Concurring Academics, Battling Facebook: CM’s Guide to Getting an A

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By Amanda Elser > Junior > Print Journalism > Penn State University

It has spread across the country and has infected millions of students. Gchat, BBM, instant messaging, texts, Facebook, Twitter and hundreds of other distractions result in the diagnosis – severe procrastination.

 

For many these constant interruptions result in a rushed study session, four cups of coffee and an all nighter in the creepy section of the library the night before a final exam. And so goes the “I pulled off a C” victory dance.
But here are some quick and easy tips from experts that will turn that “C” into a well deserved “A.”
 
In Class

Take advantage of teacher’s office hours.
 

Josh Manning, managing partner of Lion Tutors at Penn State University recommends going to professors’ office hours at the beginning of the semester and asking them directly what are the keys to success in their class. 

 Stay on top of readings.
           
“The best approach is to either read the textbook before the lecture on that material or right after the lecture,” Manning said. This should be a part of a student’s weekly routine and not a part of actually studying for the exam because it is not effective to be cramming in the text the night before an exam.
“When you are actually studying for an exam you want to review lecture notes, review important sections from the book, and work on practice problems,” he said.
 
Don’t write too much, Don’t write too little.
 
Carolyn Zaccagni, a learning skills specialist from St. Joseph’s University, said when it comes to note taking there are two main challenges students face: The student that tries to write the professor’s lecture word for word vs. the student who doesn’t write enough.
 
“The challenge in note taking is succinctly and clearly capturing the main concepts with supporting examples the professor gives during the lecture,” she said.
 
Before the Exam Day
 
Do not wait till the last minute.
 
Review material after every class so you can ask professors and tutors to clarify information right away. This approach results in studying over a period of time and less cramming last minute, Manning said.
 
Cut out distractions.
 
Zucchini recommends that students eliminate surrounding distractions, especially cell phones.
“An environment that is well lit, relatively free from distraction and provides a clear workspace for notes and books is ideal,” Zaccagni said.
 
Pace yourself.
 
Zaccagni said breaks are an effective means for pacing oneself while studying, but not a good tool to use during “marathon study sessions.”
“They don’t allow time to absorb the information,” she said “Instead students should study in chunks.”
 
Repeat Repeat Repeat.
 
Julie Reushe, a student at University of Delaware, said rewriting and rereading always guarantee her a good grade.
“After reading my textbooks, I take notes on the readings. Then I make note cards to help quiz myself on the material,” Reusche said.

Don’t be afraid to take a break!
 
Reusche said after each chapter she would take a break to check Facebook, Twitter and email. Cutting yourself off from the world won’t help, take the time to absorb the information.
 
Zaccagni agrees that study breaks can be beneficial when studying. “Students should study in chunks and include break time to integrate the information with existing knowledge,” she said.

 

 

College Magazine Staff

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