Friday, March 5, 2010

Adventures and school

I would like to talk about school, and the importance of getting the highest grade possible towards your degree. That is what I'm doing right now.

So here are a few things that are on my mind:

If you are currently enrolled in school, that earns you a degree, keep up the good grades, having bad ones can mean dire consequences, and expulsion can happen.

I feel like those academically struggling can use a little help but I think this is more of a self-motivating thing to do well academically.

What's so different from grade school (elementary-high) is that there's more freedom, however time management is so crucial between success and failure in school.

There is this term Academic probation and students land on it if their grade point average falls below retention standards, (senior schools, it's 2.0, usually lower for community schools) Students who don't improve their academic status will eventually face expulsion.

I know keeping up the good grades is more of a common sense thing, however circumstances may prevent one from doing well in classes.

Study habits are important too, it can make a big difference between passing and failing. For example, when you have material coming from lectures and discussion courses, it's best to study them now, rather than cram it just a few days before the exam. I had the habit of cramming for exams and it killed me academically. I hope you don't make the same mistake as I did.

Reading the textbook. Don't just skim it, or look for short versions like "Cliff Notes". Those won't help you here. You must try to read the textbooks thoroughly and carefully. Take notes of the most important points. It will help you in the long run. Making outlines for your readings will help you too.

Here is my short list for doing well and getting the highest grades you can achieve
  1. Attend every class: Too many absences can result in failure. If you don't attend, you can't participate, you can't take notes, and the instructor will have to mark you absent. Absences are the reasons people fail.
  2. Be organized: Papers, pens, books, folders are helpful in organization. Use one notebook for each class or use dividers to separate notes for your three ring binder. Take some phone numbers from your classmates in case you need help or if you miss an important part of the lesson.
  3. Time management: Study time, recreation, work, etc, time for all those must be balanced. This plays an important role in preparing for exams and projects.
  4. Take good notes: Good note-taking, especially in lectures will help you do well, and these can be helpful for studying for exams.
  5. Read a textbook effectively: Take notes to jot down the most important points of the textbook, most likely the terms will be reviewed.
  6. Prepare for exams: Do not just start studying just a few days before the exam starts (that's cramming) In fact, when your first lesson begins, study it carefully and do the same for each upcoming lesson or lecture, and go over it daily. This helps you retain more information.
  7. Help centers: If you having trouble with class, go to your instructor, a tutor, or a academic adviser for help in classes. They really know their material very well.
  8. Study effectively: Find a quiet room to spend roughly two hours studying your material. For every three hours on one class, two of them are usually spent studying on your own. You probably didn't do this in high school!
  9. Keep pace: If you start having those grades drop, go seek help or change your study habits. If your grades are high, keep them there, if they are low, make them higher in the next exam, assignment, and or project.
  10. Exams: Exams play a huge role in determination of grades, do well and you'll be fine, do bad and watch your grade suffer.
Some things to point out during school life:
  1. Classes may very in size, you may have from 15 students to as much as 100 in one classroom.
  2. Critical thinking skills are required to do good in classes. When you read, you must be able to recall important points.
  3. While Exams make up the big portion on your grade, homework does make very little, but they prepare you for exams.
  4. Low grades can lead to a loss in financial aid, probationary status, disciplinary action and expulsion.
  5. Most of the learning (I specified this earlier) is mostly done on your own, you should expect to spend hours reading, doing assignments and studying the material.
  6. If you have computer work, save it on a disk. I highly recommend memory flash drive sticks because they can store as much as 2-8g of memory.
  7. Returned papers, quizzes, and exams can be your help in studying for other exams and projects, it's best to keep them safe, even if the grades are low.
  8. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses from classmates are a great way to keep in touch with others, so you can keep tabs on work.
  9. Neat and organized space, prepare to study in a desk or table, when doing assignments.
  10. Plan ahead for upcoming schoolwork, that way you don't have to stress when time is running short.
  11. Adapt to different instructors, there are different teaching styles, get used to them quickly.
  12. Prepare for each class by doing readings, assignments, and research beforehand. If you don't you'll be lost.
  13. Communicate with your instructors, they can be your friends too, you know. They find their jobs enjoyable if students are more engaging.
  14. Be on time. If your are late too much, your grade drops.
  15. Participate, it helps, spread the word out.
  16. If you work in groups, be active and take an role. If you are doing nothing, the group suffers too, not just you!
  17. Take notes and recognize important information: Instructors place a big emphasis on them.
  18. Read, read, and read some more. You may not understand the readings the first time, go read it again and take notes of the topics that you may not have looked thoroughly the first time.
  19. Memorize important information! This is helpful especially if you have to memorize formulas in mathematics, or terms in history class. Use flash cards with the formula and answers in each side.
  20. When writing paper assignments, be clear and concise. Proofread your paper or have someone do it for you, just don't have your helper write the paper for you.
  21. Answering essay questions require that you address all aspects: Brainstorming helps too.
  22. For every math question that you bump into solve the problem and check. Do not spend too much time on one problem. You must show all work in math problems, just the answer alone won't give you full credit. Partial credit for wrong answers is given out too.
  23. Open Book tests give you the advantage of looking through your notes, however they require you to look at information quickly.
  24. Test anxiety: Study early, often and relax. Don't beat yourself up if you didn't do good in the previous exams, maintain your self-esteem.
One thing to stress: Plagiarism! Do not be tempted to do it. If you cheat in exams and papers, there are disciplinary actions that can be taken against you and you'll eventually face expulsion! Do your own work instead!

That's it for this post!

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