Hard Work

How to Get an “A” at School and Work

final exam

Image by dcJohn via Flickr

Every year students ask me, “How can I get an “A” in this class?”  Here are some of the well researched strategies for academic success.

Attend class. Students who attend class get higher grades, mainly because they have a repeated exposure to the material.  Attending class helps you figure out what you don’t know.  You can ask questions, engage with the material.

Do the reading. The reading provides the details, context and much more information than can be communicated in class. Consider using the question method mentioned in a previous post.

Be prepared. Do the assignments, exercises or activities assigned before class.  You won’t learn much from your colleagues if you don’t come to the table prepared. And, you won’t know how to do something unless you actually try to do it. Thinking about it isn’t enough.  Especially when you get to the final exam.

Pay attention. Do not answer email on your Blackberry, use Facebook or text someone in class. Multi-tasking reduces information recall by at least 40%. You are NOT the exception to the rule.  It’s not only rude and distracting to others, but you won’t remember anything you just heard.

Manage your deadlines. Dan Ariely’s research on deadlines shows that we are better off when we set deadlines for ourselves, and even better off when there is a firm deadline set by an external source.  Students with external deadlines received better grades than those who self-set deadlines and those with no deadlines. Learn to set firm deadlines for yourself to manage your external deadlines.  Avoid excuses. Don’t change your milestones. It won’t help you meet your deadlines.

Understand the objectives of your assignments. Then demonstrate in your assignment that you have met its objectives. Thoroughly.

If you think about it, many of these same approaches to get an “A” in school, are the approaches we need to get an “A” at work. And they don’t hand out a lot of “A”s in the workplace.

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2 replies »

  1. Attending class is crucial. Sometimes it seems like a waste to travel all the way there for just 90 minutes, but it’s worth it in the end.

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