Getting As without being brilliant

Stay on track – Anything that is worth achieving is worth the efforts and the setback en route.  There will be days when you do not feel to go on, days when you feel frustrated. However, if you stick to your goals and purpose, these days will go and you will find out that it was worth the struggles. Pursue your dreams. Most persons’ greatest regrets have not been what they did, but what they did not do.

Preparing for academic excellence – Read before classes and review immediately afterward.
When materials are covered before a class the lecture will be more of a review session.
Concepts will be easier to understand and learning will be enhanced. However, without prior reading, the class materials may be unfamiliar and more difficult to grasp.
In addition, immediate review should follow each class session. When class materials are just presented the information is fresh. The quicker the material is reviewed the more you will be able to assimilate and retain the information.
Long delays between class (hearing) and review sessions make assimilation and retention of information more difficult. It is as if you are learning the information for the first time. Immediate review should be followed by frequent ongoing reviews. The frequency of these reviews should be based on how well you are retaining the information and your personal schedule.

Study routine – Time management is critical in the quest for academic excellence. It ensures that you work consistently and productively. Study periods should be scheduled so that you study when you are most alert. You should also schedule time for recreation. Once a workable timetable is developed it should be followed consistently.

Relaxed atmosphere – Learning is best achieved when you are relaxed. Studying without the immediate threat of examination is less stressful. It is more productive and beneficial than studying at the last minute before the examination. Just before an examination, you are usually tense and hence you are unlikely to retain much information. You know that there will be an examination sooner or later so you should study consistently instead of procrastinating.

Do not waste time worrying about the inevitable – plan for it. There is a famous saying: “Dost thou love life then do not squander time, for it is the stuff which life is made of.”

Matching time – You will have a natural aptitude for some courses relative to others. The temptation is usually to spend an excessive amount of time on courses you perform well in and enjoy doing while neglecting the ones in which you are weak. You should, however, be spending more time doing the ones in which you perform poorly.

Mastering a course:  Some courses require a high level of procedural knowledge; while others require a high level of declarative knowledge. Although declarative knowledge courses such as history may be learned just by reading, this is not so for procedural knowledge courses.
To grasp and fully understand procedural knowledge courses, such as accounts and mathematics, you have to practise the steps often. Just reading is not enough – practice is important. There is no substitute for practice when it comes to grasping procedural knowledge subjects.

Study groups – Group work is very beneficial in that it has a synergistic effect. Group dynamics multiply the knowledge of its members. Each person benefits from the collective knowledge of the group. Other group members may view an issue from a different perspective, thereby broadening one’s horizon. Group participation will increase your Knowledge and stimulate your intellect.

Achieving what you want requires planning, self-motivation, adequate preparation, and hard work. People such as Les Brown (famous motivational speaker) and Ben Carson (renowned neurosurgeon) reached their goals even though they (goals) seemed unreachable at times.
Dr. Carson told a story about a girl who topped her mathematics class with half of a brain (the left hemisphere, the dominant section was removed) because she believed in herself and worked toward her goals. They were able to achieve their goals, despite adverse circumstances, by believing in themselves, constantly working hard and being constantly self-motivated.
Getting As is quite possible. However, it requires that you set goals, believe in your abilities, demonstrate a positive attitude towards your courses and professors, participate in study groups, develop a consistent study routine, and be consistent.


An Eye on the UCCI By Martin Richards, associate professor of business studies