Top Tips for Successful Students - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Higher Education
April 16, 2020

Top Tips for Successful Students

Studying for a diploma is certainly challenging, but it's one that every student has the ability to meet and conquer. Here are some tips to help you maintain a good study schedule, earn good grades, and pass your courses with flying colors.

How to Get the Most out of Each Class

Your diet has a big impact on your studies. Researchers have found that students who eat a healthy breakfast have higher academic results than those who eat unhealthy foods or skip breakfast entirely. A good night's sleep is also imperative as it's hard to get the most out of your classes if you're too tired to pay attention.

Come to class ready to give it your all. Sit where you can see and hear the instructor clearly. Turn off your cell phone and come prepared with working pens, pencils, and a notebook for taking notes.

Taking good notes is important but it's not the only thing you need to do in class. Ask questions and participate in discussions. Speak up if you don't understand something the instructor has said or written on the board.

The Best Study Practices

Create a good study routine and stick with it. Start by selecting a quiet place to study where you won't be distracted. For some, this will mean a quiet desk at the local library or dorm room. Others, however, study best with a study group. See what works best for you.

Read the assigned texts and handouts. Pay attention to the organization of the text and highlight key points and terms as you read. Additionally, you may want to have a second highlighter of a different color available to highlight anything you don't understand. Take notes as you read so you can refer back to important information without going through all your papers to find the one you need at any given point in time.

Don't put off study time or homework assignments. It's much better to be done early than it is to cram at the last minute or fail to turn in assignments on time. This same point holds true if you need help to understand study material. Ask for help as soon as you need it.

The Best Ways to Study for a Test

Find study partners who are serious about their studies and work with them to review for a test. Preparing for a test with a study group can help you gain a new perspective of the study material, fill in learning gaps, and learn material faster than would have otherwise been possible.

Use your notes to review before the test. Look over text summaries and highlighted points to remember key information. If you don't understand something, get help from the study group or even your professor before the test. It's also smart to use practice tests if these are available as they can help you identify weak areas and boost your confidence.

Get enough sleep the night before your test and eat a healthy breakfast before heading out for your big day.

How to Get Outside Help When You Need It

Getting outside help doesn't take the place of developing good study habits. The ability to be proactive and self-disciplined when studying new skills is one that will get you far both in learning and in life. Even so, everyone needs help at times. Thankfully, there are plenty of people you can turn to for assistance when you don't understand a particular subject or have a difficult time mastering a new skill.

Ask your professor for help as and when needed. Your professor wants to see you succeed and will be happy to offer a bit of extra assistance and advice as he or she is able. Alternatively, you can ask a teaching assistant for help if your professor is unavailable at the moment, or you can visit the student success center.

You may also be able to find the help you need at a local library or even online. However, be careful when using the internet as not all sites are trustworthy. Avoid using business websites that are actively trying to sell you on a particular product or service, and research questionable claims and information on several sites to ensure you're getting accurate information.

A good study partner can also provide invaluable assistance, especially if he or she has mastered the task at hand. Alternatively, you may need to consider hiring a tutor if you are having a difficult time mastering study material and/or you need special assistance due to a learning disability such as ADD, ADHD, or dyslexia.

Common yet Potentially Deadly Pitfalls to Avoid at All Costs

One of the biggest mistakes a student can make is not taking personal responsibility for oneself. You, and you alone, are responsible for your future. You will be the one most impacted by your decision to either study hard or put off studying. Given the fact that you'll likely need to study about 2 to 3 hours on your own for every hour you spend in class, studying will likely eat into your free time. You'll need self-discipline to stay the course as others party, relax, watch a movie, or go out of town for the holidays. However, you can rest assured that earning your diploma is worth all the hard work and effort.

You'll also need to take on the responsibility of getting to know your class schedule, getting to classes on time, getting help as and when needed, finishing all your homework assignments, and providing complete answers on all your assignments and tests. Even seemingly small things will add up and impact your grades.

At the same time, even conscientious students who study hard and attend all their classes on time make mistakes that can have a negative impact on their scores or studies. One common pitfall is being passive, simply attending classes and taking notes without actively joining in on discussions and asking questions. Another common pitfall is failing to speak up when something isn't clear. While it may be awkward to ask about something that everyone else seems to understand, it's a move you need to make if you are serious about succeeding in your chosen field of study.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically-based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your education goals, please call us at 855-979-5563 or email We look forward to working with you to choose a career path and helping you reach your goals as you study with us.