How to get good grades and survive college assignments.
Getting the outline of what your course is about prior to starting college can give you a head start over what to read for your semester.
Many courses now expect you to read additional texts outside the actual course requirements. Not only can you expect class assignments to be part of your grade but many times there are tests included too, so you need to keep on top of both areas. Depending on the type of college course you are doing, blogs, newspapers, documentaries or books could be additional areas you need to study up on.
Knowing the reading list of your college course prior to starting your semester can help reduce the pressure later on as the year progresses. Sometimes reading required books for your course during the summer might not be fun but it could lessen the work load later on.
You could spend lots of time studying and putting all your energy into your college assignment and exams and not get the results you expect. This can aggravate you and make you feel like nothing you do is good enough, but sometimes little changes can make a difference to what grade you get.
Students are always going to compete against each other in college and the competition to beat you fellow classmate is intense. To get good grades, you have to go that extra mile and work harder than everyone else.
How is your grade determined
Different colleges have different methods of assessing students.
1. The first method could be formal test at the end of the semester term.
2 The second method could be individual class assignments or group assignments.
3. The third method could be a combination of both. 20% of your grade could be dictated by class assignments, while the remaining 80% could relate to an exam at the end of the semester.
We are all strong in different areas, some students love assignments and some thrive on studying for an exam. While you might be strong in one area and not another, you need to try to keep an average mark in both areas because if you fall down in one, it could impact your whole grade.
Method 1: Test
Sometimes a test at the end of the semester can be easier than a class assignment. Having your whole semester just focused on a test at the end of the terms means your main focus is not divided up by assignments.
All your attention is now focused on writing out your class notes every week and staying on top of the required reading list and doing as much studying in your free time as you possible can.
Writing out your notes is not easy the first time you attempt it, you can easily become distracted, but you need to do it and you need to stay focused.
Try to start writing notes as soon as you possibly can, leaving them just means that the work builds up. Time flies and before you know it the semester is over and you are well behind in writing your notes.
Method 2: Class Assignments
If class assignments contribute to your grade then you need to start your assignments as soon as you get them. The longer you work on them, the better the result will be.
Keeping your fellow students motivated in group work is a difficult task. People can start to slack and take advantage of your time and skills. Try to lay out ground rules from the beginning and make sure that people know there are consequences to their actions if they do not work hard.
With any type of assignment or task, you can lose momentum, but if you do, just go away from the assignment for a few days and let your brain relax. After a few days come back to it and you will find that you have a clearer picture of what you need to do.
With assignments, it is best to have them completed a few days before the due date. Why? The more time you have to edit and tidy up your assignment especially group assignments the better it is for you. Having to edit the assignment the night before it is due is not fair and can also lead to you missing simple grammer mistakes.
Method 3: Assignments and Test at the end of the Semester
Sometimes your course might require a test and class assignments. This is quite a common theme in many college and can make things a little bit more difficult.
it can be harder to stay focused now. Your time management skills will now come in to play here. While it might be comforting to leave your studying until the end of the semester and focus on the assignments as they are due, this can be difficult. ignoring everything and simply focusing on assignments means you can fall behind in your studying. Knowing the value of each assignments means you can evaluate how much time you should put into it.
If the grade of your assignment is only worth 5%, 10% or 15% then determine what you would like to get and then accordingly set time aside to work on it. If your exam is worth 80% or 90% then obviously the majority of your time should be focused on this.
Not getting the grade you expect in an assignment can be disappointing and can be stressful if you were depending on a grade to help with your overall result. If you got 10% in an assignment that was worth 20%, try not to feel defeated, you just need to put more effort into the next one or put more effort into the exam. But try to stay focused on the long term goal which is to pass the semester.
Foods to eat when studying
Finding the best time to study
The first time you start studying might not be as successful as you expect. You need to gradually start into it.
First you need to determine what time is the best time of the day or night for you to study.
You're going to be either a morning, afternoon or nighttime studier.
We all have different times of the day that we are at our peak. The majority of people might like the morning to afternoon slot while others love to stay up till 4am cramming at the books.
Whichever type of studier you are, determine which schedule works for you and then stick to it.
That way you have a routine in place and your brain will work it to your advantage.
Reading college textbooks
- How to read a college textbook and take relevant notes from it
Having a technique that makes reading college textbooks a lot easier can help reduce the time you spend reading them. This will free up more time for studying.
How to study for theory modules
If you have an exam at the end of the semester that will primarily be theory then you really need to start at least part of the studying for this module as soon as you can.
Theory can be extremely easy or extremely difficult to comprehend. The more difficult it is, then the harder it will be for you to learn it.
You're going to need to rely on some college textbooks, the Internet and possibly a dictionary here especially if you want to get some understanding of it.
Once you know how to read and takes notes from a college textbook, then you can start studying the information.
Start studying theory slowing at first and with a few pages of study notes. Never try to overdo it and try to learn 10 pages of notes off in a short amount of time. Half of it will not stick in your head.
Read the first page of your study notes and try to remember the most important facts. Now turn over the page and try to write down the few points that you can remember from reading it. Re-read the page again and try to remember the points you have forgotten. Finally write out all the main points of what you have just read.
