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Friday, October 07, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

"Easy ""A"""

Party hard.

These are good words not to live by if one wants to get good grades here at UB.

Senior Academic Advisor Diane McMahon conducted a workshop titled "How to Get Good Grades in College" Tuesday night, which highlighted thorough notes, productively reading a textbook, studying smart and taking a test without all of the stress.

McMahon began by stressing the importance of setting realistic goals. She urges students to meet with either their major-specific advisors or the career planning advisors in Capen Hall to learn about their options and to choose a major that best suits their particular interests.

As another means of familiarizing oneself with their chosen field, McMahon expressed the importance of participation in internships. Internships are an effective way to set oneself apart from other students competing within the field.

McMahon also pointed out that the Majors and Careers Fair is coming up. The fair will be held on Oct. 26th from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Student Union lobby.

According to McMahon, taking 17 credit hours and working 25 hours a week is too much. However, one way to avoid overextending yourself is to work on campus.

"On-campus jobs are more sympathetic to the fact that you're a student first," she said.

As far as being successful in the classroom, McMahon highlighted the importance of making a good impression on one's professor by attending every class, sitting in the front as often as possible, participating in classroom discussion, being on time and resisting the urge to skip out early.

The presenter pointed out students should not hesitate to take multiple courses taught by the same professor if they find that the teaching style is compatible with their learning style.

"The instructor is the one who sets the tone for the class," she said.

McMahon urges students to take advantage of instructors' office hours and to e-mail them when a problem arises, such as an inability to meet the deadline of an assignment.

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"They're here so that you walk away with knowledge," said McMahon. "They love to talk about what they know and what their favorite things are."

McMahon provided some helpful hints for students looking to improve their note-taking skills, such as being an active listener, recognizing key phrases, using symbols and abbreviations and reviewing their notes immediately after class.

McMahon recognizes the fact that it's not possible for students to read entire textbooks for their various courses. Instead, she advises students to keep a lookout for boldfaced words as well as those in italics. She also urges students to take advantage of pictures, graphs and charts.

"Look at the review questions before you start," said McMahon.

When it comes time to study, the presenter mentioned the importance of finding a well-lit, comfortable place free of distractions (in particular, technological distractions.) Also, one's studying habits should be tailored to fit his or her specific learning style: If you're a visual learner, make flash cards or diagrams; If you're an auditory learner, read aloud or come up with a song.

In terms of homework, McMahon warns students to avoid bunching like assignments together. For instance, don't do "paper after paper after paper." She also pointed out that sometimes it's necessary to put a paper down and return to it a day or two later.

"Don't be afraid to take breaks," said McMahon.

She also recommended The Learning Center for students who need additional help writing papers.

Being prepared for a test is extremely important and can ultimately help students avoid test-taking anxiety. McMahon tells students to "start studying early," join a study group and to take advantage of study guides provided by instructors.

"Cramming doesn't work," said McMahon. "Sleep is a big important part of being successful."

On the day of the test, McMahon advises students to be on time, prepared, and to look over the test first and budget time wisely. Do not dwell on questions whose answers aren't immediately obvious. Finally, students should always check their answers before turning in their tests.

Students should look over all returned tests to see what they did wrong and to catch any grading errors the instructor or TA may have made.

"The only person responsible for you is you."

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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