So, I wanted to write a post about how to get good grades in university and how to perform well in university. I will include tips that I have used that ended up being successful, tell you about things that did not work for me and things I wish I did.
I remember loving these sorts of blog posts when I was in school and at university, and some of it would be really helpful. I wanted to give a disclaimer before I get in to this post. I have a BSc (bachelor of science) in psychology, and two MSc (masters of science) in clinical psychology and organisational psychology. I graduated with a 2.1 from my undergraduate degree and I am about to graduate with a 2.1 from my MSc in organisational psychology. I have gotten 1st in certain modules, exams and essays, but I didn’t get an overall 1st in any of my degrees. Now you know how I perform I will get in to the post.
- Have a goal. Or a set of several goals. This is absolute key. You need to set yourself a goal or several goal, and a plan on how to achieve it. Make it as detailed as possible, how you’re going to achieve it and by what time. For example: I want to get 70% for my anatomy exam, that will give me X weeks to study for, where I will study this subject X days a week for X hours.
- Use other people for inspiration, but don’t compare yourself to everyone. Being inspired by others is useful and can make you motivated, but it’s important to remember that everyone, if they try hard enough, will find someone who is better than them at something. Don’t put your self value in how you compare to others, you are amazing, and marks are not the most important thing in the world.
- Avoid procrastination. This one was my number one hinder in getting 1st’s. I was the master procrastinator and I would avoid everything to the last minute which only damaged myself and I was left feeling that I wasn’t good enough. Do everything that you can to avoid procrastination, it leaves to you stress, become anxious and will most likely affect your work negatively. Meet up with other students and help each other out, set goals and awards for yourself, use the Pomodoro (so helpful!) method of studying.
- Have a study schedule. Being organised and having a schedule means that you eliminate a lot of stress. If you know exactly what you have to do and when you have to do it, it means you feel on top of things and you will most likely get more done to a better standard.
- Join a writing group/module. If your university offers a writing module, sign up for it! I hate showing my work to others, for fear that they will judge me, but it does nothing but limit my growth. If you learn how to improve your writing, or in the very least have someone look through your writing and help you, that will improve your marks.
- Use the Pomodoro technique. I mentioned this above and it is a method I used that helped me a lot as I’m a procrastinator. You need a timer for this, or there are various apps to, just search for it. It basically consists of setting a timer for a certain amount of time, e.g. 20 minutes, where you focus on your task, and when the time is up, you get a short break. When the break is finished you do another set for 20 minutes. You repeat this for as many times as you like and I find this method so useful and I have finished many essays doing this. Writing, reading or researching for 20 minutes is a lot less daunting then telling yourself you’re going to sit quietly for 5 hours and study.
- Cute stationary. This is often more applicable to girls, to make a massive generalisation. It’s not something that is going to give you top marks per say, but it makes it more appealing to sit down and do your work if you have stationary that are cute or pretty and that you want to use.
- Set up a study group. This is something that I never did, and I regret not doing. I believe that if you are accountable to other people you are less likely to procrastinate and avoid your work. Find people who have similar goals to you and that will actually be accountable and do the work.
- Exercise. Moving your body has proven to better your memory, which is definitely not a bad thing come exam season. It’s also an excellent way to take breaks from when you are studying and makes you feel more energised and ready for a new session of studying.