Unleash your inner genius and super-charge your school success.
The eight secret techniques in this post are designed to help you achieve better grades and ease the stress of school life. They can be applied at any time, with the most beneficial being done daily within the vt academic calendar 2016-17, but they don’t have to be done all at once! You can put them into practice one-at-a-time as need be, so you don’t have to commit to an enormous change all at once — take it slow and do what feels best for you!
1) Plan Ahead
Make a plan before every day of school. Think of every homework assignment, exam, or project due during the coming days, think of what materials you will need to complete it (notebook paper? pens? calculator?) and list any materials you are missing. Make a plan for what you will need to do for the day’s assignments, exams and projects — write them out in detail if that helps.
2) Assign Time Limits to Tasks
Things take time. Break down assignments into small chunks and give yourself a target time per task. This will allow your body to process information and make it easier to stay focused until the end of the task.
3) Set Up an “Escape Route”
Imagine that every assignment you have is a ticking clock. For every hour of TV or video games you play in excess of your daily time limit, plan to do one hour of homework or studying the next day. Do not be afraid to put down a pen or straighten up a bit before you get sucked into an unproductive mental place. It is easy to get caught in one of your daydreams, which can consume you for hours without you knowing it, so make sure that your “escape route” is ready at all times.
4) Let Go of Procrastination
Acknowledge that you have something due and decide to do it now! Don’t wait for “tomorrow,” and don’t put it off any longer. It is in our best interests to let go of procrastination, because dorm life is far from conducive to it. If you do not know what to do for a given assignment, just do something else for a while. Relax and focus on what is ahead of you.
5) Break Down Complex Assignments into Small Pieces
Complex tasks can overwhelm us without the help and support of others. When preparing your mind for school, it’s important to reduce the complexity of an assignment by taking it one step at a time. For example, if you are writing an essay on how Richard III performed in Shakespeare’s play Richard III , try thinking about freedom instead. Freedom from the pressures of schoolwork, from the stress of home life, freedom from worries about money, freedom to do what you want.
6) “Be a Student”
This may sound like a cliché, but it is a rule that many students neglect to follow. We all know the stereotypes: being lazy, not doing your homework and so on. Before your brain is fully engaged in schoolwork, start thinking and acting more like a student. This can be done by taking an interest in topics that are new to you (like science, history, or new languages), trying to improve your understanding of even the smallest aspects of the topics that interest you.
7) Write It Down
One of the best ways to effectively memorize information is to write it down. Write down anything and everything you are trying to remember: homework assignments, lecture notes, and information from books or articles. Many people know they should be writing down ideas as they occur to them, but many of us do it rarely, if at all. When you write down your thoughts, words become ideas and often times transform into a much clearer and more organized thought by the time you’re done writing about them.
8) Go for a Walk
Just getting some fresh air can help you relax and serve as a great source of inspiration. As you walk, try to take notice of everything around you — the environment around campus, the people walking with and without companionship, the pollution in the air. Taking a walk is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Not only will it give your body a break from the stress of schoolwork and home life, but having to talk to someone and express your thoughts will help clear your mind and remove any mental clutter that may have built up while outside.
These eight techniques are not miracles that will make you a straight-A student — but applying these techniques is a step in the right direction. However, these techniques can be made considerably more effective through progressive practice. Start with one technique and then continue to look for opportunities to add another to your arsenal. Soon enough you’ll have the tools you need to become a straight-A student!