Study tips: Honor students share their secrets to getting good grades | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Image: Tomwang112/ via AFP Relaxnews

“It’s best to know your learning style. For me what works is paying attention, taking down notes during class and asking questions. When I participate actively in class, I get to retain more information.”

—Eileen Shi, ESPN5 reporter and entrepreneur

“Write your notes in bullet points and make sure that they are perfectly readable. Studying notes that are patchy and incomplete is a waste of time. Proofread your homework before handing it in. A slow, steady studying is far more productive and efficient than cramming.”

—Jeffrey Azor Osoc, brand executive

“Time management and having a to-do list is the key! Do your projects during your break time so that once you get home, you have time for yourself and you will be able to get enough sleep for tomorrow’s class.”

—Aiyana K. Perlas, De La Salle University and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League courtside reporter, NCAA Hado Pilipinas Squad member

Don’t merely memorize

“Read your lecture notes more than once and understand them, don’t merely memorize. Some lessons require memorization skills—do it by creating mnemonics. One advice I took from my mother is to give your 200 percent effort at the start of the academic year until it finishes.”

—Chin Chin

“Tests, assignments and projects are important but they’re not as important as your health, family and friends. Seriously, in 10 years, you will never say, ‘I’m really glad I skipped my sister’s birthday dinner so I can study for my finals.’”

—Dani Salasalan, social media manager

“We tend to ignore the importance of a healthy body to a healthy mind. Study hard, for sure, but remember to exercise, meditate, eat right and sleep well. A well-balanced lifestyle will take your academic successes very far into your adult careers.”

—Mona Kee Kee, drag queen, Singapore

“I post my desired GPA in places where I would see them every day to keep myself motivated and accountable. Instead of driving, I took the bus so I could spend that time catching up on reading and school work. I read chapters far in advance so when those topics are discussed in class, it just feels like a refresher. Study right after school. I know it’s not fun but it’s so important to keep things fresh in your memory. Do not be afraid of tutors or tutorial centers. Don’t let your ego or shame get in the way of you getting onto the dean’s list. At the end of the day, what matters most is you learned something new and you’re all the better for it. Your grades don’t make you who you are, it’s just fun to do something well and be rewarded for it.”

— Ruzielle Ganuelas, property manager and co-owner of a real estate company

Have a study buddy

“If you are struggling, find help from people who are experts on the subject. It definitely helps to have a study buddy.
Understanding is more important than just memorizing. Test yourself. There are a lot of mock tests available online. Stop accepting mistakes as failures. They’re not the same. Mistakes are temporary hurdles to success. Turn them into a challenge to get better.”

—Sam Fontanilla, regional advertising account manager

“My aunt said I’d remember information if I’d also write them down. So, I listed them down before transferring them onto cue cards. For those I had to memorize really quickly, my uncle who coached me for many declamation contests said I can try to sing what I needed to memorize or make intonations while reading aloud.”

—Ana Felizardo-Mendez, general manager, Browne Communications, Inc.

“Show up. Do not cut classes. Pay attention to teachers. Avoid daydreaming. Do a wrap up of the day’s lectures to make sure you understand the day’s lessons. Writing things down helps you retain information. Try to enjoy school. Choose friends you can study with and also have fun with.”

—Doris O. Torres, marketing director, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Avoid cramming

“When you’re reading for a test, instead of just memorizing the information mentally, write down important information in a notebook. Writing things down will help you remember it once it is asked during the test.”

—Gelo Arucan, book specialist

“Avoid cramming, make sure that you sleep well the night before the exam.”

—Larisse, ESL teacher

“Read, read, read! Highlight or underline! (Depending on what your school allows, of course.) It will also help train your brain to pick out the most vital information or find ways to summarize.”

—Indigo Pai writer/spoken word artist/marketing manager

“Always listen during lectures. I’ve spent less time reviewing before exams because I listened to my teachers during class hours. Determine your learning style and equip yourself with the necessary tools. What worked for me consistently were reviewers, different colors of pens and highlighters, and practice exams. Spend more time reviewing for subjects you’re not very good at. Keep your eyes on the prize. A motivated student will always deliver results.

Create a conducive learning environment at home or in school. Find the perfect spot based on what works for you and your learning pace.”

—EJ Francisco, honor student from nursery school to graduate school; award-winning public relations practitioner

Repetition is key

“Practice grit! There’s a TED talk that discusses how important it is. The right mind-set is important if you want to be better in achieving your goals. Be open to learning.

