Smart plans for smart students

August 31, 2019

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The beginning of a school term is a tough time as you have to adjust to so many new things. Those of you who started school in July, would have settled down a bit by now and gotten into the school routine and rhythm.

But those who started early this month must still be finding it hard to wake up early enough to get ready in time to catch the school bus and with the right books according to the time table.

wake up early enough to get ready in time to catch the school bus and with the right books according to the time table.

I don’t blame you. With so much going on during much of the month with Eid and the sacrificial animals taking up one’s time, how is one supposed to be ready for studies and assignments so soon?

But I am sure most of you have started enjoying spending time in school and its activities, and adjusting to its requirements. The new class, subjects, teachers and classmates would not be appearing so overwhelming and perplexing.

Yes, it is about time that the new tasks and challenges ahead are looked into and faced with a clear and effective strategy, so that when the end of the term arrives, you would not be lost and overburdened.

Smart students do the right thing at the right time and end up being good students, while some good students follow the difficult path of hard work, lots of hard work and no other function in life. So I am sure most of you would prefer to be this smart student so that you can do well in class while enjoying some leisure time too. Sure you can do this with these simple steps, among other things.

Plan well

Smart students plan, and plan well. They have an organised study plan that follows an effective strategy for studies, and they follow this plan religiously. All projects, ventures and businesses need a plan before they start and those that have good planning are the ones that succeed or do well.

In the same way, students should take their studies and school as a venture they have started and what they achieve will depend on their planning. The planning aspect could be as detailed as you desire or just brief points that take care of all aspects of your studies.

You study plan understandably includes a timetable of some kind that should be made keeping in mind the dates of your tests, exams, assignment and subject requirements. But it isn’t only a timetable, because a study plan should also contain the ways and means with which you will pursue your studies and handle the problems you can have. This includes the study material you require, who you can turn to for help in each subject, be it your elder sibling, parents, fiends, teacher or tutor.

Set a target

Since a plan has to define a desired result, aim or target, you also need to define your goals. Be specific – like not less than 80% in any test or exam in all subjects. Now if you have been easily scoring this and higher before, then you must aim higher than what you previously got.

But set realistic targets because if your targets are too difficult to achieve, when you fall short, you will be very disappointed and may even give up all together due to dejection.

Be regular

Being regular in school, in doing your class work and homework, and studying everyday at home are the only ways to realistically expect good results at the end of each term.

Most students only wake up from their slumber just a couple of weeks before exams when the exam timetable or syllabus is given to them. And in trying to learn everything, including completing all missed class work or notes, they only stress ourselves out and perform much below their potential. And then they start to consider themselves as weak students and become comfortable with their C grades or 50% to 60% marks.

Here their planning was weak, their efforts were poor, not their marks. They got what they studied for. Had they studied more, they could have easily gotten better grades and marks.

Take notes regularly

Note taking is one of the most vital activities of a student that can give an average student the advantage to become a high scorer. This is because so much of instructions, explanations and discussions that take place in class are just not there in textbooks or stored in your memory.

So if you take notes regularly, it will help you learn the topic better at home and prepare for tests with more confidence. And a smart student will go a step further to make notes using the class notes and the textbook, and will do it as soon as a topic is over, if not on the day of the lecture itself.

This will prove very useful while learning during the mid-terms or final exams as it would simply mean doing the revision, since making detailed notes require understanding a topic and then writing its notes.

Be with the best

It is said that if you hang out with roses, you are bound to come out smelling good. The same can be said about good company and good friends.

Choose the best students in class to sit and hang out with. Yes, of course, they need to be nice people too, and you must also not be friends with them just to benefit from them.

With good students, you will not waste time in fruitless activities, be tempted to bunk a class and miss a homework. Most of your talks will centre on studies and this will help all retain and remember more. Also when one person doesn’t understand something or is weak in a certain area, the other friends will help and guide him.

Teachers too like students who give time to studies and they will also be more receptive when you go to them with a problem as they will know that you keep good company so you too must be good.

Confront a problem, not hide it

Many of us try to avoid a problem as long as we can, thinking that not dealing with it will maybe make it go away. But problems remain until they are solved, and if left untended, they can snowball into something that will lead to disaster.

If physics is giving you problems and you are unable to handle it, don’t sit quietly. If you have asked the teacher and still you don’t understand things properly, do shy away from asking again and saying that you still didn’t understand, because eventually your teacher will check your test/exam paper and then know that you couldn’t do something. And it’s too late at this time.

Study zone and distractions

Have all kinds of distractions away from your study zone and keep it clutter-free. The place should also be well-lit and have a comfortable chair that doesn’t give you shoulder or back pain. Keep de-cluttering it as frequently as you can because messy surroundings tend to give negative vibes to the brain and you won’t be able to study well.

Plan your sleep

You need to learn to follow the clock to maintain regular sleeping and waking up timings. Start using the alarm clock yourself and do not depend on your mother to wake you up on time.

You must be conscious of the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day and you need to divide your time wisely to meet all your needs, without depriving yourself of something due to lack of time.

The most likely things that we sacrifice when we don’t have time is our sleep, usually during test and exam days, and our study hours to indulge in other things during the rest of the term. Both things fall under the bad habits tag, so avoid that, and this can best be done by maintaining a routine with time allotted for everything and sticking to that time.

It is more important to be a smart student, so learn to make some smart moves with smart planning this term and year, and you will see the difference in your results and personality.

Published in Dawn, Young World, August 31st, 2019