Today, I wanted to share with you guys some tips and tricks on how to do well in poly (not that I'm a perfect student with perfect scores, neither have I gotten into a university yet) but I have a pretty decent GPA and I've received TONS of questions on this topic. As shown below, here are some snippets from my Ask.fm!
And since you guys were so polite in asking me, I figured, why not do it!
Anyway, I did a post on study tips for O levels & N levels before (click here) and I want to mention (again) that I'm not smart (seriously, compared to kids in hcjc/vjc/acjc etc, I'm NOTHING) and I'm not trying to boast in any way by blogging about this. I just want to share some tips to help those of you who lack motivation and really want to do well in poly!
Let me start off by saying that I believe there are 2 types of people in this world. Those that are born intelligent, and those that are very hardworking. I wish I fall under the 1st category but I'm happy being in the 2nd. I am not smart, but I try to make the best out of what I have. Like I mentioned before, my psle score wasn't even cut out for the express stream but I still made it made it to sec 5 and poly! I shan't go in the details about how much I got for psle or n/o levels because it's all stated in the previous post :)
Anyway, for those of you who are new to my blog or for some reason are clueless as to where I'm studying, I'm currently in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, doing my final year, final semester :) I can't believe I've made it this far!! Oh and I'm currently on a 6 months internship for my final semester, sadly I am not allowed to blog about where I intern and stuff but I must say that I love the company I'm working for and I'm handling a really interesting business unit as well. (I'm doing Human Resource)
Poly life did not really start out fantastic for me as I only managed to attain a 3.3+ GPA during my first semester. I was so upset at that time because I always thought that poly was very 'easy' and 'slack'. But like I mentioned before, this is so wrong. Overall, with hardwork and determination, I've managed to overcome that sem and did pretty well for the past few sems, attaining mini awards + scholarships and also got into the director's list for about 3 sems!
Here are some of the things I did in poly that enabled me to do well :)
#1 - Stay Organised
I always keep an organiser because I'm very forgetful. I use my organiser to write down things that I have to do daily (e.g. do tutorials, read up on lecture notes, research on xxx) I've come to realise that it is always good to write down a to-do list because it helps you remember what you have to do. Also, you can dedicate little sections in your organiser to write down your goals for the semester, which is what I always do. I'll write down what I hope to achieve for each module as well as have a targeted GPA in mind. As the saying goes, "Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - W. Clement Stone. Believe in yourself and set high goals, of course there has to be actions as well, you can't just set a goal and then wait for something to happen. If you set high goals, work hard and aim to achieve them!
I also ensure that I always stock up on my stationeries and get a nice little pencil case to store my stationeries. Believe it or not, I feel that having nice stationeries actually motivate my to study. Hahaha. After I buy pretty stationeries, I'm always excited to use them and what better way to use them than when doing homework?? Hehe. I ensure that I stock up on highlighters especially because it is always very useful to have your notes highlighted, I find that I study better this way :) I would recommend everyone to do this because having colourful notes also look better than a bunch of black and white papers.
Lastly, if you're doing Business or Engineering, I'm pretty sure you'll need a calculator. I ensure that I bring my calculator to school every single day and for exams! I've encountered many occassions whereby I just forget to bring my calculator in school. It was such a hassle because I've to keep borrowing from my classmates and it made things troublesome for everybody.
#2 - Print, Read & WriteI always always tell people to print out their lecture notes. I will never get why people want to bring their laptops to lectures when it can be sooo distracting. I get so annoyed with those idiots that like to sit in the front row and pretend like they're listening to lectures when they actually go on facebook and play their stupid games. I mean, might as well stay at home and not waste your time/money on public transport to come to lectures right?
Anyway, also, aside from printing your notes.. Write. Like crazy.
During lectures, write like there's no tomorrow haha. In poly, you'll always hear people saying "Aiya, don't need go for lecture one lah, got lecture notes enough already" If lecture notes were good enough then we don't even need lecturers in the first place right..?