- Do this for each page of your study notes and when you have one particular topic covered, go back and try to write down as much as you can about it.
Once you read and then write down something, there is a better chance that it will stay in your head. This is a time consuming process and that's why you should try to study a new topic you have covered in class as soon as you can.
Leaving everything to the last minute means that you will most definitely forget some important pieces of information
How to study for a maths exam
Maths exam are tricky in the sense that before you can answer the question you need to understand the question.
Been proficient at picking out the relevant pieces of information you will need to complete the maths question is the hardest part of answering a maths question.
There are two techniques in the way a maths question is written.
1. You're given all the relevant pieces of information and all you need to do is put them into the formula.
2. You're not given all the pieces of information only 2 and you then need to calculate 3 and 4 to complete the formula.
Example: If you were doing an accounting exam you could be told in one question that the revenue is $150,000. However in another question you weren't told the revenue but were told that the unit price was $15.00 and the units sold where 15,000. In this instance you need to multiply $15.00 by 15,000 to get the revenue total. This is a very simple example.
That why you need to break down a maths question into sections and learn the different steps that are attached to each part. Write out how each step is completed and once you have this done it will make answering the question look a lot more easier.
There might be 1 or even 2 ways of answering one step in the question and you need to add this to your notes.
Once you have accomplished how to pick the information to complete step one in the maths question, move on to step two and do the exact same thing. Once you know how to do step one and two move on to the next step until you have accomplished each step associated with the question.
You'll find that breaking the question down into parts reduces the stress associated with studying maths.
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Working in study groups
Be aware that when you join a study group, you will all have different ways on learning something. This can be good but it can also be bad.
The best way to work in a study group is to find a method that works for all of you and if you can't work within that group, then join another one or set up your own.
If you join a study group a few weeks into the semester you might find it harder to get into the method that they are using especially if it's not what you are used to.
Sometimes studying with friends who have the same method of studying as you can be beneficial.
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Quick tip on how to structure an essay and get good result
There are a few points to remember when writing an essay. When structuring your essay you need to have an introduction, body and conclusion.
Your introduction is left till the end, your conclusion is a summary of what your essay is about and the body of the essay will consist of a few paragraph of information to support what it is you are talking about.
10 Ways on how to get a good grade on an essay
Essays are part of college life, you need to conquer how to do them and determine the structure required for a particular lecturer.
If you want to be successful at them try to read as many books as you can on how to write an essay and always do a few drafts before you submit them.
1. Figure out what the title is about, look for keywords that stand out.
2. Write out headings on what the topic is about.
3. Do a general outline on what you are going to put in your essay.
4. Rely on the index page at the back of college textbooks to find relevant sections in the books that relate to the essay topic.
5. Leave your introduction till the end.
6. Your conclusion will be a summary of what your essay is about.
7. Find some quotes to support your finding. (Don't forget to reference)
8. Focus on quality, not quantity. Remember if you write crap, your grade will be crap.
9. Never copy directly from the book, plagiarism is illegal and could get you in trouble.
10. Your first draft is never the final draft. Do at least 3 drafts before you finally submit it. Try to get someone who isn't doing the same assignment as you to read your essay before submission. Bad grammar is never forgotten.
How To Write a Paragraph for an Essay
This is a quick way on how to write a paragraph for the body part of the essay you have to do for college.
When starting your first paragraph for the essay you will usually give an outline of what it is you are going to talk about in this essay.
You need to remember that when you state a fact within a paragraph of an essay that you will need to follow up this statement with a reference. This is the supporting statement to what you have just said.
Next you need to follow up this supporting fact with a leading statement into your second paragraph which also concludes your first paragraph.
- You need to do this for each paragraph in the body part of your essay. This will give a flow to the essay and make it read a lot better.
It takes time to accomplish this and that is why you need to do a few drafts and read your essay a few times before you finally submit it.
Taking notes in class
Taking notes in class will be required for some courses you are taking. But in other classes you might not have to take any notes.
The thing about note taking in class is that you need to know what it is you are writing down. If your focus is on trying to write down everything that your lecturer says, then you are going to miss out on something important that was said and not write it down.
There is no way you can concentrate and hear something and write something at the same time.
You don't need to write down everything the lecturer says. It's also impossible that you will remember everything he/she said anyway.
What you do need to learn is how to listen and pick up the hint that are dropped that emphasis what it is that is most important. This will be hard and is not a skill you will pick up in a few weeks, but it is a skill you will pick up after a year if you focus more on listening and less on writing.
College notes should be relevant to your study
When you write down notes in class you need to ensure that they are relevant and that you can use them when studying.
Otherwise it was a waste of time taking them down in the first place. That's why it can be good to have any hand-outs in class with you and underline or write notes on the side o the page that could be relevant for the exam.
This way when you sit down to write out your study notes you can incorporate what it is you have learned from class into your notes.
College is tough and sometimes it can take you a few weeks to get used to the pace and expectation put on you.
No matter whether you are a 18 year old attending college for the first time or a mature student going back to college, you will still have some of the same issues.
Once you master the first year of college, you will find that while the stress can sometimes be tremendous, the rewards can be worth it.
© 2014 Sp Greaney
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