You’re probably reading this guide because you want to get better grades and improve your academic results.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s REALLY hard to achieve the first rank in the Class.
But you probably know somebody who somehow scores good marks and gets to the list of the toppers (without working so hard).
Does he know some SECRET that you don’t?
Actually, yes, he does!
It may happen behind the scenes, but some people know how to be a topper.
I’m going to share with you 11 strategies you can use right now for a better academic experience.
You can take these strategies and apply to your study. I promise you, they work.
Really, really well!
Let’s get started!
Chapter 1: Choosing the right course is 90% of the game:
For few people selecting the course is very simple: they always wanted to be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer.
But in reality, choosing the right course is the toughest challenge for the most.
Your future depends on what you do today, and what you do today is: make a key decision and choose the right course to study.
Here are the 3-steps to select the best possible course for you:
Step 1: Figure out your interests and skills
Step 2: Find the course that suits you best
Step 3: Research the colleges and enrol in
Step #1: Figure out your interests and skills
One way to begin your search for a career is to think about the things you are good at doing and then find careers that match your skills.
Before choosing any course ask yourself a question: What am I good at?
Whether you are good working with machines or good at singing or in dancing or in speaking.
Just think about your accomplishments and the talents till now that enabled you to succeed.
Make a list of that and you are done!
Now it’s time for step 2…
Step #2: Find the course that suits you the best
You know you want to go college to study. But to study what?
Indeed! it’s difficult enough to decide what to study when facing a variety of higher education opportunities.
In fact, choosing the right course is 90% of the game.
Here’s an important point to get you started:
You need to pick a most relevant skill from the list that you have prepared in step 1.
Let me explain…
Maybe you loved taking part in Shakespeare plays at school and you act in front of a mirror for pleasure in your own time. Then Acting course is right for you.
Understanding your skill preferences is an important part of choosing a fulfilling career path.
Still not sure?
Ask yourself a question to confirm: Will you still be interested in that course for a further three or four years?
If your answer is No. Then pick the other skill from the list and ask the same question again..
Follow the same step until your answer is Yes.
If finally your answer is Yes. Then go for that course and move to step 3…
Step #3: Research the colleges and enrol in
Once you’ve got your course choice, start looking around for where you want to be based for the next few years.
You need to figure out the best college to specialise in the course area.
Here are a few pointers to consider:
- Read the outline of the course content provided by the college.
- Look for the methods of assessment: practicals, presentations, exams and group projects.
- Tuition fee: whether the fee amount is accessible?
- Location: whether the place is financially affordable to stay?
- College reputation: ask friends, family, teachers and advisers for their suggestions.
Take as many factors as possible into consideration.
Once you have done considering; select the college that suits you the best and enrol.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"Choosing a program is one of the most crucial choices that you have to make. When making your decision, try to choose a school which is global, has a sound reputation in your industry, offers a wide range of subjects within its curriculum, and also shows a Student-friendly leadership style."
Chapter 1 Resources:
- Test your skills with this five-minute quiz
- 10 tips to choose the right course for you
- Step by step guide to researching a college
- Five things to consider before choosing a university course
Chapter 2: Attending every lecture is the most efficient way to learn and earn:
It is absolutely important that you attend lectures regularly.
But sadly there are few students that skip their lectures because they believe “lectures are boring and worthless”.
It’s completely up to you whether you go to class and attend lectures or not.
But it’s my advice to make it a goal to go to every class during the semester.
Learning requires constant reinforcement and the class time is a vital part of that reinforcement process.
More importantly, attending class simply saves you time. Every time you missed a class, you often spent double the amount of time studying to make up what you missed.
If you pay attention in the lecture, you may be surprised by how much you can cut your study time later on.
And the best part of attending the class is: It gives you more interaction with the professor.
Attending and participating in class not only brings you more attendance but it also makes the professor believe that you are a serious student.
And the result: You earn Good Internal Marks.
And in the end, these good internal marks turns into good percentage and good percentage turns into a successful career of yours.
In fact, you had joined the college for the successful careers only.
So if you’re really serious about the career; you will never gonna miss your classes from now.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"Students often think that lecture attendance is optional and has no correlation with success on the course. Whilst it is true that in rare cases students can do well whilst having poor lecture attendance, in the main, this does not happen; those students who attend more tend to do better (though this could also be because those who attend more also do more work generally).
Lecture attendance helps bring material to life, adds extra information and helps you recall material. In other words, reading around the topic is important, but actually attending the lecture gives you the base on which to build."
