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The Collegian

Academics: Getting back on track in light of midterm grades

Midterm grades were released this week, and whether you were disappointed or happy with your grades, we’ve assembled a few tips to help you achieve and maintain the grades you want by the end of the semester.

Evaluate early.
BJU Provost Dr. David Fisher advises students to take stock of where they are academically as early as possible. He encourages students to ask themselves a series of questions: “Am I on the right road?” “Am I making progress?” “Am I enhancing the skill set that will make me successful in college?” If you aren’t satisfied with your answers to those questions, now is the time to act. Academic Resource Center academic coach Andrew Huish said students often wait until it’s too late to do something about their grades. “You can’t fix your grades two weeks before finals,” he said.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The University offers a variety of helps for students looking to achieve academic success. The Academic Resource Center provides opportunities to work one-on-one with academic coaches or tutors and also organizes student-led study groups in a variety of subjects. Your professors welcome your questions and are eager to help you succeed in any way they can. You can also receive help from your peers. Find a study buddy and set aside time each week to study together.

Stick to a schedule that breaks big tasks into smaller ones.
Freshman graphic design major Casey Kadish said making a schedule helped her tremendously. She has adopted a plan where she sets a timer to work on a single subject for 30 minutes, takes a break for 15 minutes, and then repeats the process. “Instead of looking forward to the end of all of my homework, I look forward to the end of one subject,” she said. Overall, Kadish said, sticking to a schedule and tackling big tasks little by little has really helped to improve her focus.

Try different study tactics — we all learn differently.
“Progress is different for each student,” Fisher said. Certain things may work for some students, but not for others. If you’re not seeing results, Huish suggests, try using a variety of strategies to enhance your academic performance. “You can’t just keep doing everything the same [way] and expect to get different results,” he said.

One tool many students have found helpful is the use of flashcards. “You can think of a use for flashcards in almost every subject,” Huish said. Kadish was skeptical of using flashcards at first, but she said, “I noticed that once I started doing it, it’s really helpful.” Huish also suggests some more innovative, out-of-the-box approaches. Studying right before you go to bed “helps your brain file that information away and review it even while you’re not aware of it,” he said, and walking while you memorize helps your body incorporate a rhythm with what you’re learning.

Don’t give up.
The thing to remember about midterm grades, Fisher said, is that they don’t go on your permanent record. “[They’re] just a checkpoint along the journey of this semester.” Don’t let them discourage you, but don’t be tempted to coast for the rest of the semester, either. As Huish points out, heavier-weighted assignments often come during the second half of the semester, giving tremendous opportunity for improvement or decline. “Keep going, keep planning,” Kadish said, “because once you start slacking, your week is totally thrown off just by one day of not planning.”

Finally, make sure you are making time for God in your busy schedule. “Grades are important, but your relationship with God is most important,” Huish said.

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Academics: Getting back on track in light of midterm grades