It is the holy grail of academics, coveted by students everywhere: the elusive 4.0. Students at UB attempt to achieve this stamp of perfection every semester, but there are only a few who actually do it.
In this new semester, students areworking as hard as ever to get a higher GPA.
Mian Li Ong, a senior psychology major, has had ten 4.0's in his academic career. He believes that one of the keys to his success is his ability to "study smart."
"Organize yourself and organize your time well," Ong said. "Do not overload yourself. Know what your limits are and what you are capable of. It's better to do one thing well then to try to do everything well."
When asked what his biggest piece of advice was for fellow students, he emphasized and discipline.
"[Discipline] is very important because you can talk all day long about having the right study skills, but if you do not have the right self discipline to follow through, then it's worthless," Ong said.
Evan Kristansen, a senior psychology major, also stressed the importance of time management and self-discipline. However, he believes that his success at UB is directly due to his involvement with the research options of the psychology program.
Kristansen also emphasized communicating with your professors, regardless of class size. While he or she may give you very basic feedback, like keeping up with reading, you might also get tips that are not being shared with everyone, like focusing more on lecture notes.
Carson Ciggia, a sophomore business administration major, also makes a point to meet with his professors, being sure to go to their office hours when things are unclear to him.
As co-founder and president of the undergrad business association, Ciggia organizes his entire week to make sure that he is making the most of his time during the day. He also finds that breaking up his work into small slots of time allows for him to buckle down and be more productive then doing large amounts over a large span of time.
"A lot of classes, I bring them back to my own life," said Emily Page, a senior psychology major. "Certain things with psychology, they are very easy to bring back to your own life."
Page suggests creating rhymes, acronyms, stories, or breaking down large concepts into smaller ones will help students learn the material better.
"Each semester, I take an advance level class, but I also take a class that was more based on my interest," Page said.
There are a few points that all of these students agreed upon. They all sit at the front of the classroom, take notes by hand instead of on their computers, and don't use their phones in class. They all prefer to write only the key concepts of lectures rather than feverishly taking notes.
There were differences in opinions about favorite locations to study: Page enjoys the comfort of her own home, while Ong enjoys the O'Brian Law Library. Kristansen and Cigga prefer anywhere that's completely silent. All four acknowledged the importance of picking a schedule and sticking to it, regardless of what that schedule is.
It's also important to have down time, whether it is to watch TV, go for a run, or eat dinner with friends. All these students are also involved with internships or on-campus clubs, proving that it is possible to be extremely busy, extremely involved, and still do extremely well.
Going to class, getting the correct amount of sleep, not surfing Facebook during class – these are all things that have been said before, but are not necessarily being put into effect.
These students are seeing the results. Everyone has their own personal preferences, but trying something new, or simply tweaking old strategies can make the biggest differences.