Tips for Acing the School Year (for Dummies) Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 23 August 2019 00:00

If you’re like most students, you probably feel as if successful ones in your class were just born smart. No matter what else is going on in their personal lives or extracurricular activities, they always get good grades, while for you, it is a struggle.

Grades aren’t everything. They are only one part of your education and I’ve come to realize that successful students aren’t more intelligent than other students. They are just more disciplined and focused, and they have developed winning habits.

Intelligence isn’t a fixed trait. Research has proven that students who believe that they can become smarter actually do become smarter. Belief is that powerful. Intelligence is a trait that you can develop over time. Don’t ever label yourself as “dumb” or “not academically inclined”, because with the right mindset you can become more intelligent. So even if you don’t feel like the brightest of the bunch, I’m going to share with you how to be successful in school.

1. Rely on systems, not motivation. Students who do well in school don’t wait until they’re in the mood to study before they get down to work. Neither do they wait until they feel motivated before they start preparing for an exam. Instead, successful students rely on systems to ensure that they get the work done, even when they don’t feel like it. Keep on reading to find out what some of these systems are.

2. Review any new information you’ve learned on the same day. This daily review won’t take long to complete, but it’s a vital step that ensures you stay on top of the material. Applying this tip will also help you to move the information to your long-term memory more quickly.

3. Write everything down. To be an effective student, write everything down. This includes homework to be completed, test and exam dates, project deadlines, competition dates, school and family events, etc. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to remember anything; write it all down to stay organized. This tip might sound extreme, but life only gets busier as you get older. So this tip will serve you well for the rest of your life.

4. Create a rough weekly schedule. It’s impossible to follow a schedule down to the minute, but it’s still helpful to create a schedule. Write down your rough weekly schedule based on your recurring commitments, e.g. school, extracurricular activities, family and social events, religious activities. Then block out regular time each week for homework and studying.

5. Get rid of distractions before they become distractions. The biggest obstacle to doing well in school is distractions. To overcome distractions, you can’t depend on willpower. Few of us have the willpower necessary to fight off all the distractions that surround us in this digital era. Here are some ways to eliminate: Turn off notifications on your phone/tablet, delete all the apps that distract you, put your phone/tablet in another room before you start work, have only one tab open in your browser at any one time and find an accountability partner as you make these changes.

6. Develop good posture. Good posture improves your mood, and also enhances your memory and learning. So sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and lift up your chin – and you’ll perform better in school.

7. Don’t multitask. It’s a fact: There’s no such thing as multitasking. Whenever you’re multitasking, you’re actually just switching between tasks. This reduces your efficiency. Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll find that you’ll get more done in less time.

8. Work in short blocks of time. I’ve found that most students can’t maintain a high level of focus for more than 45 minutes at a go. As such, I recommend working in 30- to 45-minute blocks, followed by a 5- to 10-minute break. Working in shorter blocks of time is more effective for the majority of students, rather than struggling to focus for a couple of hours straight.

9. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you to remember information better, enhances your concentration, and makes you more creative. This is in addition to the other health benefits of exercise. What does this mean for students who want to be successful in school? Make exercise a fixed part of your weekly routine. Exercise three to four times a week, for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time.

10. Be organized. Students who aren’t organized end up wasting precious time looking for items or notes, or doing last-minute work they forgot about. Here are some ways to become more organized: Set a daily reminder to check if there’s any homework due the following day, set reminders to start preparing for tests and exams, use a planner, clear your desk at the end of every day.

11. Break big tasks into smaller ones. Big tasks seem complicated and overwhelming, which is why many students procrastinate. Break every big task down into smaller tasks. For instance, instead of deciding to work on your history paper, you might break the task down into the following smaller tasks: Read Chapter 3. Do online research. Develop thesis statement. Write outline. Write introduction. Write main paragraph #1, 2, 3 etc. Write conclusion. Proofread and edit. When you work on the history paper, focus on completing one task at a time. This will make it less likely that you’ll procrastinate.

12. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Students who perform well are effective learners. As the research shows, sleep is a vital part of becoming an effective learner. Sleep boosts memory and enhances learning. So go to bed at roughly the same time every day, and make it a priority to get 8 hours of sleep a night. If you do this, I’m sure you’ll see an improvement in your academic performance.

