With the start of the new year, and a new term, comes an opportunity to bring about some positive changes and find ways to improve. As we all know, making the transition from high school to university is challenging for most students! I have compiled a list of 5 tips that helped me succeed during my first year at university.

1) Ask questions

When I was in high school, I would often hear that being in university is kind of like being “a small fish in a big ocean”. In my first year, I found that class sizes were much larger than what I was used to during high school. Don’t let that intimidate you! Professors truly want to help students succeed, so make sure you ask questions. Some professors will also have office hours or are active on social media for any extra help you may need.

2) Budget your time

During my first year at the University of Waterloo, I realized that time was a limiting factor. So, you want to make sure that you use your time wisely! Try to prioritize the tasks you need to accomplish, and set goals for yourself every day.

3) Determine your strengths and weaknesses

When you’re studying, try to figure out the concepts you understand and those that you are struggling with. You should spend more time on the concepts that you find most challenging than the ones that are relatively straightforward. If there is a certain concept you need to review, make sure to consult additional resources, be it textbooks, journal articles, or your peers.

4) Try out different study mechanisms

Back when I was in high school, I loved to write out all my notes. This didn’t work well for me when I got to university because, simply put, there wasn’t enough time. The courses in university cover more material and in a shorter time-period compared to high school. A couple study mechanisms that I’ve personally found particularly useful include flowcharts/mind maps, writing on whiteboards, and keeping a separate notebook just for lecture notes. I’m also looking forward to studying using the courses and quizzes we are developing at Minute School.

5) Create a study space

The atmosphere you’re in while studying will affect your motivation and productivity. I found that I was more focused and productive when I was studying in a comfortable work environment. The libraries on campus are great areas to study in, especially during exam season.

I hope these tips help you be successful during your first year at university and beyond!

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