Hello dear. I thank you for sharing your advice with us. And i found out that i need it now if you can ofc. I want to graduate next year so bad but my grades aren't good enough, but i have the determination to work hard even though it's impossible to graduate with a good mark. But the problem is that i don't know how to work hard, like how can I guarantee success? Next year will be a tough one for me , I have alot of subject and the thesis, and i don't want to study a 5th year bcuz I'm done:/
Hi! I’ll start by noting that I could give the best advice ever (where is my life philosophy sticker??) but it ultimately comes down to you. You need to put systems in place that are effective and help you get the grades that you really need. I will give you a couple of overarching tips but you have to work for it. Here goes!
Fix your mindset:
This is so important and shouldn’t be underestimated. Use the fact that you might have to stay back another year as motivation to push yourself. You need to learn to discipline yourself to keep going and not become reliant on motivation alone. Believe in yourself! you can do it! This post is all about developing discipline. Here are some other things that might help:
- mark your progress - the best way to monitor how you are going is to track your daily productivity. Jerry Seinfield emphasises that using a calendar (or habit tracker) is the best way to consistently perform tasks day after day. He says each day he has written something he will put a large red cross through the day on a wall calendar. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.“ This way you can see how well you’re doing and motivate yourself to keep it up!! Here is a habit tracker I made!
- stay persistent - keep at it! It might be tough and some days you might miss doing a task - but making sure you can recover from those days is what matters! No one has discipline 100 per cent of the time. If you’ve got a friend from school (or even one from Tumblr), share your daily tasks and upcoming to-dos with them. Make them hold you accountable for getting things done. They can message regularly to ask how you’re going, provide some encouragement and praise your work! You should remember that your a new found discipline isn’t going to appear overnight.
- be positive - you aren’t going to see a radical change from one day to the next. It is a long, arduous process that needs developing. Don’t be discouraged by the initial difficulties. If you miss a day, don’t dwell but think that you’ll try to not let it happen again. Focusing on any negativities isn’t going to help you, so accept them and move on.
- externalise your goals - your goal is to be more productive and efficient when it comes to your class. By writing this down, you’re more likely to take the steps to complete it. On the same piece of paper, you can write down small things that you could do to achieve it. Keep it somewhere visible so you can remind yourself of what you want to achieve.
Make the effort:
With good grades comes blood, sweat and tears (maybe not so literally but you can’t expect an improvement without trying). here are some tips:
- write down dates as soon as you get them - this applies for romantic dates and due dates ;-) Once you know when something is coming up, put it in. I’d recommend putting in reminders each week so you don’t forget. Make sure you keep these in view!!!
- plan as much as you can - for big assessments this is key! I will also spend a few hours drafting up what I want to include in it. Sometimes I’ll spend a day (not a full day, just part of it) planning it out, finding my references, my main points, evidence and then breaking up the structure and word count. Then I’ll go back either the day later or a few days and start working. It makes tackling assessments much less stressful if you’ve prepped before hand. You can watch me doing my assessment (planning/drafting/writing) on my YouTube.
- create a routine - try to develop a time to do things like work after class, studying, self-care and your hobbies! If you can devise a flexible routine, you’ll improve your disciple and help feel more organised in general.
- review your notes regularly - like you’ve said, you should be reviewing notes every now and then. Follow the curve of forgetting and reread them after class, 24 hours later, a week and month later. If you’re making a habit of this, you’ll retain more information and need less time to study prior to finals.
- contribute in the classroom - I think a lot of education is done in the classroom and participating (even if you aren’t actively contributing but taking notes on what is said) is very important. I have one class this term which I really connect with so, unusually, I contributed a lot to the class. I can recall that particular class much more than the others I took more of a backseat. If you talk in the first few minutes of dicussion, it makes it much easier to continue to raise your hand.
As I mentioned motivation shouldn’t be relied on as your only source of getting through work because eventually you’ll have a day where you’re so unmotivated and fall back into a cycle of unproductiveness. If something keeps you motivated, remember that and use it time after time. here are some ways to stay motivated:
- use productivity apps - these are so helpful, I cannot stress that enough! I love the app ‘Forest’ for keeping me off my phone and focused. Here are some apps to try.
