How To Achieve High Marks With Minimal Effort: University Edition

I. Love. School.

You might be shocked but how could I not love something that comes so easy to me? You can roll your eyes all you want but I have figured out how to achieve the highest marks with the lowest effort throughout my school career.

Disclaimer: If you are a superior or educator of mine, please skip this blog post and continue reading elsewhere. I would prefer you not to know how I ~hack~ the education system. 

Anyways, let us continue. I have always been considered a smart student. Whether you categorize that title as a keener, nerd, kiss-ass, or try-hard, that’s on you. But you can’t ignore the fact that I have finished every class that I’ve taken with one of the highest marks in the class (except for ASTR 1P02 – boohoo, who cares about astrology … uhm, I mean astronomy. Idek what course I took LAWL).

I’ve been able to achieve high marks in university with a few simple school hacks which I encourage you to keep reading and try them out. I promise that they will increase your mark. If they work for me, they’ll probably work for you — and if not, you’ll need to open a book or something and actually study (poor you).

Attend Office Hours

  • Office hours are there for a reason! Use your free time to introduce yourself to your Professors and Teaching Assistants. Whether you attend the office hour for the full hour or even 5 minutes, your educator will see that you made the attempt and are interested in the class (or just getting a higher mark). Even if you attend the office hour a week before a paper is due and just talk about what they are looking for, they’ll remember the effort you put in and award you as they mark your paper. Think of it like this. If you had an hour of time alone and you were expecting to see someone but know one showed, wouldn’t you be upset? Be the student that appears and they will remember. I promise.

Use Grammarly

  • If you’re like me, you leave assignments to the last minute and once you power through, you have absolutely no willpower to re-read it over for spelling errors. That’s why I use Grammarly. Grammarly is “a cloud-based English-language writing-enhancement platform developed by Grammarly, Inc.” When you go to their website, you are able to copy and paste your assignment into a text box to which their software will edit your grammar. I truly believe that this is the difference between at least 5% of your assignment’s final mark.

Keep An Agenda

  • It BLOWS MY MIND that students can enroll themselves into five different courses, receive five different syllabi, and still expect to remember every due date off of memory. THIS IS WHY YOU ARE GIVEN LATE DEDUCTIONS. I don’t know about your school but at my school, for every day you wait to hand in your assignment, your mark decreases by 5%. To me, that’s 5% too many. That could be the difference between an 85% and a 90% or a 46% and a 51%. The solution to this mind blowing issue?!?! Get an agenda! I’ve learned that if the agenda is cute, you’re more likely to fill it in and use it. I suggest buying a Happy Planner. You can see their planners HERE.

Follow The Triple-8 Rule

  • Every student should follow the Triple-8 Rule. Here are some “quick maths.” 8 hours x 3 = 24 hours in a day. University students should follow this rule and spend 8 hours of their day studying or doing school work, 8 hours of their day socializing/extra-curriculars and 8 hours of their day sleeping. You might think this is crazy, but it actually works! Try it out.

Make Ctrl+F Your New Best Friend

  • If you’re like me, you have never done a reading during your post-secondary experience – oops! If you’re really like me, you have never done a reading during your post secondary experience but somehow you’ve managed to get above 80% on most assignments. How do I do it you may ask? I use Ctrl+F! When I’m sitting in seminar, I use Ctrl+F to search for the words that the presenter is using. Right away, I see where they are getting their information from and I am then able to participate in the conversation. You may say this is the art of bullshit but I say this is more than that. It is the art of bullshit, time management, innovation and even genius if you ask me 😉 !

Communicate Your Goals

  • My last piece of advice is to communicate your goals. Whether it be with your teachers or friends, if you talk about what your expectations are, they will most likely help you get there. Here are two ways you can achieve success strictly by communicating. 1) Make friends in the class and become note buddies. Let them know that you want to get better grades. If they have a head on their shoulders, they’ll probably remind you that you should probably attend class. Rather than you and your friend taking turns attending class and taking notes, attend the class together and encourage each other. Make your friend guilt you if you decide to sleep-in instead of attend class. SLEEP IS FOR THE DEAD. If you go together and barely pay attention, at least you attended and hung out with your friend am i rite??? (me trying to act kewl – lawl). However, you can also communicate your goals to your educator. For example, half way through every semester, I e-mail my teaching assistants and ask how I am doing in my seminars/labs and how I can improve. When they see that you are using them as a resource, they feel valuable and truly do help. It takes a few seconds to shoot an e-mail which can result in a great mark that is on your transcript for a lifetime.

Try these tips out and see if they work! I promise you they will! You go get that 90% Glen Coco!

Sincerely, Steph ♥︎





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