A student's innate intelligence and ability can indeed help them perform well academically. However, talent alone is not sufficient. It also requires discipline and perseverance to achieve good results consistently.
In fact, high-achieving students often trace their success back to hard and smart work. So, we managed to get some study tips from one of the top-performing graduate students of a renowned college.
And with their permission, we have created a list of the most effective ways students can use to perform well in their studies.
Get Help When Required
Being a graduate student is not easy by any means. You are expected to keep track of classes, find jobs, do research, and even perform well on exams. So, if you catch yourself thinking, 'I have so many assignments due this week, I wish there were someone who could write me a paper' - you are not the only one.
Students often pressure themselves, and the cost comes in the form of mental and physical health issues. And the stress can only do more harm. Without a calm mind and motivation, you won't be able to perform at your best. If you need help - don't hesitate to ask for it. This could be getting help with assignments, asking questions to professors, or even reaching out to friends and family for emotional support.
Approach Learning as a Journey
There is a big difference between studying to pass an exam and getting a deeper understanding of the subject. With the first strategy, students tend to memorize keynotes to perform well in the exam. On the other hand, students who use the latter strategy are better equipped to analyze a problem critically.
They also tend to be more relaxed around exam time because they focus on the learning journey rather than worrying about exam results.
Find the Threshold Concepts
In simple terms, threshold concepts are core ideas that, once understood, can transform a student's understanding of a subject. And suddenly, they can look at the topic from a new perspective. Such concepts might be troublesome to grasp initially. But when they do, students can easily understand related topics and understand them easily.
For instance, photosynthesis is a threshold concept that unlocks a lot of topics in biology. Similarly, learning about blood circulation can help students get a better understanding of cardiovascular diseases. Top performers actively look for such threshold concepts that can help them to grasp information efficiently.
Break and Focus
When tackling a subject, the sheer amount of information to learn can discourage students. Instead, you can try breaking them into chucks. This way, you can focus on one area at a time.
This strategy reduces your cognitive load and the chances of getting distracted. However, this can be slightly tricky as it's possible to get curious about related topics and lose focus. But with practice, this winning strategy can help students efficiently manage their study sessions.
The first time you encounter a new topic, it can be difficult for your brain to understand it without any context. If you don't have any existing related knowledge, you won't be able to link it to your memory.
In other words, it's important to build a structure around a new topic first. For instance, let's say you are learning about cryptocurrencies. In this case, you can start with blockchain technology and study how it handles transactions differently from traditional payment methods.
This will offer insight into what makes cryptocurrencies unique and what their advantages and applications are. Building such context can help organize information in your brain and recall them easily.
Active Recalling and Spacing
Once you have acquired a good understanding of the subject, you can try testing yourself. A great way to do this is to close your books and try recalling as much as you can remember. Then, you can check your notes or the source material to see what you got correct.
Now, it is normal to forget what you have learned after a while. This is why it's essential to retest yourself regularly. This regular recall will help you retain information for a longer time. When doing such recalls, you can also use practice questions from previous exams, which will help you familiarize the framework of tests.
Be Kind to Yourself
And crucially, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself when studying. You might understand a topic the first time you read it or remember it after the premier session. You might need to go through the notes several times before it is ingrained in your brain.
When struggling with a specific topic, don't hesitate to look at it from different angles. Even taking a break might help you approach it with a fresh set of eyes.
How to Avoid Distractions
The biggest challenge faced by many graduate students is the tendency to procrastinate. For instance, you might be getting started on a paper and might be searching for the best essay writing services on Reddit or Quora. But then, you might come across another interesting post on the forum, and from there, it is a thin line to endless scrolling.
Unfortunately, there is no single solution that works for all students. Each student has to figure out the best way to combat distractions. For some, it's about getting up early for a study session, while others prefer the silence of the night. On the other hand, some students might be most productive when they are in a cafe or library, surrounded by buzzing activity.
Regardless of the approach, all students should make conscious efforts to take breaks and get sufficient sleep. And if you do get distracted, it's crucial not to feel discouraged. Instead, even if you are spending only one hour studying every day, make sure that you are focused.
It's necessary to take responsibility for your studies, and as you are reading this article, you are already doing that. With the tips we discussed above and a positive mindset, you can achieve your academic goals with confidence.