I take down everything that my tutor says because it helps me understand better and also allows me to use examples and links during my exams and project work. By doing this, I managed to attain A with Distinction for every of my core paper last semester :) I just wrote like crazy, gave as many examples as I could and try to apply what I've learnt. I cannot tell you how AWESOME it is to see so many ADs on your result slip. Of course it's not always about the ADs but if you can get it, why not? It's $50 cash for every AD you get (provided you are the top 5%)
Sometimes in school, I have friends and classmates who go "wah you damn on during lecture" "wah you damn mugger" but honestly, I try not to think about it or let it affect me because all I'm doing is just studying to get good grades for myself ;) if you don't help yourself, nobody else can.
#3 - Find Good Project Mates
Find good project mates! Projects make up at least 30% of your whole module. So look for people who actually aim to do well for their projects. Honestly, it is not hard to get an A if you actually put in effort to do your work well. I was fortunate in poly because I had very good group mates every semester and have gotten mostly As for my projects. These As can help pull up your entire modules' grades especially if you did not do particularly well during your common tests.
Of course there were times where I encountered group mates who just didn't care about the project or their grades and were contented with just a pass. In these situations, do not be afraid to take the lead. Take charge and assign roles and responsibilities. I had a module whereby nobody ever talked about the project except me. Every single time it was me who whatsapped the group and said "Guys, our project how?" "Guys, have y'all done your part?" "Guys, when can y'all email me your part?" and even after they send me their parts, I still had to edit and edit and add content and edit and compile the entire freaking slides together. It was hard work but it all paid off. I suggest that you if you ever have group mates like this, just keep pushing and encouraging them! If it does not work out, just talk to your tutor and explain your situation to him/her. Tutors are very understanding and they will always do their best to help you :)
But like I said before, to avoid being in these kinds of situations, just avoid these people in general haha. Find a group of friends in poly that you can depend on and form a good relationship with them.
#4 - Ask & Answer Questions
(LOL TRYING TO PRETEND TO RAISE UP MY HANDS BUT FAILED MISERABLY)
I always try my best to finish up my tutorials, even when it comes to those that I find really challenging, I'll try to look for answers and volunteer to answer them when I'm in class. Not only does answering questions help you gain participation marks, it also shows your tutor that you're a keen learner. But of course don't do it for every question la, give other people a chance haha if not you'll seem like a teacher's pet (and I hate these people LOL) Just try to answer questions as much as you can. Did I mention that poly tutors don't collect your work and mark them? Yup, that's why it's always hard to know if your answers are right or wrong. I try my best to answer questions so that I can understand which part of my answer is correct/incorrect and whether there are any other explainations that I've missed out. Answering questions is a good way to learn from your mistakes and also share your awesome answers with the rest of the class!
I also ensure that I ask questions whenever I'm not sure. It's ok to make mistakes and not understand something. If you don't feel comfortable asking questions in front of your class, then wait till your lesson ends and ask your tutor if he/she could spare you 10-15 minutes of their time. If they are rushing off for another lesson, you can also e-mail them :) My tutors in Ngee Ann are very very kind and caring so they always respond to my e-mails promptly! If your tutor takes awhile to reply, you can try to call them or approach another tutor who teaches the same module.
#5 - Do Past Year Exam Papers
I cannot even emphasise how important this is. In secondary school, all of us were always eager to do Ten Year Series and buy past year papers from other secondary schools. Why is it that in poly, nobody does this anymore?
In my first semester of school, I had Business Statistics and Macro Economics. Both modules that I hated and scored a C+ and B for respectively. I finally realised that the reason why I did not do well for these modules was because I did not have enough practice. All my friends who printed past year papers and practiced them all did reasonably well, scoring As and Bs while I on the other hand scored Cs. After my first semester, I made it a point to do at least 10-12 past year papers for each module. Bear in mind that I never do past year papers for theory modules like Marketing or HR because I find that it does not help. But for modules like Accounting, Finance & Econs, it is always good to do past year papers so that you know what the trend in asking questions is like and also, it gives you ample of practice.
I have always been very weak in mathematics and I never took accounting in secondary school. In poly, I still managed to attain As for my accounting because I made it an effort to do past year papers. I forced myself to re-do the past year papers over and over again to ensure that I knew how to solve the questions. If you're from NP, you can find the past year papers under Library Resources on the Ngee Ann website. Just log in with your student ID and PW and you're good to go :) I don't know about the other polys but I'm sure you can ask your tutors for them.
