International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Study Advice for Students

By Haider Janjua


I looked back at my academic journey and decided to write some important points that I learned along the way which will help juniors to perform better in their studies.  Following are my observations:


General:

Work on Weaknesses: First and foremost, one should know their weaknesses. And try to improve them. For example, I always had time management problem during exams. In order to solve that, I used to distribute timings for every question before ahead.  If the paper was of 1 hour 45 minutes and I had to do 11 questions. I planned on doing 7 questions in 1st hour and the last 4 in the remaining time because the difficulty level increases with each question. Another example would be that sometimes students are not good at a particular subject. If you have a choice, don’t take that subject. If it is compulsory, spend extra time on it.

Confidence: Usually students who score highly in their O level fail to maintain their grades afterwards. The reason for that can be two fold.  Some students get overconfident and think that they would easily continue on doing well. It should be kept in mind that not only the difficulty level increases but also as students start college/university, they start learning about other different things and thus their choices and interests expand. So one should always keep in mind their goals and work hard to achieve it. On the other hand, some students can’t keep up with the expectations. Enjoy your success and then began from start and keep in mind that failure is not the end of life and the thought of failure actually leads to failure.

Extreme Attitudes: Some students spend all of the time buried in books while others are completely opposite and spend it all on parties/friends. Both the approaches are wrong as there should be sufficient time given to both tasks. Taking some time off and relaxing (playing, going to a movie, party etc.) eases and relaxes the mind. But just because you are in university/college and don’t get homework doesn't mean that you are relieved of every responsibility.

Hard Work: If you don’t work hard and burn the midnight oil, you won’t achieve your dreams. So find ways to force you to work.

Learn From Mistakes: It can be used for life in general as well. Nobody is perfect and somewhere along the way you are bound to make mistakes. Never fear it. Think and analyse what and how things went wrong and then work on improving it. For example, if someone fails a module, think of what went wrong? Maybe they didn't understand the course. They should think what they should have done and what they could do so that the mistake is not repeated. It might be because they couldn't understand it from that particular book. Issue some other book from the library. Or maybe it is because their basics are weak. Go back and do them again even if they seem easy.

Making Schedule and Following it: In my opinion, it is always better to make schedule. Because it relieves stress as you know that if you follow the schedule, you won’t have any problems during the exams. It should be made according to how you study. And sufficient time should be left everyday for de-stressing. Gradually build up the study routine. The first few days, study for one hour and then increase the timing gradually.

Attend Every Lecture: Don’t ever miss a lecture. Even if the topic seems easy or you already know the topic, still go to the lecture. There is always something we don’t know. Sometimes we know a very difficult question but get stuck at a simple beginning part because we missed an easy lecture. Always make your own notes. And do all the assignments/exercise questions. After the end of course, we usually don’t attend extra lectures. These are quite beneficial as the lecturers might give some good tips regarding exams (they usually do).

During Exams: While doing the exam, if you find some question a little difficult. Don’t panic, just leave it and continue with the rest of exam. In the end, try to do it once.  Revise all the information about a particular topic and you will get an idea on how to approach it. For modules including mathematical calculations, underline the important points in the question and then write all that information on the answer sheet. Sleep well before exam, relax, enjoy your time and be confident!


Particular Advice for University Students:

I find it much easier to study from paper notes instead of using my laptop and I think most of the other students feel the same way. Always print lecture notes before the lecture.

Don’t miss lectures because you will end up leaving all the stuff for the end of semester. And even if you manage to cram everything in the last few days, you might forget it in the nervousness of exam. + Not sleeping during exams would make you tired and tired mind works slowly.


Some tips regarding study:

First of all, find the best environment for yourself. For example I just can’t study in my room and I don’t like going to the library because it’s quite crowded and noisy. So I now study in my kitchen. Some people listen to songs while studying while others want a pin drop silence.
Make a schedule and a routine. It would save you from the unwanted stress associated with preparation.

For the actual study, different modules have different ways to study. The following points can be followed for every module. Read the whole lecture notes at first (you can do this during the lecture) then in the spare time during classes (so that your evenings are free) read the lecture notes again. But this time, write the important points in the margins in bullet form. For modules including mathematical derivations, have a rough notebook and practice doing them. Afterwards write the end result (the equation that you need) in a separate neat notebook. This is done so that even if you forget the equation during exams, you have a fair idea to derive it. You don’t have to write lengthy notes. You can just read the bullet points afterwards and if you feel any confusion, you can read the whole slide/ page again. Equations that you wrote in a separate notebook can be used while doing the tutorial questions.

This brings me to another important advice. Never forget to do tutorials and past exam questions. And don’t panic if you can’t do the tutorial/exam question. Check the solution and write it. This way you will understand how the question was solved and you will understand how to do similar type of questions.

Most exams follow a certain pattern. For example there could be a question for each of the topics that you studied or you can have a choice between questions from particular topics. So keep that in mind and prepare accordingly. If for a MCQ, you have to show the working and you are not getting an exact answer from the choices given. It is always worth a try to show the working and choose the nearest option.

In the end, always try to give your best because when you have done everything you can, you will be satisfied with the result!


4 comments:

  1. AoA,Well done Haider!Good tips.Keep writting your observatiobs and ideas.

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  2. Lots of student looking best advice for bright future you have great points in this blogs .
    i hope lots of student get a better solution and make a correct decision keep it up .



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