I personally think of studies as a battle and one of the vital elements of a battle is efficient strategy implementation.
Strategy setting sounds cliché and boring, I know. But once you learn to make things fun, you can achieve many goals.
But one thing that you should always remember, is that,
Success demands patience and discipline. Simply ‘wanting’ to achieving goals is not enough, you need to have a strong plan to hit your targets.
In today’s blog post, I am going to share some tips on how to build effective strategies that will get you better grades.
Write down your goals: long-term and short-term ones
The worst thing you can do in your journey is avoiding goal setting. You don’t go on a trip without setting a destination, right? The same goes with studies and life in general.
Hard work, Smart work, and consistency are key elements to achieve the goals, but what’s even more important is goal setting. Not just short-term ones but long-term ones too.
Goal setting helps you to visualize your path, analyze your progress, and motivation to do more. Also, goal setting is not enough, you need to revisit them too.
Grind and hustle are not about burning out yourself. It’s about being patient, determined, and consistent to achieve your goals. Taking breaks to recharge your mind is an essential part of productivity.
Ideally, you should try to achieve one goal at a time but sometimes we simply cannot afford that luxury. So, if you have too many targets to achieve in a short span, I would advise you to have a maximum of 3 goals at a time.
You can make the process fun and more appealing by using planners, to-do lists, and habit trackers. The affiliate links contain some of my favorite ones. Don’t forget to check them out!
Write what you need to do in order to achieve the goals
The next part is quite simple. Get a paper and write what you need to do to achieve your goals. Having a precise framework will save you time and help you from feeling overwhelmed.
If you want to score well in your biology finals, write down the chapters and approximate time you need to complete each one of them.
The duration can vary from person to person. Some people can cover all the topics in a couple of hours, and others might need a day to get an in-depth view of the whole chapter.
Based on your study style, give yourself enough time to study. Please don’t wait till the last minute to get started.
Because sometimes the pain of getting a task done can be less significant than the pain of regret.
And as I always say, Don’t forget to have S.M.A.R.T elements in your strategy – specific, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. If you want to get better grades in exams, you should keep your goals,
- Specific: Better grades aren’t enough for a goal, rather, make it specific by focusing on your weakest subject.
- Measurable: You should be able to track your progress.
- Attainable: Success is not an overnight success. You cannot transition from D grade to A grade in one night. Aim big but keep a minimum barrier of C grade and keep raising this barrier. Congratulate yourself even if you achieve the minimum barrier.
- Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to you. If you wish to enter the medical field, your goals should be aligned in such a manner that you get more experience more on science-related subjects.
- Time-Bound: I learned this hard way. It is necessary to have a deadline otherwise you may drift into your comfort zone without realizing it. But again, be realistic.
Break down the plan in small pieces and divide it into daily and weekly goals
The best way to eat an elephant? Cut it into small pieces!
Now that we have written what we need to do to achieve our goals, it’s time to divide overwhelming tasks into small pieces.
While doing so, keep in mind that the difficulty level of each small task should be moderate. Otherwise, you’ll either get bored or overwhelmed.
Once you are done with breaking down making small targets, divide them into daily and weekly goals. Let me explain this with an example. For instance,
You have a test of Anatomy and Physiology and the topic is Respiratory System. The test is subjective and you have only 1 week to prepare. You can break the chapter into small topics such as,
- Nose and Nasal cavity – Day 1
- Pharynx – Day 2
- Larynx – Day 2
- Trachea – Day 3
- Lungs – Day 4
- Respiration – Day 5
- Effects of ageing on respiratory system – Day 6
- Full Revision and Mock Test – Day 7
Take proper notes
Getting good grades isn’t about reading the book, it’s about retaining the book. If you are always reading and never revising, you are making your route to ‘better grades’ a living hell.
Note-making makes studying effective. However, it can be tedious and even perplexing at times. You won’t get it right the first time, but you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
How to make right notes?
There are 3 important steps to making notes.
Step 1 – Read and pay attention in the class: Note-making starts from paying close attention to the lectures. After the class, try to write the points that you have missed. In your free-time, read the chapter wholeheartedly and underline what you think is important.
Step 2 – Make Notes: Once you’re done, go back to the first page and start noting down things that are difficult to remember. If you feel that each and every line seems important [which can’t be literally true], don’t simply jot down the whole book, create some mind maps and flowcharts too.
Step 3 – Revise: Now, It’s time to revise the notes that you made. Don’t touch your book until you think it is important or unless you wish to refer to the diagrams from time to time.
If you skip revisions, then there are no productivity tricks that can help you.
Set the deadline before the actual deadlne
Remember the time when you had to submit 2000 long words article and you did not start it until the last moment?
Setting deadlines is not just reserved for large projects. Using them strategically to achieve short-term goals will get your result delivered on time, boosting your confidence level.
There can be different reasons so as to why people choose to reserve things for the last moment. In my experience, some do it out of their procrastinating habit because they find the task too boring or overwhelming. While others do it because of poor prioritization skills.
Either way, this mostly leads to panic, stress, and poor results which reduces our self-esteem in long term and tempts us to quit.
Setting deadlines before the due date may not be fun but it can be a real game-changer. It will keep your life organized and when achieved, they give us a sense of motivation, encouragement, and momentum.
Also, you must learn to set deadlines based on the importance and urgency of the task, using Eisenhower Matrix. You can read more on this topic here.
Track your progress
It is important to utilize all the available resources and when it comes to free resources, what can be better than – the Internet.
The best way to understand your progress is by testing yourself through free and paid quizzes and mock tests online.
Though there are many benefits of testing yourself, the most important benefit is the improvement of memory. Because at the end of the day, what differentiates a high achever from average student is how much we retain.
Study Smart and Hard
Smart work >>>>>> Hard Work
Many people work hard because the world we grew up in has always taught us that hard work is the supreme element to success. But, this is only partially true.
Hardwork combined with smart work is the supreme key to success. But, the question is, how do you study smart? By discovering more study tricks.
In my views, there are 3 vital study tricks to score better grades.
I. Make right notes
*I talked about it already, scroll up*
Notes-making starts from listening to the lectures. Try to understand the class and jot down as much as you can. After the professor leaves, try to summarize the class in your mind.
If you are home-schooled or study on your own, watch a couple of videos on the topic. Understand the concepts and make notes in your own words.
II. Revision is the key
Revision is the supreme key to success in studies. It does not matter how much you read, what matters is how much you retain.
You can do this frequently by testing yourself through mock tests or quizzes. However, Testing yourself can have either negative and positive effects based on your performance and your mindset.
The ultimate tip that you always need to remind yourself is that perhaps you will score really bad initially but with efficient study techniques and sincere work, your grades will definitely improve.
III. Maintain the study flow
Treat your study sessions sacredly. Maintaining momentum is important to stay focused. You cannot get up from your study place every 10 minutes and expect good results!
Before you sit down to study, gather everything that you will need near your reach. Set time-framed study sessions and don’t get up from the seat between that time frame.
It may be uncomfortable in the beginning, but it’s just your brain trying to trick you into avoiding hard work. You need to train your brain to stay focused.
I personally prefer using the Pomodoro technique to build the initial momentum and later customize things according to my convenience.