Study Tips & Uni Advice

I’m graduating this month! Sometimes younger readers ask me questions about university so I decided to write a post about study tips. Hopefully this post will help some of you!

1. If you fail an exam, forgive yourself. 

I actually did very poorly on a paper this term (barely passed) because I misunderstood the purpose of the paper. There was the initial shock when I checked my grade, but within ten minutes I was back to normal. I’m not going to let a bad mark define who I am as a person. I know my own worth. This is something I love about myself because I am able to forgive myself immediately. I am not working against myself, but with myself.

For my next paper, I got an A. Before I wrote it, I emailed the Teaching Assistant a lot of questions. I knew that I wasn’t dumb – I just didn’t understand the purpose of the first paper. For my final exam, I got an A and my final grade was an A-.

2. When choosing electives, pick courses you are interested in.

I’ve taken German cinema and Japanese cinema as two of my electives. No surprise, but I got a higher grade in Japanese cinema. The class average for Japanese cinema was lower than German, but I still did better. My final grade was 12% higher than the class average. I firmly believe it’s because I am more interested in Japanese culture and cinema. I know almost nothing about Germany!

3. Do not enrol in a class just because your friends are in it. 

This is something a few of my friends can agree with. Make sure you’re interested in the course too! I didn’t take a Psychology course because a couple of my closest friends were taking a different class. To this day, I still don’t think I learned anything in that class. I wasn’t interested in it at all and similar to #2, your interest in the course will probably affect your final grade.

4. Make flashcards. 

I did better on exams when I used flashcards. I use Quizlet.com because 1) it’s better to use less paper for the sake of the planet, 2) it’s more convenient because you don’t have to carry a stack of cards, 3) it’s easier in the long-term because if the final exam is cumulative, the flashcards are in one convenient location. You don’t have to worry about misplacing them.

5. It’s okay to say “no” to a social event because you have to study. 

In my second year of university, I went to a birthday party during the weekend and my exam was on the Monday. I did horribly… In my third year of university, I didn’t go to the birthday party and I got something like a 97% on the exam. When I told my friend, she was happy for me. I know that birthday parties are important, especially if the other person is a close friend, but sometimes you have to put your grades first. Make sure you actually study during that time!

6. You can still do your hobbies.

I only recently started to watch anime again during the school term. Prior to this year, I used to go cold turkey on my hobbies like watching anime. I do not recommend doing this because I felt miserable, like I was missing a crucial part of my life. Anime makes up part of my identity. Of course, you still have to study. This is not an excuse to not study or not do your assignments. Hobbies are healthy to do, but you still have to do work. My grades improved after I watched some anime. It’s not the sole cause, but it probably contributed to my wellbeing and overall happiness.

7. Treat yourself. 

If you feel proud about an academic or non-academic accomplishment, treat yourself! Buy yourself that ice cream cone or thing you really want. You deserve it! You worked so hard and it’s time to thank yourself because you are important and you matter.

8. Try taking power naps. 

I like to take 10-15 minute naps when I have to study for long periods of time. I don’t know about you, but I can fall asleep very quickly so I always feel refreshed after I wake up from a nap. I use an alarm on my phone.