Back to the Drawing Board.

I previewed my midterm grades this past Friday and I was not impressed at all. In fact, I was downright pissed at what I saw. Out of my four classes, I’m only passing one. That’s right, only one.

In addition to all of that studying I did for my Differential Equations exam last Wednesday, I failed that as well.

I wondered, with all the time I put into studying, staying on campus til 1-2 am most nights, why the hell are my grades looking as bad as they do? When it comes down to it, I think the problem lies in my study habits.

When I study (and its usually with a group, because I get distracted easily when I study alone), we go over problems until we all have a grasp of the concept. When it comes to Calc 3 and Differential Equations, I complete my online assignments and end up with a firm grasp on the subject matter. However, when test day comes, I panic, freeze up, and forget how to solve the problems OR I end up making small mistakes that cause me to get the entire problem wrong.

What frustrates me about all of this is, I know how to do these problems.

Engineering Mechanics (or Applied Mechanics) is a completely different story. Not only am I confused with solving the problems for that class, the majority of the people in my study group are confused as well. We help each other out with what we know, but more times than not, we never end up finishing a problem. I believe that out of the eleven people that are in my class (including me), maybe three of my classmates are passing. I’ve gone to the professor a couple times to get help with the homework assignments, but it seems as if I end up even more confused than I was before. I’ve spoken with other Engineering majors, and their advice was “Take the class during the summer session”. That would be a good idea if I had the $1100 to pay for the summer course (since Financial Aid doesn’t cover it).

Another thing that bothers me about this situation is the fact that as CE’s (Civil Engineering Majors), we need this class to get to the rest of our other Civil classes, while EE’s (Electrical Engineering Majors) and IE’s (Industrial Engineering Majors) can wait until the semester before they graduate to take this class.

Because of my poor performance at midterm, I’ll be resigning as Yearbook Section Editor after my deadlines at the end of this week. I’ll at least finish the assignments I’m on now, but with my grades looking the way they do, I need to eliminate some unnecessary work.

 I thought about leaving ASCE and ITE as well, but I ultimately decided against it becuase those orgs only have bi-monthly meetings, and on top of that, I’ll be able to interact with fellow Engineering majors and get heads up on internships and other professional/networking opportunities.

So I’m here asking for advice. How should I go about changing my study habits, better yet, how does one actually study? I know I’m capable of pulling in A’s and B’s (as I have in previous semesters), but with these grades I have in front of me now, I think I need to change my M.O. as far as studying is concerned.

I’ve already revamped my study schedule to include more study time per class, but if anyone knows of any tricks I could use for studying and/or retention, that would help alot.

Random Thought of the Moment:
“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”

-Herbert Spencer

Song of the Moment: “All That I Got Is You” by Ghostface Killah

This entry was posted in Advice, Anxiety, College, Education, Grades and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Back to the Drawing Board.

  1. Everyone learns different. For English and Social science classes all I need is a book but for Math it’s not worth me spending the money on a book, I have to see it done, then do it myself. Maybe you should look at how you learn and understand different things then try a new approach. I’ve also found that a lot of times you know more than you think, you just need small “jump start” to get the information flowing.

  2. Petite Pearl says:

    As a graduate of your CEE program, I suggest you get tutoring. There are several organizations on your campus that offer tutoring services. OMED offers tutoring for specific courses during evening hours. Also, how often do you visit your professors during office hours? Take some specific questions to them or have them go over your mistakes on the exams. It helps you understand and it make you more familiar to the professor. This goes along way when grades are given out.

  3. BK says:

    may I suggest getting a tutor and/or visiting your professor or TA?? also Petite Pearl gave great advice.

    regarding how to change your study habits, I think you may want to just focus on how you learn best. If you learn best in a group setting but your group is just as confused.. TIME TO FIND A NEW GROUP.

  4. brran1 says:

    @Bryan: Thanks man. I think spending more time on a specific subject should help.

    @ Petite Pearl: I was only at Ga. Tech for the summer. 🙂 I’m back home in Baltimore at Morgan State, but i’ll definitely take you up on your advice. I go to the professor once or twice a week, but I only ended up more confused than I was before. I went to tutoring a couple times, but I’ll be going on a regular basis now.


  5. onefromphilly says:

    You KNOW that I know how you feel. Been there (too many times), done that.
    Calc 2 threw me for a loop, Calc 3 & Diff actually sunk in.
    I never in my life saw such low grades until I had Soil Mechanics. All I can offer is that for different classes you may have to study different ways. In Mechanics, since you don’t understand the Professor, see if he/she has a Grad Assistant. Often the Grad Assistants or former students understand the Professor that they work for and can interpret the information much better. Sometimes they can bring it down a notch or 2.