Chapter 2 Resources:
- 5 reasons you should never skip a class
- Ways students benifit when they attend class
- Next time you skip a class, consider how much money it’s costing you
- Should you require class attendence- a study
- Debate- attendance-based grades are fair to students
- Why Go to Class?
Chapter 3: Know the real value of practical knowledge:
If I ask you to learn to drive a car or to learn swimming within four walls of your classroom.
Your reaction probably be like “Are you a freak! It’s impossible.”
Yes, indeed it’s impossible.
To drive a car the first and foremost important thing is to get familiar with the car and the second most important thing is to drive on the road PRACTICALLY.
Same as the above, you need to do practice in swimming pool to learn swimming.
Theoretical knowledge about any subject alone is always not enough. In fact, it needs to be supported by the practical knowledge itself.
If theoretical knowledge teaches you the “What” then practical knowledge teaches you the “How”.
But few peoples do the same mistake, again and again, that is: “They give more priority to the theoretical knowledge”
Yes, I do agree theoretical knowledge is important to get good marks in examinations. But if you want work in industries what really matters there is only Practical Knowledge.
So are you ready for the CHANGE? The change of your preference from the Theory to the Practical.
If yes then you are going on the right path. If no then you need to change your path.
Anyway, it’s time to move to the next point.
But here’s a tip before moving to the next point: If you are good at you practicals then you can create and write your own theory in the exams.
And the best part: That’s the technique what is mostly used by the topper of your classes in the exams.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"Today’s experts must continuously reconstruct their expertise and be able to apply their theoretical knowledge in actual work. The development of expertise is a long process, during which theoretical, practical and metacognitive elements of expert knowledge are integrated into a coherent whole. It is important to foster student’s learning and integration of theoretical knowledge in practice during tertiary education. One tool for this is to pay more attention to practical knowledge in the theoretical part of the curriculum."
Chapter 3 Resources:
- Theoretical vs Practical knowledge
- Learning: Combination of practical & theoretical knowledge
- Your skills, not degree, will get you a job
- What’s more important: qualification or experience
Chapter 4: Why you should care about Assignments for your better Academic Results
An assignment is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class.
Here’s the brutal truth about assignments:
There are WAY too many students today that think “preparing assignments is a boring task”
They say, “why I need to prepare the assignment, while I can copy it from my friend’s notebook”.
If you’re serious about generating good marks, you need to be very systematic with how you prepare your assignments.
Otherwise don’t even think about it.
The assignments provide two major benefits to students. First, it helps students to connect with the course of content, and second, it gives them a quick idea that how well they are performing with their studies.
There are mostly two types of assignments given by the teachers to students: practice, and preparation.
Practice assignments are given to students to re-practice the subject that they have already learned in their classes as to acquire proficiency in the subject.
Preparation assignments are given to students to get ready in advance for the activities that will occur later in the classroom.
If you prepare both these assignments by yourself; you’ll get first chance for self-preparation of the subject, second chance to learn the same subject by the teacher, and third chance to revise the same subject you have already learned.
You must have heard “Practice makes a man perfect”
Through all this task, the only thing you are doing is practising the same thing over and over.
And you must agree this regular repetition of the concepts will help you achieve a level of satisfaction and will reduce the errors in the exams too.
Apart from these major benefits ASSIGNMENTS become more important for a different reason:
“The questions in the assignments prepared by the teachers are most important and commonly asked questions for the finals.”
And the result: By preparing the assignments; you’re actually preparing for your better grades for the final examinations too.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"The assignment provides two major benefits. First, it helps students to connect with the material, and take the perspective of an older adult. And second, it teaches teacher something as well. It gives teachers insight into their students.
It enables students to connect with the material on a more personal level and teachers to make stronger connections with the students. Both of these things lead to an overall better learning experience for both the students and teachers."
Chapter 4 Resources:
- 7 Most Important Functions of Assignment
- Purpose of Assignments- Getting Good Grades
- The Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework
- How to Write Best College Assignments
- Steps for Successful Assignments
- Two Hours’ Homework at Night Linked to Better School Results
Chapter 5: Always be connected with at least one intelligent friend:
From our younger ages, we try to make new connections with other people and get more and more friends.
And till we get to our adult age, our friend zone turns from smaller group to a larger one.
Each friend in the group has his own characteristic.
And when it comes to choosing the friend according to their characteristics, an amount of people will give a list, but which one is the most important?
Let me make it easy for you: Among the said qualities of a friend, the one which I would prefer to have in a friend is his intellectual capacity.
