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Top 10 Tips for Academic Success

Top 10 Tips for Academic Success


1. Determination. Think it through however you need to; you are at university to get a degree. Post-secondary education. Two words to keep at the back of your head for when you have to choose between a night out partying with your friends, and studying for the midterm in two days. Youíll have some of the greatest experiences of your life at university, but these will be made all the better if you donít have to see a bad mark when results come out.

If it sometimes gets difficult to encourage yourself to stay in the running, think about the investment youíve made. Money, time, stress. These are all things that should push you forward, and not backwards in achieving your goals. Those who are not willing to put in the effort, will be wasting this great opportunity.

2. Attend lectures and tutorials. Going back to the first point, this is what you're paying for. Go to lectures with positive thoughts, even if you've been told you have the worst prof for an 8:30 class. The prof might be bad, but you might still learn something during the time allotted for a course, instead of having to manage your time so that you can teach the content to yourself.

Only skip out on lectures if you are confident that you'll learn equally well yourself from the lectures posted, and you have the time to do it properly. Figure out your best learning methods early. However, remember that some lectures, though possibly boring, are necessary for the little bits of information not posted anywhere and tested on a midterm/exam.
Tutorials give you what you donít get in lectures; the one-on-one connection with the instructor or TA, or a high school class type environment. Assignments and questions set to be done for tutorials are often the best practice youíre going to get! Take advantage of your TAís knowledge and the small group interactions.

3. Be fresh and healthy. No energy drink or caffeine product will give you the positive feelings and refreshed mind that you get from healthy eating and good sleep. So, get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and drink lots of water. Staying healthy and fresh will help you with the positive thinking you need to stay focused and unstressed. And your academic learning will be enjoyable because of it. Stay fit by being active and exercising, or doing things that you love, whether it be running, rowing or dancing in your own room.

4. Take good notes. Do not think that because you are feeling energized and receptive to the information being presented, you'll necessarily remember it four months later. Remember, writing reinforces the information you are learning into your mind. And youíll need it for reference when you study or for labs in some courses. If not, better safe than sorry! Stay organized with your notes from the beginning, so you don't have to waste time before a test.

5. Read, read, and read some more. But donít treat it like a chore. Do your assigned and suggested readings before the lecture whenever you can. Try this and you will really enjoy the lecture in a whole new way. If not, try to read your chapters and articles as soon as the lecture is over, so the information is fresh in your mind. The chapter will finish faster because you wonít have to think too much about what the prof already taught in class. Take the time while youíre reading to think about the bigger picture and youíll enjoy finding connections between your courses. Keep in mind when you read however, that the lectures are usually the most important thing you'll be tested on.

6. Help is out there. Use it, it's waiting for You. TAs, profs, academic advisors, upper year students, your friends, and of course the macinsiders community! Be bold and ask questions in class. Let yourself be remembered by your prof or TA, in a good way. Find practice tests and do lots of them before your exam or midterm. Ask for more practice questions if you need them.

7. Start working on your assignments early. I know this is one most students disregard, but completing your work at least 24 hours before it is due will definitely give you some peace of mind. The time in between might sometimes be crucial for you to understand the point of the assignment/essay, to make major and minor corrections, and will keep you positive and stress-free about the coursework. It will also often end up helping you make important understanding connections of the content before handing in the work.

8. Midterms and Exams. The same applies here. Have the goal of completing studying for your test/exam as early as you can, especially if it is in the morning. Of course, this will be difficult when the midterms and assignments pile up, but you can achieve this better if you review lectures regularly as much as possible. Review before assignments and labs. Staying on top of the course will help you prevent cramming and stressing at the last minute. And this will help you go into a test confident with your abilities. The time before a test is good for relaxing and reviewing your notes, and it allows you to get questions you have out of the way before the Help centre and prof office hours close.
Also, study and read in a distraction-free environment, like a library. Find your own spot, a bench outdoors might be good for reading if you are not distracted easily. A lot of students find it easier to work when others around them are working too. Remember to take breaks as you need them in your study sessions; your mind needs it and so does your body. This will help you stay fresh for the next lesson.

9. Think about your future. But don't overdo it; you have four years to decide and change your mind. Volunteer or try to find a job that is related to your line of study. This will help you decide as well as stay focused while you gain valuable experience and useful references and contacts. Donít overload yourself during the academic year unless you know you can handle it. Try for something in the summer, but start your research early.

10. Last but not least, get involved! Socialize, make new friends! Purely from an academic point of view, extra-curricular activities will do you good. For one, they act as tools for learning time management. Secondly, they will keep your mind engaged in your studies. Your mind needs a break too, and clubsí activities and socializing provides this break to keep your mind fresh and eager for the next lecture. Remember to have a balance though, between your academics and extra-curricular activities. Prioritize.

BEST OF LUCK FOR YOUR MIDTERMS & EXAMS! Make the most of your year.

Chambini, Ethansaucier, frhnh, gongshow, Jake, kamalprasher, morgan, optimism, TeleKey all say thanks to Saleha for this post.

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Old 10-15-2009 at 09:24 PM   #2
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Very nice article. Thanks Saleha!


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Old 10-17-2009 at 06:00 PM   #3
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Great article! Thanks for the awesome tips !
Mary Keyes CA 2013-2014
Hons. Biology and Pharmacology V

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