13. Create a conducive studying environment. Here are some tips to do this: Tidy your desk daily. Ensure that you have all the stationery, notebooks, etc. that you need. Ensure that the lighting in the room is suitable. Use ear plugs to block out noise if necessary. Put up one or two motivational quotes at your study area. Get a comfortable chair. Remove all distractions from the room.

14. Keep track of important dates, deadlines, etc. I’ve worked with many students who try to keep track of important dates by storing them in their brains. Needless to say, these students occasionally forget about upcoming tests or deadlines. This results in panic – and low-quality work too. Use a planner to keep track of important dates, and you’ll become a more effective student.

15. Take notes in class. It helps you to pay attention and to learn the concepts better.

16. Ask lots of questions. Asking your friends and teachers questions about what you’re learning is a great way to stay engaged. It also ensures that you understand the new material. Don’t be afraid of asking silly questions. Besides, if you pay attention in class, your questions will likely be logical and insightful.

17. Eat healthily. Research shows that the better your nutrition, the better your brain functions. And the better your brain functions, the better your performance in school. Here are some basic tips to eat more healthily: Eat vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs and nuts. Avoid processed foods, and sugar including sugary drinks. Drink plenty of water. How’s that for a summary.

18. Manage your thoughts and emotions. Students who lose focus or motivation are typically discouraged. They’re often discouraged because they feel as if they won’t do well academically, so they lose hope. Manage your thoughts and emotions effectively – especially when faced with disappointment. To do so, take a step back and ask yourself the following questions:

Are these thoughts true? Are these thoughts helpful? Am I taking things too personally? How can I view the situation more positively? Do I need to forgive the other person? Do I need to forgive myself? How can I be more compassionate toward myself? What productive actions can I take to improve the situation? Through answering these questions, you’ll adopt a more positive and resilient mindset.

19. Take a few minutes to prepare for each class. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Preparing for class is something I encourage every student to do. Every night, think about the classes that you’ll be having the following day in school. Take a few minutes to skim the textbook or notes, so that you’ll be familiar with what your teacher will cover the next day. In addition, do a quick recap of the previous topic, because the new topic will likely build on what you’ve already learned. This process won’t take long, but it will pay off in the long run.

20. Give yourself rewards. To keep yourself motivated, give yourself small rewards whenever possible. For example, you might decide that after 45 minutes of work, you’ll reward yourself with a 5-minute YouTube video. Or if you enjoy exercising, you might decide that after you finish your math and science homework, you’ll get to do a 30-minute workout. Rewards are a simple way to encourage you to get to work, even when you don’t feel like it.

Read next week’s article for more tips.

Money to burn Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 23 August 2019 00:00

I did not get to listen to the entire arsenal of speeches in the House meeting last Friday August 16, since I was watching the proceedings on livestream TV, and the internet on my TV would drop out intermittently.  I would then prefer to pick up my book rather than go through the motions of re-connecting all over again via YouTube. However, from the few spats I managed to see from Hon. K. Musa and Hon. O. Requeña, during their allocutions, I was reminded of an adage from a novel by American author, James Patterson, who in one of his crime thrillers said that “fools make assumptions, but intelligent people make deductions”.

This is relevant since both area representatives made allusions that the UDP will be an Opposition Party next year! They based their assumption on the ambivalent claim that the PUP won a massive majority in the recent village council elections. Even in the OWD, where the PUP is claiming 100% victory, there are chinks in their calculation, as the UDP won in San Estevan, Douglas, San Luis, and Tower Hill. That certainly does not make for any 100%!  In Corozal the PUP even lost ground, and in Cayo, the UDP did darn well.  So I do not know where all this cockiness is emanating from, for these fortune seekers to be counting chickens so early, even before the fowl lay!

As an aside, in a talk show earlier this week, I listened to a demagogue yammer about the BCC achieving $10,000,000 to face-lift the city. Only the PUP and its apologists would dare refer to a bond as an achievement! It’s a loan, you fly-by-night preacher, not a grant! It has to be serviced over time, plus interest. I will say this without fear of being wrong, the only achievements we in the districts have heard of the present BCC is their ability to procure debts at different places of business, and of the Mayor’s proclivity for foreign travel. If an audit were to be carried out of how much expenditure the present BCC has undertaken on overseas trips it would amount to a disturbing number, I bet you.  That latter statement dear readers is not an assumption, it is a deduction! But providence is allowing voters to sample what a PUP Administration would look like, at any level, since voters so easily forget. It is showing that the PUP has some unabashed spendthrifts, all the way down the gravy train, I tell you!