Student Success Stories: Sarah P.
Sarah P.'s Academic Success Story
Time management became a key factor in my study skills for college. In high school, there were times I was able to study for an hour or two the night before a test and get away with it. This was not the case in college. I made sure in college I was prepare for each class. Sometimes that meant writing out the terms for the chapter we read (even if when it isn't required) to better understand them. That way when the midterm or test comes around I was able to understand what I was studying. I started taking excellent notes in class in college. I may have done this in high school, but in college I started typing up the notes after class. This helped me remember what I just went over in class then when I had a test weeks later I was more likely to remember then as well.
My overall study method: Structured. One thing I learned was I had to adapt or change my study method according to the class. I couldn't study for a Religion Class the same way I studied for a Finance class. But making sure I had enough time to study for each class -- even if it meant carrying a planner with me at all times was a big part of my success.
My test study method: I have different strategies for different types of tests or subjects. For me, any type of math is exceptionally difficult so I had to spend extra time on that. I would go back through the homework problems focusing on the problems that I had extra difficulty on. Many times I would ask the teacher for an additional study materials they could provide. If it was a class that required memorization or applying concepts I would create a sort of study guide for myself many times focusing on what were key focal points in the class. If I knew there were going to be essays I would try to take the terms and apply them to an example or create different questions on the concepts focused on throughout the semester.
My time management secret: I always always always carry a planner with me. I even use different color highlighters to show what each event on my calendar is for. For example, pink is personal, yellow is school, orange is work, blue is for appointments, and green is for my sorority. Although I use white-out frequently, I can see in bright yellow that if I have that project for finance due on Tuesday, I need to start working on it on [the previous] Wednesday so I can just get it done. My friends have always been amazed at how early I get things accomplished but that is really all I do.
How I study for multiple exams, deal with multiple projects: Really it is my time management that I explained above. If I see I have multiple things due or to study for all at the same time I spread out my time beforehand. For example, if I have a test Monday, and 2 tests Tuesday then I will study for my Monday test Thursday and part of Friday. Start Studying for my next test on the second half of Friday and part of Saturday, then my second Tuesday test on Saturday as well and part of Sunday. Then Sunday night I can review for my Monday test because I already studied for it. When that test is over I can begin reviewing for the other tests.
My overall study method: I try to break it up over several days or at least two. I get bogged down if I try to pull an all nighter.
How I've overcome an initial bad grade: If I received a low grade I probably knew it was coming because I didn't prepare properly or I didn't use the right study habit for that class. I usually try to go over what I did wrong and sometime discuss with the teacher what I can do differently on the next exam or what they suggest I do for studying for the next exam.
My strategies for written assignments: Everyone has their own writing styles. I generally come up with an idea and do massive amounts of research before I ever think about writing. I then organize my research then sometimes prepare an outline before actually writing. I always print out the paper and come back to it the next day and reread it. That is the easiest way for me to catch my own mistakes. I have to give my eyes a break from it, and if I just wrote it I think it looks perfect. But if I look at it a day later I almost always find grammatical errors or phrases and sentences I just want to reword.
How I succeed in team projects: Never assume someone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. Have regular meetings and have each member show their work, not just give you or the group their word for it.
English, math, foreign language tips: Practice. Especially foreign language. It is hard to succeed in a foreign language class if you are just showing and doing the work. But if you are in your room and look at objects and try to say them in the language you are learning it actually helps. Or if you send a simple text to a friend think about it, can you translate that to German or Spanish? These are the little things that will help.
Here are my final words of wisdom for students who want to get better grades in college: Time management and organization are critical key factors to success in college. And never be afraid to go ask your teacher for help. They have office hours for a reason, use them!
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