A bachelor’s degree: how to organize yourself to succeed at university

Going to university after high school often means a lot of organizational freedom, few hours and a lot of work on your own. What is the first piece of advice you would give students?

I advise them to go to class first: some think they can just rehash the lectures, but note-taking by definition does not capture everything that is said, and those with an auditory or visual memory are deprived of this lecture atmosphere. . When a teacher is good, a lot of things come through informally or references that can sometimes tilt for students.

Is this a way for you to have a rhythm? Is it important to share our activities?

Yes ! It’s a good idea to try to make a schedule at the beginning of the semester in which you put in classes, time in the library, time for sports or physical activity and of course time for free time! The invitation may shake up his schedule, but that’s okay, the main thing is to lay the groundwork. Large pebbles in a vase, then smaller ones, then sand.

Also, when we work, we work and when we relax, we relax! Sometimes we can work, then Instagram, then work, and at the end of the day we haven’t rested and worked. Our daily work is very choppy and in order to focus we put our phone on airplane mode: it is better to work for an hour with the phone off than for two hours and stop every ten minutes.

Is extracurricular work important to success at university?

Since there are fewer courses than in high school, the personal work part is important: you can only succeed if you work alone. Time management is important in the library: we often work better than at home, we collaborate with others, we have access to more books and we read much more actively. Be it history, literature, law, languages ​​or even sociology.

It’s hard to read everything…

I encourage my students to take a course on the bibliography that the teacher may have given them to look through, familiarize themselves with the library and look at the books by chapter, read the one that is most suitable for twenty pages… And a few notes: it allows you to return to the topics you saw in the lecture.

However, in high school we sometimes lose the habit of learning because many exercises encourage reflection. In college you need to re-read your lessons preferably every week and learn the important things to remember, dates, concepts and samples.

What is important to remember or take note of and is there an ideal method?

When taking notes, it is better to think about what is important in what the teacher says: taking notes is not about doing everything, but about capturing ideas and details. You cannot copy everything the teacher says. Learning to take notes means determining what is secondary and what is not. To note everything, the risk is to have a late train.

Now more and more notes are taken on laptops. Some teachers prohibit it in the first year: at first you are more easily distracted by the Internet connection and you are mentally “absent”; and then, when exams are done by hand, some students lose the habit of writing. Some researchers also believe that handwriting promotes memorization. But the advantage of the computer is that we can easily supplement our notes by reading from our library! Each student can choose the most suitable method for himself.

On the other hand, I don’t recommend taking notes on your phone and recording the course to listen to again at home, unless you have a disability. Recording a course makes our listening very passive and we don’t take notes thinking everything is in the box. Also, do we really have time to re-listen in the evening? It is better when things escape us and we complete them by exchanges or reading.

Do you have any tips for passing the exam?

Regular work is the key to success, especially in exams, even though you have a lot of constant scrutiny now. Especially since memory is cumulative, so as you work as you go, revising your lessons, you’ll know very well what you saw from September to November in the January exams.

Studying at the last minute creates a lot of stress, learning is superficial and we cram for the exam, while the license is progress in three years. To motivate yourself, you can work regularly in two or three, it allows you to repeat and ask yourself questions. When you express yourself verbally, you will quickly realize what is missing in your argument!

Attending a course, taking it in the library, remains a bit of a solitary job that contrasts with high school. Apart from joint revisions, are we alone in college?

Not ! First, you have to try to let go of inhibitions and ask questions when you are lost. It’s important that you do this and don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions: usually ten people like you ask them. It can be difficult in the lectures, the lectures are quite brief, the demonstration is progressing, we may not have time to answer. But in TD it is important not to hesitate.

Very often there is also a pedagogical officer every year, and when you feel that you are losing ground, do not hesitate to ask for him. Although we are impressed by his teachers.

Does this apply all the more because there is a risk that the courses are no longer offered locally?

Yes, because some universities are reintroducing video and this can be a source of fragility for students, especially in L1. Now you need to know who to turn to for answers. It is important to identify the pedagogical secretariat and take ownership of the university and premises. If they ever close, it will be more difficult… We need to make contact with teachers and classmates now.

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