7 Rules Of The Most Productive Students
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Student life can be really tough (especially if you are working and learning at the same time!). It’s difficult to develop discipline and use your time wisely, but if it comforts you a bit – the bigger part of students always have trouble keeping their social and study lives together.
When I was a student, I’ve been guilty (way too often!) of spending many nights out in the town rather than in the library. My grades suffered quite a bit before I discovered a few tricks that helped me study in a more effective way. As a result, I managed to keep good grades and finish my exams without losing my head.
So how do you reign it and become a successful student? These seven rules can be a lifesaver in college or university years.
7 Rules Of The Most Productive Students
1. Read Ahead
This may sound like a boring suggestion but I have a trick that can make it easier to do. When I was a student, I noticed that since I am usually on my phone googling one thing or the other, I might as well put in five minutes of online research before a specific lecture or class.
By reading ahead, I do not mean that you have a full-on study session. Rather read ahead to prepare your mind for what you are going to learn. Spending these five minutes on minor research actually helps you to understand better during your lectures and form a solid interpretation. Simple and effective!
2. Take Notes
Taking notes is crucial if you want to succeed as a student. By taking notes, you’re able to highlight the important lessons or outcomes that are expected from your studies.
My student hack for this was to use multicolored sticky notes or highlighters when going through a course reading. I had a simple system where I used pink notes for things that I may not understand or need to ask about, yellow notes for interesting or quotable facts, and green notes for major points.
Also, try to make your notes as neat and organized as possible. Structure your information – use bullet lists, numbered lists, draw information hierarchy, and tables. These will help you to absorb information much easier than messy and unorganized notes.
I found that simply studying well-made notes before a test helped me to perform much better than just reading a book. Note-taking also helps you internalize and analyze the important lessons in your studies.
3. Schedule Your Study Time
You definitely have to schedule your study time if you want to succeed in university (or college). The demands of different course units can be overwhelming if you do not have a good plan. While planning can be a little more time taking, simply scheduling study time can be easy if you follow this trick.
If you’re an early bird, schedule study time very early in the morning. I preferred studying at least three times a week from 6 AM to 7 AM. I also tried to make sure that study time is only between Tuesday and Friday so that I can have my own free time without rushing to finish classwork. This can let you study for an adequate amount of time and complete your assignments without distractions from your roommates. Also, you get the studying part out of the way so that you can focus on other things such as work or extracurricular activities.
4. Schedule Fun Time
You know what they say…
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
You have to schedule some time for social and other activities. Make a light schedule that will allow you to factor in your classes, work, and party (yes girl, you’re young – go for that party!).
Just make sure to make a conscious decision on when and how you will enjoy yourself. In my experience, finishing all study-related activities by Thursday evening allows you to keep your weekends free for your own personal time.
5. Ask Questions
Student life is about confidence and having the ability to question and challenge existing ideas. Every good student must be able to ask questions to show that they are thinking about the subject and they are internalizing their studies.
If you are not big on public speaking, go ahead and send emails with your questions to instructors. My life hack (a pretty lame one) was to set a goal to ask at least one question every week for every course unit. I found that having such a goal motivated me to pay more attention in class and ask questions that are more intelligent.
6. Planning for Success
You can only achieve success by having the right tools with you. As I mentioned earlier, having a good plan is one of the crucial tools to be the most productive student. I highly recommend you to try the ShineSheets student planner – I used sheets like these in literally every aspect of my student life and while these are not the exact templates I used when I was a student, they’re even better! Taking up the planning habit can be beneficial in your life overall since it helps you stay organized.
7. Personal Growth and Assessment
As a student, you have to develop the ability to assess yourself and grow personally. Remember that the goal is to become a mature and successful adult. Learning things, staying organized, taking proper rest, and staying socially active will help you to reach that goal easily.
If you feel like there’s a lot going on and you need to “put things in places”, a great way to do that is to practice self-care and let go of your anxieties with stress relief activities. Lack of proper self-care can make you feel drained while stewing in unhelpful thoughts can leave you depressed. Take care of yourself!
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