    With Calc and Diff after you study with your group and you have the concept down, go study by yourself and practice doing the problems alone. Take 10 or 20 problems and time yourself working them all the way through. Do that a few times before the test and hopefully that will calm the nerves before test time.

    Don’t sit down for the test until the Professor hands out the papers. Put your stuff down and step out of the room until they are ready to close the door. I’ve found that sitting in the class waiting and talking to the other students right before the test sometimes would raise my anxiety.

    Hope some of this helps. Sounds like you know the work, you just need to adjust your study and test taking methods.

    You have my email if you need me.

  6. Jansen says:

    Uh…leave the sidekick at home, and do your work at coffeshops. Screen facing the crowd.

    If you’re slacking then everyone knows. You’re there to work – not check your email real quick, not to text, not to read blogs. Etc.

  7. Tiffany In Houston says:

    I second all the other suggestions. Don’t study in the library. It’s like the club!! I never got anything done there. I always ended up chatting.

    Find a tutor, STAT!!

    LIVE IN YOUR PROFESSORS OFFICE. When you do your homework, go show him what you are doing. If he has office hours, your butt should be in that seat. Face time goes a LONG way. He can see you are trying.

    Philly gave great advice about test day anxiety I think. Overanalysis can lead to paralysis.

    I’ll be praying for you!! You can do it!

  8. coop says:

    hey b. I know you’re disappointed but you still have half a semester to go. Early tests in my difficult classes were “weed outs” anyway.

    When I study, I have to read the chapters several times. First time is to get a general understanding, just enough to contribute in class. Second time is to understand the concepts clearly. I highlight in pink this time. Yellow the first. The third time is to “master” the subject. I use the same practice for problems. I have to do things several times to really understand it.

    Don’t panic. Get with some other engineering majors who’ve taken the class and see if they still have their notes.

    Otherwise, just keep studying. Definitely cut back on some unnecessary social obligations by keep some fun in there too n

  9. Linsay says:

    Oh man, I feel you. Exam anxiety is the worst thing that a student can experience.

    Onefromphilly’s advice is really good; also saying a little prayer before an exam always helps, so God can help you relax and to let Him guide you through your test using the knowledge He gave you. Also, when you get your copy of the test, read every question first and assess their degree of difficulty. Next to the ones that are easy put one check mark, not-too-bad 2 check marks, difficult 3 check marks. Answer those question from easiest to hardest and it’ll significantly reduce your stress level.

    Also try to find students in your classes that are doing really well and get together with them for study sessions.

    You can do it, man: we’re all in the same boat!!!

  10. Cocaine will help you focus for hours… lol

    Naw seriously I don’t know but I’d be pissed the most people could say was “take the summer class” what kind of shyt is that?

  11. charles says:

    I feel you on this one man. I’ve been there and done that…except for me it was Advaned Circuit Theory, Digital Logic Design and Electromagnetic Waves. Those classes damn near killed me. But sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and see a tutor…or go to office hours so often you’re damn near on a first name basis with the professors. Thats what I did, and it seriously helped. Plus I studied everyday…read the book, everyday…and saw either the TA or the professor…everyday. It’s like that sometimes. Good luck man.

  12. Tracy Rosen says:

    It sounds to me like you have 2 issues:
    Calc 3 and differential equations – the problem is with your test-taking skills, not your study habits. I work with a lot of (high school) students who know their stuff, but when it comes to taking a test they either freeze completely or are so nervous they make mistakes that they would never make if it were not a testing situation. Here is a link with some good guidelines for test-taking. It could be a good start, but if I were you I’d try to talk with someone on campus (in guidance maybe) and see if you can get some coaching in this area.

    Other courses – CHANGE your study group. Sounds to me like you are all just confusing each other! Follow advice that’s already been given in other comments – consistent tutoring (at least 2-3 times/week), meet with professors, and when you ‘get’ something practice practice practice 10 more times so that you don’t just get it but you know it.

    Hang tough – remember –> there’s no such thing as inspiration, it’s just hard work. (Georges Balanchine)

  13. Unfortunately, I am not the one to be asking for study advice. I spent too much time on the steps of Cummings studying “anatomy”. 😉

  14. mellow says:

    I agree with Tracy, sounds like it’s the test time that’s giving you problems. Can you get (or develop) a practice test? Or maybe simulate test day so anxiety level diminishes?
    As for the other class, is there anyone else besides the prof that can help you? I know sometimes there’s only one teacher for a particular class, but maybe a grad student or a former student can help.

  15. i saw delete twitter

  16. a.tiara says:

    oh wow:-( to be honest im doing the best in my classes either. i say just really dedicate a couple of hours a week to studying. study in between ur breaks from class too. i find i study better at school. I hope things get better:-)

  17. DIRTY RED says:

    Man I am going through the same shit. Except I am working full time,and going to school full time. I have to get most of my cramming in at work. The only thing I can tell ya is it don’t get any easier!!

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