There is nothing more terrifying at university than finding yourself with just a few months left in the year and failing marks. The good news is, if you are reading this article and committed you can turn this situation around. You will require dedication and hard work from now until the end of the year.
One of the major contributors to bad marks at university is the distraction that university life offers. Its far more tempting to go for a drink with friends than organise your notes after class, but that sort of thing needs to stop now if you want to turn your marks around. Procrastination is a common response to workloads that are either so large or complex that you don’t know where to start, but the trick is simply to start anywhere. Ultimately, you are going to have to start getting things in order if you want to pass, so it might as well be today.
A cluttered, dirty or disorganised life is not one that is conducive to learning at all. Your first step should therefore be tidying your room, and clearing your desk. File all your notes and create separate folders on your computer for each subject. Now start compiling a list of things you need to do for each subject and put that list up on the wall. If you have really let things get out of hand you may need to talk to class mates about copying their notes so you can create a proper learning tool that will help you to catch up.
The list on the wall should include all your official university deadlines as well as your new self-imposed deadlines for getting things back in order. Eg: September 1: English Essay Due September 3: Have collected, copied and filed all of John’s notes for Economics one.
Stick to that list ruthlessly. Make sure you tell your friends what you are doing and enlist their support. Their inevitable disappointment if you miss your own deadlines will help you to achieve what needs to be done.
It is now time to look at your situation with a critical eye. Are you failing one subject or everything? If you are failing everything, is there one subject that seems hopeless, while the others are close to a pass? You may need to make some hard choices at this stage – perhaps, it’s time to drop that one no hope subject now, and buckle down and get the other three across the finish line, than to try save them all. At the end of the day getting three credits is better than getting none.
Don’t be afraid to seek help from your professors. Explain what has happened and ask them for advice on how you can catch up. There is a good chance they can recommend books or other learning aids to assist you in catching up and give you an honest assessment of where you stand. Additionally, if they see that you are serious they may be able to help themselves or at least point you toward people who can assist.
Perhaps things got out of hand because you haven’t been attending classes? Don’t worry, these things happen to first year students after they are given freedom that school never had. The trick now is to make sure you don’t miss any more classes. Even more importantly, make sure you turn in all your assignments. Individually assignments don’t appear to be worth much of the year mark, but it really does all add up at the end of the day, making the mark you need come exam time that much lower and easier to reach.
Make sure to take comprehensive notes at the classes and add them to the copies you got from friends. Having a complete book of notes at the end of the year is really going to help when it comes time to study.
Try to engage with your classes as well. Instead of simply sitting and taking notes in class, think about what is being said and try to see where you can come up with a good question. Engaging with your work and expanding your knowledge on your subject will help you to understand it better and also enjoy it more than simply zoning out and writing notes will. Now is also a great time to look at our blog on how to take better notes.
If you have made it this far then well done, you are on the path to fixing those marks and should take a minute to appreciate that. Sometimes the pressures of university life add up and people lose the motivation to learn the things that they are actually quite interested in. Taking regular breaks to appreciate what you are studying and learning, rather than focusing on the marks will help you enjoy your course a lot more. If you are enjoying your course and not stressing about it, your brain is going to retain information that much easier.
Have you ever sat down and really thought about how you learn? Different people remember things in different ways. Some of more visually focused, while others like to hear things or learn by writing things down. Often the best learning comes from a combination of these things, or indeed from teaching your courses to other people. If you don’t yet know that best ways for you to study it’s important that you work it out. Which tests did you do best on? Why? What did you do differently then, that you didn’t do for your weaker subjects?
Having now fallen behind you may feel like you are trying to force everything in at once. Don’t. You still have time. If you plan a decent revision schedule, you can still get through all those copied notes before the exam. The trick is going to be doing a little bit each and every day. Make sure you cover a week or two of notes each time you sit down and before you know it you will be caught up with your class and actually in a stronger space, because you will be in the revision zone.
The critical thing is making sure that you are taking care of yourself, studying hard, and eating and sleeping well. At The Fields all the facilities are geared toward ensuring you have the ideal environment to succeed. With everything at hand, a gym and medical centre, as well as free WiFi. Each month you are given 4 free washes and 4 free dries in our state-of-the-art laundry, The Wash Bar. The Fields is the perfect place for you to be if you are serious about getting good marks.
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