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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Improving your Grades

Grade point average, class test result, final exam mark, degree class; call it what you will, at some time in our lives we all face a graded test. How can one improve his or her mark or grade and what practical steps can someone take? That is the main dilemma people face regardless of the course they are taking.

I spent the last few days marking exams-both written and practical. As usual, I got to see the good, the bad and just the plain scary. I’ve written a few in my time. These are the things that have helped me face exams…
1.) What you sow, you reap. Rather cliché, but true. If you don’t study you are less likely to pass. There are always the smug guys in the class that seem to get away with minimal studying, but they are the minority. If you need a kick in the pants to motivate you, then find a friend to be accountable to and set time to study together (I managed to get through my Sociology 101 this way-don’t ask what I use it for, I had to do the course).
2.) Start studying in time. Cramming one night before just doesn’t cut it. Plan a timetable and stick to it.
3.) Understanding is better than just knowing the facts. If you struggle with a concept-ask someone to help you. Application of what you know is what counts most of the time.
4.) Answer the question!!! Too many people spend time telling you everything they know, except the one thing you want to know. If I ask “how to measure leg length difference”, don’t tell me what factors affect it or how to correct it-just tell me how to measure it.
5.) Write clearly. This can be hard, especially if you write like me (trust me you don’t want to know), but if your writing is particularly bad then try using a black pen rather than a blue one.
6.) Don’t party the night before. It’s not rocket science, but there is nothing worse than watching someone who hasn’t got enough sleep try to do a practical. The last thing you want to do is doze off with a beaker full of sulphuric acid in front of you, there are easier ways to get a nose job.

If you have any other tips, post them as a comment.

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