You might think that adding a bunch of individuals to a group is cool. But actually, it’s not.
No matter how larger your group is, it will not benefit you in your studies until you have at least one intelligent friend in your group.
A study by cappex.com indicates that students whose friends dropped out were five times more likely to do so themselves, whereas students with acquaintances who remained in college were more than twice as likely to continue their studies as a result.
The study shows: it’s a human tendency to copy the behaviour of the persons we are living with.
That means: if you live with an intelligent student; you will try to acquire his habits: how he reads, how he prepares for exams and how he performs in exams too.
Here’s the real example of the fact: When I started my college life; I was allotted a hostel room (Room A) with two other guys on first come first serve basis. In our room, I and one of my roommate were average in our studies (we scored only an aggregate of 60%-65%) and our other roommate was a genius (he scored an aggregate of 90%-95%).
On the other side, in our neighbour room (Room B), two of the roommates were the genius (they scored an aggregate of 90%-95%) and the other roommate was average in studies (he scored an aggregate of 60%-65%).
And when the semester results came, we saw a big change in our results:
In Room A: All of three scored the average marks.
Contrariwise, in Room B: All of the three scored an aggregate of 90%.
In other words: The results of Room A regressed and Room B Improved.
The human tendency to copy the behaviour of the persons we are living with.
By now, you must be taught that why intelligent friends are necessary for our student life.
Friends are the greatest thing which can happen in our life: they guide us, they teach us, and they save us (especially when the exams are near).
Now, It’s your turn to decide whether to live in the Room A or in the Room B.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"The presence of reciprocal friends and followers in class has a positive and significant effect on test scores in subjects, while nonreciprocal friends have an opposite (negative) effect.
The effects of various types of friendships are also important for the general well-being of students. The presence of more friends of any type in the classroom reduces fear and intimidation from school violence and bullying and improves social satisfaction and school satisfaction."
Chapter 5 Resources:
- Friends and Meeting People
- How Social Circles Affect Students’ Grades
- Make Friends, Improve Grades
- How to Be Friends With a Genius
Chapter 6: Come to class pre-prepared and see the real magic:
Preparation is essential for many reasons (when it comes to anything in life, classes included).
For example, you can not make a chicken recipe until you have all ingredients pre-prepared.
Same as above, you can not write a book until you have all writing materials pre-ready.
And similarly, you can not study well until you pre-read the upcoming topics.
Have you ever wondered:
How the first benchers (so called toppers) of your class participate in all discussion over every topic and knew everything about the topics.
There’s only one simple reason: they pre-prepare the topics before coming to the class.
If you do not read the required material before, you cannot take part in an academic discussion over the material in the classroom.
It’s well-established that academic discussion over the topics improves performance in class and on exams.
In an experiment by Stanford, they asked students to participate in an online quiz and they offer 2-5% increment in the final grades for the participating students. The course also required reading selected parts of the textbook before at least one lecture per week. After the course, students were surveyed on how often, how and why they did the pre-reading, and how helpful they found it.
The reason for pre-reading, cited by the majority of students, was for the grade, but lecture preparation was the next most frequent reason. In their comments, over 75% of students noted that the reading also helped their learning.
Conclusion: While most of the students find pre-reading unnecessary but it’s true that we naturally understand better when we know something about what we are reading, even if it is a small amount.
Now it’s time to put these techniques into practice.
Once you’ve done that, take a second and leave a comment.
I’d love to know how helpful you found pre-reading.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"It’s well-established that pre-reading about upcoming topics improves performance in class and on exams. But the majority of students (70-80% in most studies) do not read before class, for a variety of theorised reasons.
Quickly reviewing the material before class allows the students to focus lecture on the concepts that were poorly understood and to skim over those that were largely mastered from the textbook alone."
Chapter 6 Resources:
- 10 Benefits of Getting Students to Participate in Classroom Discussions
- Ease Stress by Being Prepared
- 6 Reasons to Read Before Class
- How to Get 80% Students Reading the Textbook Before the Class
- The Effects of Pre-reading
- Pre-reading Tips
Chapter 7: Note-taking will make you a better student:
Taking notes serves one simple purpose: to help you remember information.
In fact, note-taking is the best way of learning, retaining, and recalling ideas and concepts.
But sadly, some of the students don’t take it seriously and see note-taking as a useless task.
And other students fail to take notes because they have never learned how to, and they often do not know what is important and what is not important.
