Grades: The best present

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What could be in this nicely wrapped Cyclone-colored gift? Could it be your A or B???

The time of year has come when people start to buckle down and get things done. The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes lots and lots (and lots) of shopping.  This is also the time of year when students are contemplating the next step, after receiving midterm grades just a few short weeks ago. If you are one of the many students at Iowa State who received a midterm on October 16, what’s next? Now is the time to focus, really hone those study skills, and power through the end of the semester! You’ve got what it takes to get that A or B you’ve been reaching for, and I have some study tips to help along the way.

1) Get Out

A lot of students (myself included) like to study at home, sitting in bed, with music or a movie in the background. This is bad! If you want to get serious about your studying, the first step you need to take is to get out of your apartment, residence hall, or other living place. This leads to number 2 which is…

2) Find Somewhere Perfect

The Periodicals Room is a 100% no-noise environment!

Okay, perfect may be stretching it a little, but you should find some place that helps you get focused and stay focused. Need dead quiet? Try the Periodicals Room in the Library. Want a little background noise? The lobby of Carver is a good place. Need a lot of noise? You can always try the Memorial Union!

3) Reach Out to Your Academic Adviser

I know, I know. You JUST met with your Academic Adviser to get your RAN for the upcoming semester, and don’t really want to go back. Well, too bad. Your Academic Adviser is there to, you guessed it, advise your academics. They want you to succeed, and have access to a plethora of resources to do just that. Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, I need a little help.” Besides, they get your midterm grades too, so they already know!

4) Free Resources!

Additionally, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has some great help rooms for a lot of tough subjects, such as the Physics Help Room and the Writing and Media Center. Utilize these free resources too!

5) Find YOUR Study Method

The word "pomodoro" is Italian for "tomato". The idea comes from a kitchen timer

Everyone studies differently. This is a fact. If you are able to sit down and study for hours and hours without breaks, have at it. If you are like me and tend to get distracted after too long, try something like a Pomodoro Timer. It uses 25-30 minute periods as “study” periods broken up by four 5-minute breaks. The fifth break is another 25-30 minute period. I can’t say it will work for everyone, but it definitely works for me!

Well there you have it! My top five tips for more effective studying that will (hopefully) give you the tools you need to take on these last few weeks of the semester and give yourself the gift of an A or a B!

Posted by: Michael Cox