your homework as soon as you get it. When you get back home or to your dorm after a class, pull out the assignment. If it’s a large one, such as a thesis paper, you of course can’t do it all. But start it! And if it’s something short, like a reading assignment, read it right then and there before moving on to anything else.
You’ll feel a lot better and more free when you have no homework. You’ll be able to enjoy time with your friends without a nagging voice in the back of your mind. And you’ll get everything done!
Just because you do it doesn’t mean you can forget to turn it in. I’ve had to run back to my dorm after a class to grab something I forgot to turn in. Remember to turn in your work!
4. Don’t procrastinate!
This is almost the same as number 3, but it is so important that I need to mention it again: Never, ever, EVER put off doing your homework or assignments. You will do a LOT better if you are working calmly and have a lot of time to do something. Doing an assignment the night before it is due is a guaranteed drop in your grades. There are no questions about it, students who do their work ahead of time without stressing over time will get a better grade. Period.
5. Sleep a lot!
This doesn’t mean sleep in when you stay out until 4 a.m. Sure, you can party. Go and have fun! Just try to get seven to eight hours of sleep. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you find that you need coffee or a Red Bull to stay alert, you are not getting enough sleep. Caffeine can keep you up, but it also keeps you from learning at your highest potential. A well-rested brain retains and remembers information a lot better. It will also protect you from getting sick. I’ve gotten sick THREE TIMES in the past two years of university, and those were just colds!
6. Eat well!
Eat lots of fruits and veggies, hold off on the pizza and beer, drink a lot of water, and take care of your health. I talked to a school nurse on my campus who said there is a direct correlation between how you eat and how you do in class. Students who eat a lot of junk food, she say, do a lot worse than students who try to eat healthy.
7. Join a study group!
Hook up with other students, share notes, compare ideas, and dialogue! It’s a great way to learn and see new perspectives of whatever you’re studying. Just don’t cheat! Cheaters NEVER win.
With these seven tips, you are well on your way to being one of the most successful students at your university.