Set targets and goals
Start by carving the school or academic year into bite-sized chunks. At best, you are going to have about nine months to embrace the coursework, complete assignments or essays and prepare for exams. Into this you also have to fit your social life, sporting interests and sufficient recreation.
First, you will need details of the course(s) you are undertaking and dates for essay submissions and exams. Once you know exactly what will be expected of you over the year you can set yourself targets and goals to be reached by specific dates. The first secret of successful academic performance is to be on top of the game – not a victim of haphazard reactions to pressures applied by teachers or tutors.
An effective student, invariably, is one who is sufficiently organized to tackle the workload systematically and meet deadlines without stress.
Focus on key issues
One reason that some students become stressed and anxious as the year progresses is that they try to do too much. They think they have to cover the whole syllabus in minute detail and spend time on many needless forays into the academic undergrowth when they should have focused on the main theme. Allocate the work to be done by sorting out the key issues and topics, the areas on which you will be tested or assessed, and relegate to a second order all the subsidiary material. You can also reduce your workload significantly by filtering out the dross to avoid getting caught up in unimportant issues.
Get to know your teachers
Obviously you will need guidance from teachers, tutors or lecturers to select the areas on which you should focus. As well as studying course outlines, communicate with your teachers and anyone in a position to guide you to make the right judgments.
Apart from providing you with invaluable information and detail, getting to know the teachers puts a face to your name am creates, however superficially, a relationship which will prove invaluable later in the year if you need help. In some cases, it is better for the exam or essay marker not to have any familiarity with the student, to ensure consistency of marking or so that favoritism does not intrude.
The aim of good marking from the teachers’ standpoint is arriving at a fair assessment of the students’ capabilities and knowledge. If a poor result belies a student’s real potential, a teacher can act to correct that anomaly rather than letting it ruin a person’s career.