Yesterday, I started my last semester as an undergrad. It’s been a long and tough journey but I’m finally here! Pretty soon, I’ll be graduating and then dealing with grad school apps. Ahh, how nerve-wracking and exciting! Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my tips and experiences with you guys. At first, I wasn’t always the best student. But finally, I found which methods work best for me. Last semester, I got straight A’s and made the President’s List. It might seem impossible but there are ways to succeed in college and get straight A’s. Although, you must be willing to put the extra time and effort into it. If you’re in it to win it, here’s what I’ve done in the past to succeed in college and get straight A’s!
7 Ways to Succeed in College & Get Straight A’s
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1) Rent the textbooks.
Ever since my freshman year, I’ve noticed that the university’s bookstore always sells textbooks at much higher prices than online retailers such as Amazon and eBay. Then, my whole life changed when I found out that you could rent textbooks for even cheaper than Amazon. Especially since I don’t plan on keeping my general ed textbooks. I prefer Chegg because they’re cheap and they plant trees for just an extra $1 to your rental fee. If you can’t afford to rent a textbook, take advantage of the library. The library usually has textbooks on reserve that you can check out for about 2 hours. Going to the library and checking out the textbook forces you to use your time wisely and actually study.
2) Read the textbook.
This is a no-brainer. If you’re gonna rent the textbook, you might as well put that money (and brain) to use and start reading! When I read the textbook, I look at each chapter’s objectives and focus on those points. Also, I look out for key terms and phrases. Then, I write those key terms and phrases down in my notebook. Finally, when it comes to studying for the exam, I go over the review questions at the end of each chapter. It’s additional study material and professors love it when you come to class prepared… which takes us to my next point.
3) Come to class prepared.
Do the required reading before class. Print out PowerPoint slides. Come to class on time. Listen to your professor and pay attention to what they emphasize. Take notes only on what’s important or isn’t on your PowerPoint slides yet. The worst thing you could do is write every single bullet point down when you already have it on your printout. I’ve found that I do better when I just sit and listen to my professor’s lecture rather than copy every word. But that’s just me. Other people have different learning techniques and you have to find what works best for you.
4) Participate and interact!
While you’re sitting in lecture and trying to take notes, don’t forget to ask questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question. It’s always best to get clarification on things you didn’t understand. Also don’t forget to answer your professor’s questions mid-lecture. Apart from students not coming to class prepared, professors also hate it when the classroom is quiet and no one participates. If you’re too scared to speak in front of the class, the professor usually sticks around for a few minutes after class is over. Usually, that’s when I talk to my professors. It helps us get to know each other one on one. Lastly, don’t forget to make friends with your classmates! In case you miss a class, you have someone who can fill you in. This also helps you create a study group for exams.
5) Color-code everything.
Also, I’ve mentioned that I color code my notes and planner. It helps keep me organized. Usually, I stick to one color for each chapter. For example, I’ll use green sticky notes and highlighters for one chapter and then blue for another. I never use yellow until I’m reviewing the material and know it’ll be on the exam. Recently, I bought the 10-pack of Staedtler triplus fine liner pens with sticky tabs in matching colors. I can’t wait to use them this semester!
6) Do NOT procrastinate.
Don’t wait until the very last minute to do your assignments. If your professor opens a new quiz online, do it right away. If you know that a paper is due in the next few weeks, start right away because professors tend to make everything due around midterms and finals week. Most of all, doing things right away will lower your stress levels because you’ll have less to worry about.
7) Use a planner.
One way to prevent yourself from procrastinating is by using a planner. I probably wouldn’t be able to function if I didn’t have mine. Every day, I use my planner. I write down all my assignments and due dates, as well as upcoming exams. Going back to my point about color-coding, I have a system so I can tell the difference between school, work, personal, and social matters. In addition, I’ve started bullet journaling, which really helps me stay even more organized.
If you know of other ways to succeed in college (or even high school), please share them in the comments!
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