#6 - Always have your phone ready
In poly, tutors always have this habit of flashing slides that are not inside your lecture notes, and also, these slides are damn wordy!!!!! I, along with other poly kids are always too lazy to copy the info down so what better way than to take out our iPhones and snap pictures. HAHAHA. It is not uncommon to see students in class taking out their phones and snapping pictures of lecture slides. Also, I use it to take photos when tutors flash out model answers HAHA. Cos usually my tutors don't like showing model answers as they want us to come out with our own answers, so they flash it very quickly. I always ensure that I try to capture it hehehe.
Also, I do record (voice memo) important lectures like revision lectures just in case I miss out on anything that my lecturer says. I record the whole lecture on my iPhone and when I'm revising for my exams, I can just replay the lecture to ensure that I do not miss out on anything.
#7 - SNACKKKKSSS!!!
I am a fan of food. I LOVE FOOODD and food is something that can keep me awake if I'm feeling very sleepy. During morning lectures, I make sure that I buy food from the canteen so that I can eat my breakfast while listening to lectures. Also, it prevents me from feeling sleepy!!! It is always good to keep sweets in your bag so that you can just pop a candy in your mouth whenever you feel that the lecture is very dry or if you feel like you're falling alseep! Try to eat foods like fruits and vegetables as well as foods high in protein/carbs to kepe your energy levels up and to get your brain working!! I like to snack on buns and biscuits whenever I'm studying/in lectures :)
#8 - Dress Comfortably
I know it's always good to dress up and feel good about yourself, but I somehow prefer dressing down so that I don't have to worry about anything and I can wake up much later in the mornings. I know students in Mass Comm always dress up like they're going to some fashion show and I admire them for being able to do so, but for me, I just can't. I'm not saying that you have to follow my rules or dress down when you go to school like me, but I'm saying that you should dress COMFORTABLY so that you can study better :)
I also hardly apply makeup when I go to school because I feel like my face gets really oily and sweaty after a long day in school, and that is bad for my skin. Instead, not applying heavy makeup and mascara helps me 'air' my skin and gives my eyelashes time to recover from the thick coating I wear on weekends. I've come to discover that my eyelashes are much thicker and stronger now that I don't apply mascara that often ^^
I also make sure I bring a cardigan/hoodie to school as lecture theatres can be quite cold!!! It's always good to stay warm and feel comfortable so that you can study better :)
#9 - Work Hard, Play Harder
I believe that everything comes with balance. Give yourself time to enjoy as well! You deserve it.
There were times during my study break whereby I had birthday celebrations and gatherings to attend. In the past, I would avoid going for these celebrations only to end up regretting because everybody looked like they had so much fun. I always believe that it is important to maintain a balance between work and play so that you don't suffer a burnout which is long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work.
I make sure that I prioritise my time well so that I can make it for birthday celebrations and gatherings! It gives me time to relax and unwind after a stressful week of studying. Get rid of all your frustrations and have fun with the people you love :))
#10 - Never Give Up
Sometimes, we all just feel like giving up. I have those days too.. whereby I just don't feel like doing anything anymore and feel like quitting school because I'm just so so so stressed with exams, assignments and group projects. But everyone is going through the same thing as you and some people have it worst, so why not make the best out of whatever you have?
I always tell myself that I should never be a quitter, for example, my blogshop isn't doing very well but I'm not going to just give it up like that. "All hard work brings profits but mere talk only leads to poverty" - Warren Buffet. As long as you believe in yourself and take the necessary actions, I promise you you'll reach your goals! :)
Nobody is born stupid! I believe all of you are special in your own ways. For those of you taking Os now, I wish you all the best and good luck! For those of you doing your final semester or finishing year 1/2, I wish you all the best for this brand new semester! I hope this post was beneficial for you in one way or another, it might not be much but I hope that by sharing some of these things that I do, it might help you as well.
For any of my readers in Ngee Ann Business Studies, please feel free to approach me if you need any help with your modules/projects. I can try my best to photocopy my notes for you or share some tips and tricks for certain modules :) you can leave a comment down here or e-mail me. I'll try to reply whenever I'm free!
Till then, that's all I have for you guys today.
P.S here's a "What's in my school bag" vlog for you! I know I look completely ridiculous in those specs but hey, just having fun!!!