Here’s how they probably read and take notes:
First, their teacher explains the matter with the help of a book and later they note down every single word on their notebooks that their teacher spoke or wrote down on the blackboard.
Students try to write down every single thing the teacher says without actually listening.
I’m not going to lie to you, that old method literally sucks.
In real those notes are useless- just waste piece of a paper.
You have a lot of options for different note-taking methods, but none of them is perfect for everyone except one.
They called it: Mind Mapping.
There are 3-steps you need to know about mind mapping:
Step #1: Draw a central image of the subject.
Step #2: Divide the central image into branches and label each branch with unique keywords and shape.
Step #3: Split each branch into further sub-branches and label each sub-branches with unique keywords and shape.
Why this technique work so perfect?
Using the old method of note-taking in class. You were writing down every information.
Not all information is Important.
Sometimes we use all the information, but sometimes some information is not needed. We must decide what is important and what is not.
Mind Mapping helps you to transform a LOT of information to very LITTLE.
Be Happy, You are going to experience them all soon.
Just follow the above three steps while taking notes in classes.
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"Note taking is one of my favourite pastimes. I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas (or more importantly, other people's) as soon as they came to me. Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments – if we hadn't opened our notebooks, they would never have happened."
Chapter 7 Resources:
- Note-taking Strategy: How to Perform Better in Exams
- Note-taking Skills
- Importance of Taking Notes
- Effect of Note-taking in Students Grades
- How to Use Mind Maps to Unleash Your Brain’s Creativity and Potential
Chapter 8: More tests you give, more you grow:
I can’t believe I’m saying these words, but I’m here today to convince you to attempt more tests.
Exams! The word itself creates a tornado in the mind of students.
Exams remind us of that horrifying experience of waking nights, pressurised atmosphere and books spread all around.
During exams, you have to study some subject which you don’t understand or don’t like.
You are not alone and certainly, nothing is wrong with you.
Nobody likes exams.
Even I hated the exams throughout my life. Rather, I always tried to escape the examinations which I never prepared for.
But the truth is: Exams are important! Especially the class tests which occurs very frequently.
Want to know why?
In 2006, Roediger and Karpicke, from Harvard, conducted an experiment called Testing Effect with the college students. They asked the students to read texts that covered general scientific topics. After all of the students read their passage, half of the students were told to restudy that passage, while the other half were given a test on it.
And the results of the experiment reveals that the students who restudied the text knew the passage better in the minutes after studying.
But the other half students who give the test based on that passage remembered significantly more about that both two days and one week later.
The study shows: Taking a test was a better means to long-term retention than studying.
Whether your dream is to be the topper of your class, clear competitive exams or simply a sudden career change.
Exams are the tools to better assimilate all the material.
Now it’s your choice whether to attempt more exams (to grow more) or not (to stay the way you are).
Exclusive Expert Advice:
"When done right, frequent testing helps people remember information longer. When students are used to the practice of being tested, it loses its emotional teeth and its utility as an educational tool begins to emerge. When teachers expose students to frequent low-stakes tests in order to reveal gaps and foster active, continuous engagement in the material, students are given more ownership and power over their education."
Chapter 8 Resources:
- Exams Might Be Stressful But They Improve Learning
- Why Exams are Necessary
- Why Flunking Exams is Actually a Good Thing
- Repeated Test-taking is Better for Retention
Chapter 9: Teaching others can help you learn more effectively:
Lucius Annaeus Seneca the roman philosopher once said: “While we teach, we learn.”
Now science has also proved that students who teach each other before exams can recall the material more accurately and effectively later.
Scientists called it “the protege effect“.
The words may seem you unfamiliar but the truth is you are using the effect from your childhood.
Remember, how your parents used to teach you in your childhood.
A predominant strategy was used by most parents in India when it comes to homework is “read aloud, recite aloud and write”.
And through all this task, you were doing the two things: first explaining and second recalling.
When reading aloud, you were unknowingly explaining the materials to yourself and while reciting, you were explaining the same to your parents and while writing, you were recalling the materials.
Almost identical to “the protege effect”. Right?
For the decades, people have known that the good way to help in learning a subject matter—and thus getting better grades—is to explain the material to others.
Why does it work?
When you explain something to someone else, it strengthens your memory on the subject and when you recall the subject in examinations, a representation of the entire event is instantaneously reactivated in the brain.
In fact, both Stanford University and Vanderbilt University are actively engaged in research studies to understand why this is and their research shows that this method may actually be one of the BEST ways for you to learn yourself.
As a student, I encourage yo