You’ll find tons of self-help articles for students who are having a difficult time just trying to get by every single day in school. So instead of giving you tips on how to breeze through college and graduate school, what we’ll give you is an idea on what makes a student inefficient and how not to fall into the trap of becoming one. If you find yourself falling under any of the categories below, it’s time to re-evaluate your current studying habits and turn them into more productive ones.
* Unsuccessful students revel in mediocrity.
This is a common tendency among students especially when school work starts piling up. The aim is no longer to ace an exam or paper, but merely to get a passing grade. Because you’ve already turned down a night out with your friends to write a paper, might as well maximize the time by writing it the best way you can. If you get an A for a well-written report, at least you can say that the Friday night spent all by your lonesome was time well spent. In the academe, you will be surprised to find out that mediocrity is the norm, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be a mediocre student. There are plenty of opportunities for you to shine, so you might as well grab these opportunities – whether they be in your homework, your essays, and your extracurricular activities.
* Unsuccessful students act on impulse.
Hasty decisions almost always lead to complications and bring an even bigger hassle than what you were originally dealing with. This is not to say that you should forego spontaneity in all cases. Rather, learn to distinguish between decisions that need to be thought through and those which you can make on the go. For example, submitting a thesis topic proposal about something you just thought of two minutes ago can have problematic repercussions. Take the time to consult your teachers, counselors, and parents or guardians in your decisions. Their inputs on your academic plans will be invaluable in the long term.
* Unsuccessful students procrastinate to no end.
Yes, there are students who work best under pressure. But there are also those who use this excuse just to slack off and procrastinate. If you’re having an “off” day and cerebral activities are the last thing on your mind, there are still tons of productive things you can do that require minimum brain exercise. Remember those handouts you were looking for last week? Chances are, they’re somewhere in that pile of files and handouts you’ve left on the floor of your room. Rearranging your files, and making them accessible, is a non-cerebral, productive activity which will help maximize your studying time. Do you have a very important paper due next month, why not head to the library and take a few minutes just browsing through resources that you can consult when you make your draft. You may not read through them, but at least you already have a short list of your references.
* Unsuccessful students dwell on failures and negativity.
If you easily get discouraged and dwell on your self-perceived incompetence, this may translate to even lower grades in the future. This is because negativity gives rise to feelings of resignation in doing your school work, which will consequently result in poor academic performance. What you should do is use your failures as a jumping off point for improvement. Take them as lessons and vow to avoid committing the same mistakes in the future. For example, if you turned in a hastily done essay last semester and your teacher called your attention on your carelesness, spend a few minutes re-reading your future essays, correcting simple grammatical lapses, and refining your output.
* They employ short-term thinking and don’t see the bigger picture.
A clear example of this would be not studying for an exam, thinking that one failed exam couldn’t possibly drag down your entire GPA. Another example would be seeing one’s studies as an end in itself. Especially for those in graduate and medical school, some students think that getting good grades doesn’t matter as long as they graduate. If you’re in high school, bear in mind that getting good grades, not just passing ones, are your ticket to getting into the best colleges. This is true for college students who plan to go to graduate, medical, MBA, or law schools. When you apply for college, you will be submitting your academic records, which reflect how you did in high school.
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