If you feel you’re “bad at memorizing,” use apps like Quizlet. Repetition is the key.

Get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

If you’re still not an “honor student,” don’t be discouraged. In some progressive countries like Finland, students are not ranked based on grades. Going to school is supposed to be about learning, not competition. Focus on learning, the grades will follow.”

—Jenn Besonia, studio administrator

“Every class is different. From the syllabus, the teacher and the grading system—you have to gauge how difficult your class will be and how you think you will do as a student.

Practice tests are key. Every student has a unique study habit that works best for them (and it’s up to you to figure that out!).

When you’re in it to learn, you’ll gain so much more. Getting on the honor roll isn’t the end-all be-all.”

—Jan, college student

“Prepare a study plan so you can effectively manage your time. Designate a study time/area. We’re all creatures of habit.

Pay attention to the teacher.

Review all your daily lessons at home.

Write clearly and legibly. There is no point in having notes if you can’t read them.

Avoid distractions.

Don’t cram your studying into one session. That’s information overload, and our brains can only take so much.”

—Emmanuel Rigoberto “Ging” Tolentino, marketing communication, advertising practitioner

Take breaks

“Know what type of learner you are and research on how you can make learning easy for you. I am a kinesthetic learner. I learn and remember lessons quickly if they were mixed with physical activities. My son Nathan is the same so when he was studying money in math class, I gave him money and took him to the supermarket.

Watch educational videos at home that are related to your lessons in school so you can have a visual of what the teacher has been saying in the classroom.

Writing down words and phrases you need to memorize helps.

Always make sure you take breaks in between studying.”

—Joyce C. Abaño, journalist, Octomedia Australia

“Always listen in class and take notes. Be diligent in your homework and reports. Don’t be afraid to approach the professor. There are no stupid questions.

Start with the easiest homework first so you can focus on the most difficult one.

If it’s already late, go to sleep and wake up very early with a fresh mind and rested body. You will be able to tackle the task at hand better.

Make a list of things that need to be done or read. Tick them off once accomplished. Looking at how many items are crossed out will give you that extra motivation to finish everything.”

—Ruby Gan, entrepreneur

“Among the traits inculcated by my parents was focus. While there are so many things vying for our time and attention nowadays, and some claim to have mastered the art of multitasking, we cannot simply set aside the tried and tested formula of focusing on one task at a time. With focus, we can also develop other virtues such as faith, passion, dedication, time management and discipline, which will help students when they enter the real world.”

— Bernard L. Supetran, freelance writer/media specialist

“No honor student thrives without the support of the people who believe in him or her. Most importantly, believe in yourself. An honor student is built on a balance of virtue and wisdom. It does not depend on whether or not you were “born a genius.” Anyone can become an honor student if equipped with the right mindset, faith and passion.”

—JGDG, incoming college freshman

Don’t overwork your brain

“I used to read my books as soon as I got them. It pays off to read textbooks at a leisurely pace and just feed your mind without rush or pressure.

Place priority on cut-off times when studying. Study, let go and sleep, and study again as you wake up fresh the following morning, as your brain is ready to absorb again! Don’t overwork your brain.

Pray for memory retention, wisdom and energy. But of course, you need to do your part, do study! Let God guide you, but you also need to do your best.”

—Sophie Uy, businesswoman

“Plan your time. I always spent the early hours of the day studying. Retention is better at the start of the day.

Spend time at the library and really read. Treat the library as an adventure and discovery. Learning is a continuous process so make studying a habit. Learning with friends can be fun and enjoyable. This is an opportunity to learn from each other and ask for each other’s help.”

—Gina De Los Reye Virtusio, Philippine representative, MTI Global Network

“Pace yourself. It’s not a crime to take a break. Prepare a timetable that you can actually follow. Portion your day-to-day in a 3:5 ratio-3 parts allotted for break times in between the subjects you need to study for. Work smart! You got this!”

—Chai Lugares, communications assistant, MINT College

“Developing the habit of reading the assigned books and solving exercises on my own helped me prepare for classes and tests in school. Whenever I got frustrated with the lesson, I asked teachers or classmates for guidance.

Some of my best learning though, came from decisions that put my GPA at risk. Enrolling in classes with challenging teachers, choosing electives outside my comfort zone and working while studying made getting good grades harder. Looking back, I would not exchange the lessons I learned even if it meant placing higher academically.”