- try to study in a productive place - avoid using your bed for proper study. Reviewing notes prior to sleeping is fine but don’t make actual studying a habit. Keep your bed a place of rest and relaxation. You could also use my motivational Monday art printables for some help!
- keep your notes and laptop organised - date and name everything properly!!! Avoid getting lazy because it just spirals and gets even messier hah! You don’t have to be do it all the time but try on a Friday or Sunday to fix up the week and plan for the next one. I find that starting a week with a fresh mind helps me stay motivated.
- learn to remove distractions and stop procrastinating - have a read of this post on limiting distractions and this post on dealing with procrastinating. If you can see yourself being productive during a study session and not just wasting 20 minutes on YouTube, you’ll be more motivated to study regular since you’ll see it as purposeful.
- set up a reward system - positive reinforcement and having gratification for your work is going to really help keep you motivated. Before you study, write down what you’re going to do after - e.g. watch those YouTube clips you’ve been wanting too. Instead of giving in, try working towards them.
- use printables - I started using them back in high school and have since started making them for other students on Tumblr and Etsy. I get a lot of awesome feedback from people saying they’re motivating or really helpful. My Etsy shop has loads of printables (from studying packs, to reading logs, or just time planners).
Know yourself and what suits you
It is one thing reading my tips but we are different people! What works for me, might not work as well for you. Testing out different things should help you figure out what suits you best. Some things to do include:
- try finding out what kind of learner you are. If you can tailor your studying to the way you learn, you’re going to get much better results from your study. Try doing this quiz. This is a really awesome infographic that can provide you with some tips once you know the way you learn. That way your studying is going to be much more effective since it is actually going into your brain!
- find out when you’re most productive - some people are morning people and others are night owls! You can then learn to tailor your studying and revision to those particular times. For instance, you can do test revision when you’re most productive and prior to class readings when you’re less awake.
- find out where you’re most productive - this goes into promoting an encouraging workspace but maybe you hate studying alone in your bedroom. You can try studying in the library with other students, your local coffee shop, at your kitchen table or even outside!
- use a colour code - I find this such a useful tool and I’d recommend it to everyone. It doesn’t have to be super detailed or complicated but just enough to easily pull out the more important information.
- create a format/layout for your notes - I use the outline method because I find it the easiest and most effective for me. Here is a brief explanation of mine.
The easiest way to manage your studies/education is to be organised at least 80% of the time (or attempt to). My top tips for organisation are:
- plan and prepare - make sure your planning system is optimal! Your organisation can take whatever form you like, be it a digital calendar, a bullet journal or just weekly agenda. If one isn’t working for you, try out something else. We don’t all work from the same planning methods so it is also good to test out new ones. Every time you get a due date, add it in! Add in additional reminds too. I put them on my phone as well, just in case I completely forget. Being prepared and on top is going to help you feel more in control. You might find some of my printables on Etsy helpful since they’re more student based!
- make a habit of scheduling your time - use some form of a schedule to map out your monthly, weekly and daily tasks. Make the effort to set times for certain tasks - be it 15 minutes, half an hour or an hour. These tasks could be clean out your school bag every Sunday, check weekend homework on Fridays, do allocated readings the night before your tutorials, etc. With time you won’t need to be reminded of these tasks since you’ll just know to do it. This is building discipline and habits!!
- keep your notes and laptop organised - date and name everything properly!!! Avoid getting lazy because it just spirals and gets even messier hah! You don’t have to do it all the time but try on a Friday or Sunday to fix up the week and plan for the next one.
- make study notes/revision notes throughout the semester - as you finish a topic, make some type of study notes. This could be flashcards, proper notes, a mind map or summary powerpoint! With textbooks, summarise each chapter on a flashcard or post-it note once you’ve read it. Then when you come back to review at the end, you’ve got everything in your own terms anyway.
- learn to prioritise your tasks - this is crucial for students who are balancing numerous things like work, extracurriculars, jobs and a social life. Put the immediate and crucial tasks first. That Facebook notification or group text can wait until you’re done. This printable might really help if you struggle to determine what is and isn’t important.
- have a review day - set yourself up for one day to review the previous week and plan for the next. Reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and what you need to change to improve. Critically evaluating and planning ahead should help you keep up with what is coming and stay organised!
I hope this helps! Best of luck with everything :-) xx