Use Your Anxiety As A Propeller

Authored by: Massa M.

If you can study 9 hours in a day, it isn’t getting enough time, but rather a matter of you utilizing that time correctly. Quality > quantity. 5 hours of great studying > 9 hours of mindless ineffective studying.

1.) Review every day. If you come back from a lecture, review what you just learned. Do this 1-3 days after the lecture, preferably not immediately after but try not to get too close to the 3-day mark. If you don’t have anything new to review, review old stuff.

2.) Identify if the information is conceptual or memorization based. In my experience, many things seem like memorization based but is actually conceptual. Majority of what you learn (yes, even random ochem reactions) is conceptual, not memory. For conceptual, understand WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW of everything.

3.) Podcast and listen again

4.) During lecture or when listening to podcasts, write questions on the side of your paper to figure out later on. Get into the habit of feeling uncomfortable when there is an unanswered question or concept you don’t understand. Anything relevant your professor mentions and you don’t understand, write it down. If you didn’t get a what/where/when/why/how , write it down

5.) Go to office hours, this is great for getting those questions answered. Some professors will also clue you in on exams or allow you to ask whether or not something will be on an exam. Office hours might be the biggest reasons why I did well in a lot of my classes.

6.) Old exams. Many people gave me shit for this but fuck that noise, I know for a fact that a huge population of every science class I’ve been in had old exams. If the frats and orgs parade around saying they have an extensive database of exams and the university pretends they don’t see it, then I don’t see what the moral issue is with individuals having them. If anything, it dilutes the exclusivity of advantage of those orgs.

Be aware that old exams are only useful for three things. Solidifying concepts, getting accustomed to a professor’s preferences on how to answer questions, see what kind of curveballs your professor like to throw to separate the top scorers. Don’t expect to have repeated questions on your actual exam.

7.) Go into the class with a little fear. Not enough to be discouraged but enough to be motivated and feel accomplished. One of my organic chem professors told me that he believes one of the reasons why a lot of students don’t do well in first class of organic is because they fear the beast too much or they think it’s fine to get a B or C because “it’s ochem, it’s supposed to be hard, I’m not supposed to get an A, only the future Nobel winners can get an A” and often the fact is you usually get lower than what you aim for. You should say “yes it’s ochem, yes it is hard, and yes I CAN get an A”

8.) Realize some will have to work harder than others. Don’t give a shit about people who sleep in class and get an A, they have their own struggles. How hard you work and how clever you are in securing advantages for yourself IS IMPORTANT. Holistic.

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