—Larla, homemaker and mother of three

Know your priorities

“Know your priorities and realistic goals. Happiness is a priority and that includes yours, your parents or those who make it possible for you to go to school. When I studied for an exam, I didn’t pull an all-nighter. I noticed that whenever I’d study ’til the wee hours of the night, I’d end up not remembering a lot of things. I’d study at night enough for me to also have a good sleep, then I just wake up really early to check on my books and notes some more.”

—Denise Mallabo, freelance writer, managing partner of Happy Consultants Manila

“I make sure I don’t just memorize stuff but make stories out of the concepts. Then to review and test myself, I should be able to share the lessons and concepts to my friends or classmates conversationally (as if I’m just making kwento about my day). It’s easier to recall during exams or recitations when you have stories to remember than the just mere words.”

—Angel Q., marketing manager for a leading e-commerce platform

“If it’s examination week, I stay up late and study with black coffee as my company. Then when I sleep, I put my review notes under my pillow because the oldies in our province believe that it will help you with memorization. I guess it was effective for me.”

—Jairah de Guzman, PR specialist

“Have fun and enjoy the process. Take it easy. Don’t overthink or pressure yourself. What worked best for me was maintaining a good balance of serious and fun. This allowed me to take in as much information as I can. Studying gets really challenging but keep in mind that this phase is temporary so you better make the most out of it. Eyes on the prize. When lost, realign. Having the right mind-set makes all the difference.”

—Anika Punzalan, business unit head of a financial institution

“Being proactive helped me a lot. Do everything ahead of time and take advantage of the materials you have access to (books, newspaper and the internet). Being well read will always work to your advantage. Have fun while learning, it makes a world of difference!”

—Jenny Ferrer, freelance stylist and writer

“In high school, my friends and I frequently talked about our lessons like we gossiped about our crushes. We did our homework together and took turns tutoring each other. A week before periodical exams, we would gather our notes, rewrite them and make our very own group reviewer. We spent our days quizzing each other, comparing notes, making sure we didn’t miss anything. Our high grades and top rankings in class were the fruits of hard labor and old fashioned teamwork. It was a fun and memorable experience and I can honestly say that everything worked well for all of us.”

—Clarisse Crisologo, graphic artist

“Always do your homework diligently. It helps you process information in smaller pieces.

Connect concepts by using arrows in your notes (or make a mind map) to get a bigger picture of what you are trying to study. If you just memorize information, your brain won’t process it very well because the info lacks context.

Never study on Sundays. Rest and enjoy the day.”

—Erica Kononen, assistant store and retail manager, Beijing8 (Finland)

Review aloud

“I had a trinity of rules:
1. Write things down.
2. Review aloud. I would talk to myself and recite everything. I even sing my notes aloud.
3. Make sense, create patterns. Things make more sense to me when I apply them to my life, and imagine theory playing out in the real world. It also helps that I make mnemonics, some of them very funny.”

—Koko Alviar, account manager at PressReader

“Read, read and read!

Take notes. Writing makes you remember things better.

Participate in class. Get out of the URL and get IRL!

Read back your school notes daily. It helps you from having to cram.

If you have a chance to travel, relate your lessons to the places you go to. My childhood and teenage travels on family vacays helped me appreciate those social studies and history lessons more. It’s not about IG pics all the time, get to know what those old castles, forts and places are all about.”

—Charo Logarta Lagamon, corporate communications director, Cebu Pacific

“Allot at least an hour at night for studying. I made sure to browse through my books or go over my notes, either to review the lessons discussed during the day or to read in advance. I did this while watching TV or over Magnolia Chocolait and Marie biscuits. That way, it didn’t feel like I was forcing myself to study.”

—JLo, foreign mission staff

“Prepare for lessons by taking notes while reading. Draw how you understood the topic or write stories to make it less boring. It helps if you can explain what you have studied in simpler terms to a classmate or friend. To prepare for exams, observe which topics were emphasized during lectures and observe how teachers ask questions. Studying hard is good but it’s better if you can also study smart.”

—Metz Laurito, principal software engineer

“What really worked for me was listening in class. And submit projects on time. Always. In journ school, my professor told us that deadlines are called that precisely because you’ll be dead if you don’t turn in your work on time.

If you’re in uni, don’t be afraid of the so-called “terror” profs, those tough men and women who don’t give high grades. In my experience, these are the people who really know what they’re talking about. They have high standards because they know their sh*t. Enroll in their classes and prepare to learn!”

—Cake Evangelista, writer and editor

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