When starting a new year in school, most students have at least some feelings of “I’ll do well this year” or “This’ll be the best year”; however, for most students these feelings fade very quickly. It does not have to be this way, though. There are a few simple steps that students can take to make this year the best year so far (not to mention these tips can be used in their professional careers as well).

One of the hardest things to do is to admit you do not know something, or that something is too hard for you and to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with admitting this and is generally the first step towards getting better at it. Sometimes, it can even be difficult to realize that you do need help. For example, if a student is getting acceptable marks, they might not think they need help; however, with help, they might get great marks, or the work might get easier for them. It could be as simple as having more time to do extracurricular activities, for social functions or more time to study other more difficult subjects. Often, teachers and professors/TAs have office hours, or you can schedule time to see whether there are better routes towards your goals.

Another tip is to start studying early. Do not wait until your teacher/professor start talking about tests or exams to start studying. Some teachers and most professors will provide a course outline/syllabus which will give you the most important dates for that course. You can use those materials to have a rough idea of when you will need to put more effort into studying a particular course. This is not to say that you should ignore the others, but it will give you an idea of when some material might require more of your time. One of the ways to minimize your stress in these situations (especially if your professor/teacher do not remind you about upcoming tests and exams) is to start studying early. This could be as simple as reading the lesson ahead of time or going over your notes after a class and writing questions you need to answer. You can even discuss forming a study group with friends (for more information, take a look at our blog post regarding study groups or studying alone here).


There is nothing wrong with asking for help.

One of the most rewarding tips is to try to internalize the knowledge, and not just study for tests. When students study for a test, they generally cram the material in their short-term memory, then do not think about it until the next test for that subject. This does not give the brain a chance to make the ideas into long-term memories. By only studying for a test, students place extra pressure on themselves when exams start, since they did not internalize the knowledge. Instead of having all year to study for a final exam, students are faced with only having a few weeks (if that) to cram the knowledge.

 Some might be asking whether it can be as simple as this. In short, it depends on the student and how much they feel/are behind in their studies. If a student feels they are very far behind, they can always talk to their teacher/professor or hire a professional tutor to help them catch up. Now, these tips might seem easy, but for a lot of them, the student will still have to put in a lot of work. There are no shortcuts to learning. 


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